Title: Xanadu
Season: Late 4/early 5. Since Jack and Sam are together this must be an AU (but I really hate calling it that.) It's our pre-ascension SG-1-just slightly different. If asked I would say this takes place 4 months after my Seven Days- The Return Home story, but can most definitely be read as a stand-alone.
Category: Drama, Action/Adventure, Hurt/Comfort, Angst, Romance
Pairing: Sam/Jack
Rating: R
Warnings: adult themes, language, sexual situations, violence
Summary: SG-1 find themselves captured on a planet and forced into a most
unusual situation.

Notes: This story is not entirely light and fluffy (ok, big understatement here). Although Sam and Jack are an established couple, this is not just a vehicle written in order for them to have explicit sex. What Jack and Sam do on their own time is their own business and I'll leave the good smut writing to those far more gifted at is than I. My specialty is angst. Relationships. And good old-fashioned adventure.

This story is about choices SG-1 must make in the field and the repercussions that follow. It's an idea that I couldn't get out of my head and with luck- I was able to successfully get down on cyber-paper. No graphic sex scenes are going to be seen but some explicit acts might be implied. You have been warned. Remember, it is always darkest before the dawn and that I ALWAYS finish my stories on a positive note.

Oh! And all the historical stuff about the khans is accurate. See? The history degree DOES come in handy once in awhile.

Chapter 1

Colonel Jack O'Neill adjusted his glasses as the wormhole disengaged -it was bright on this planet. Not the usual murky sunshine filtered through trees, but pure unadulterated light shining down from two large yellow suns.

"Remind you of anyplace Daniel?" Jack O'Neill asked his friend. From the corner of his eye Jack could see Daniel attempting to hide a smile; this place WAS a lot like Abydos. Maybe Danny would find yet another alien babe.

"Your turn to receive the welcome gift Jack." Daniel said adjusting his own sunglasses and tightening the straps on his backpack. After 6 years he could finally crack small jokes about their first trip through the gate and the resulting marriage of Daniel to his wife Sha're. As welcome gifts went, that HAD been a good one.

"Nahh." Jack O'Neill said glancing quickly at his 2IC, Major Samantha Carter. "I say we give the honor to Teal'c."

"What is this honor you speak of O'Neill?"

Jack grinned. "You'll have to ask Dr. Jackson on that one." Jack took a moment to examine the landscape through his binoculars. Not a hell of a lot to see. He idly checked the clip on his P-90 and after confirming his team was ready to move, gave the order to move out.

The planet was nothing more than a giant desert and a desolate one at that. No discernible plant or animal life but a high concentration of naquada was somewhere due west of the gate. The twin suns blazed unrelentingly down on the 3 humans and single Jaffa warrior as they slowly made their way across the sands. The minutes slowly passed into hours.

"Are we at least getting close Major?" Jack asked in what he hope wasn't a whiny voice. As much as he complained about trees, he really did prefer the temperate climates. Daniel of course was happy as a bug in a rug. Well maybe not THAT happy- the lack of buildings or other signs of civilization were an enigma to him. There were plenty of planets with gates that didn't support human life, but usually there was a reason for that - natural disasters, planetary wars, something. This planet was eerily quiet.

"I think we're getting close Sir." Samantha Carter said stopping for a swig of water. Sam could feel the small granules of sand getting under her clothes and into the small folds of her skin. It wasn't exactly pleasant. "I just wish I could shake this feeling that something is seriously off with this planet."

"Off?" Jack echoed incredulously. What could be off? They were surrounded by sand for crying out loud. They had been walking for over three hours and had seen nothing but rolling plains of sand.

"I, too feel uncomfortable here."

Teal'c AND Sam. Jack didn't like how that sounded one bit. "OK then. Everyone keep his eyes open, ok? With luck we'll find the source, nab us some naquada and tootle on back to the Stargate just in time for tonight's episode of The Simpsons." As always, Sam smiled slightly.

15 minutes later Daniel discovered something; a partially covered opening leading downwards into the sand. The opening would have been easy to miss if they hadn't been walking in a fairly straight line from the gate. Quickly and quietly all four fell into position as Jack gave hand signals indicating where he wanted everyone to be. Cautiously Daniel, Jack and Sam entered the hidden structure while Teal'c took up the rear and guarded the only known entrance. Slowly they made their way around the perimeter; Jack and Sam skirting the right and left edges of the underground construction while Daniel blithely walked up the center in order to examine an obviously manmade beam in the center of the room. The structure itself appeared to be deserted.

"Doesn't seem to be a lot here." Jack remarked still holding his P-90 firmly across his chest and giving a small nod back to Teal'c. "Daniel?"

"No discernible writings Jack. Which is odd considering the size and shape of this structure. In Ancient Egypt..." Daniel's educational ramblings were cut short by Teal'c.

"We are not alone O'Neill."

"I feel it too, Sir." Sam said looking around frantically trying to quell the feeling of dread gnawing on her insides.

Needing no further confirmation Jack ordered the group to fall back. They were almost to the doorway when the entire room seemed to fill at once with at least a dozen shrunken old men holding zat weapons. Huh? This was so not how the Goa'uld usually operated.

Jack was the first to assess the situation. They were completely surrounded and the surroundees, however old and short they might appear to be, were pointing weapons at them. "Hold your fire!" He shouted holding his hands up and away from his weapon. A firefight of 11 to 4 wasn't the best odds and the fact that they were completely surrounded negated the possibility of fighting their way out. There was no way they could do so without someone getting hurt. The old guys seemed to be holding zats and it only took two direct hits to kill a man. Nope- they were going to play this one out diplomatically. "Daniel? You're on."

Before Daniel could open his mouth to begin the standard Earth 'We come in peace' welcome speech Sam interrupted.

"They're Goa'uld Sir. All of them. We're surrounded by Goa'ulds."

Colonel Jack O'Neill was NOT a happy camper. The old snakeheads had taken their weapons and packs and had led the SG unit through a maze of underground tunnels. After nearly 10 minutes they were led through an outdoor antechamber and into a great hall filled with somber looking elderly Asian men. None of them appeared to be taller than five foot (1.5 meters) and all of them looked older than dirt. They were dressed in what were once obviously nice robes of rich fabric but now hung on their lean frames in tatters.

"Well this is different." Jack said to no one in particular. Daniel took a step forward.

"My name is Daniel Jackson and these are my friends, Major Samantha Carter, Colonel Jack O'Neill and this here is Teal'c. Um, we come in peace and did not mean to disturb you."

"My name is Oghul and I am Khan on this planet." Jack couldn't help but grimace at the sound of the snake's voice. Always grated on his nerves.

"Right. Listen Oogie, not sure what you folks are doing here but if you give us back our weapons we'll be on our merry way."

"We cannot do that." Oghul replied simply staring at his four captives with cold eyes.

"Didn't think so." Jack mumbled.

"Sir, do you notice anything strange about this?" Sam whispered quietly.

"Being captured by snake-heads in the middle of nowhere? What can be strange about that Major?"

Sam ignored Jack's rant and continued. "There are no slaves."

"She's right Jack!" An animated Daniel Jackson interrupted. "I see about a dozen of these elderly men but no slaves."

"Which means?" Jack said impatiently.

"I don't know Jack, but it is definitely unusual." The khans continued to stare silently at the group. "Judging by Oghul's name, I believe these men are descended from the Yuan dynasty in China. I think that was in the 13th century."

"Looks like the original guys." Jack said glancing up at their jailers. He was about to say something more when one of their jailers stood up and motioned for silence.

"You have entered Xanadu."

"You have GOT to be kidding! Xanadu? As in Xanadu, Kublai Khan and pleasure domes?" Jack said incredulously.

"You read the Coleridge poem Jack?" Leave it to Daniel to quote the source.

"Who?" Jack said distracted. "Nahh, Frankie Goes To Hollywood was popular in Iraq the last time I was over there. Heads up, kids! These guys suddenly seem to be quite interested in us."

Interested was an understatement. All 11 khans were talking at once and gesturing towards the group. Oghul held up his hand for silence and turned his gaze onto Sam Carter.

"You are a woman." He said pointing at Sam.

Sam stood her ground and glared back at the small Asian man. She flicked her eyes briefly towards her commanding officer. Sam did NOT like the way everyone was staring at her. What she wouldn't give for a nice matriarchal planet...

"Good eye there Grasshopper." Jack said trying to sound nonchalant as he took a small step closer to Sam. No weapons, surrounded by snakes and they're beginning to eye Carter. Nope this just wasn't a good scene at all.

"You dress like a warrior, but you are a woman." Sam held herself up slightly straighter as she continued to stare at the wizened old man, trying to quell the ball of apprehension forming in her stomach.

The elder Goa'uld turned his back on the SG-1 team and began to quietly talk with the remaining members of his clan in an ancient Chinese dialect.

"Jack?" Daniel said watching the khans nervously. "This would be a great time for your great leadership skills to shine. I really think we should be leaving."

"Working on it Danny." Jack said with a slight frown. "Teal'c! Ever hear of this group of bozos?"

"I have indeed O'Neill. They were banished from their home over 200 years ago after an attempted coup failed. Coups and wars among the System Lords happened frequently before the rise of Ra, only this time there was a difference. The leader of this group attempted to win favor with one of the System Lords in the guise of a young boy. All 12 of the coup members were under the age of 10, as they believed young hosts would succeed where others failed. It proved to be an incorrect assumption. The System Lord in charge chose not to kill them, but rather banish the Goa'uld children to an unknown world. It is said that they are cursed to live out their lives trapped in a single body for all of eternity."

"Peachy. Too bad we couldn't have arrived after eternity was up." Jack was about to say something more when he noticed how animated the ancient Asian men had become. A decision of some kind had been made. Jack really didn't like the way they were gesturing at Sam.

"Anything Daniel?" Jack whispered.

"I'm sorry Jack," Daniel said clearly frustrated. "I just don't speak Chinese." It had been a long time since Daniel had felt this impotent on a team mission. If..no WHEN they returned from this, he was adding Chinese to his list of 23 known languages.

The small Asian man turned to face the SG-1 group and spoke in accented English. "We wish to be educated."

"Gotta mid-term coming up do ya?" Jack joked. Educated. They could do educated. Or at least Carter could. Maybe throw some Newtonian physics their way or something.

"On human mating rituals."

Aw crap!

Chapter 2

Unaware at how his words had affected the SG-1 team, Oghul continued without pause.

"We came to this world with young host bodies and were not given the opportunity to participate in human mating rituals and acts before we were vanquished. We wish to be educated."

"I'll tell you what I'll do for you boys." Jack O'Neill began taking a step closer towards his 2IC. "We'll head on back to Earth and send on through a couple issues of Playboy or something. Maybe a Kinsey book or two. You'll love it, lots of pictures."

The Goa'uld khans were not angry or annoyed with Jack's attempt at flippancy but neither were they moved by it.

"You will show us," He said pointing at Samantha Carter. "We would like to see how humans mate. We would like to see a woman."

"Colonel..." Sam said with eyes the size of saucers. They couldn't possibly plan on raping her could they? Was it even possible for these elderly men?

"Sorry. No can do." Jack said with more confidence than he felt. There was no way in hell he was going to let a snake rape his Sam. None. Unfortunately he hadn't a clue how he was going to prevent it.

"Um, haven't you already been, well, educated with previous hosts?" Daniel asked, attempting to take their attention away from Sam.

"Unfortunately these feeble host bodies and minds have been unable to retain the knowledge and pleasure of a mating with a female. We wish to have the woman mate in front of us." Oghul said calmly placing his hands together in front of him. Seeing the shock on the prisoner's faces Oghul patiently continued his explanation.

"Had you arrived 50 years ago we might have attempted to mate with her ourselves, but unfortunately not only do these minds not remember how, we are afraid our host bodies would not survive the attempt. We wish to live as long as possible and can use the knowledge of human mating to educate us." He attempted a leer. "To entertain us."

Jack couldn't help himself. "That is so SICK."

"We are not able to leave this planet and are also forbidden and prevented from taking new bodies as hosts. One of our numbers attempted to meld with a different species many years ago, but that ended poorly. We could kill you now, or you can entertain us for a few hours and be free to go."

A different Goa'uld stepped up beside the leader and eyed Sam lasciviously. "We would prefer she mate with the younger one with blue eyes but any of you would be acceptable."

Daniel turned bright crimson and stared at his feet. "Mate" with Sam? Oh no. There was no way he could do that. None. It was akin to incest. Plus, if the Goa'uld didn't kill him Jack just might. There was just no way he could do it.

Sam had to hand it to Jack- he was quick. "Sorry, that just is not possible. See- Major Carter and Daniel here are relatives." Oghul and his companion didn't look convinced.

"See?" Jack said taking a step closer to Daniel and took his glasses off. "They both have blue eyes. It..um, runs in their family." //wrap it up O'Neill.// "In human cultures relatives are not allowed to mate." Jack was pretty certain that some cultures still thought it was a pretty swell idea but he was NOT going to mention that. He mentally crossed his fingers that the Asian men were unaware how common blue eyes could be in Caucasian cultures.

"Very well," Oghul replied in a resigned voice staring at Sam. "Choose your mate and begin."

"Now hold on here a second..." Jack began trying to stall for time. This was not happening. There was no way this was really happening.

"We are quite serious. Your woman will mate with one of you or all of you will perish. We cannot leave this planet, we cannot change hosts and we are extremely bored. You will either enlighten us on your sexual practices or you will be killed."

For the first time in over 4 months, Samantha Carter broke protocol and did not refer to her commanding officer by his rank.


"I am SO open to suggestions Major."

Oghul turned his back with a flourish of his tattered robe. "Begin!" It was such a strange sight to see an elderly Asian man impatiently demanding to see sex. Jack might have laughed if it wasn't such an absurdly serious situation.

"I said, BEGIN!" Quicker than Jack could have thought possible, the Khan whipped out an old zat-like weapon and aimed it at Daniel. Before he could shout a warning, his friend was fired upon.

Daniel looked surprised as the electric current hit his right shoulder and resonated through his entire body. He began to shake spastically before arching his body once more in pain before collapsing to the ground unconscious.

"Stop!" Sam yelled sinking to her knees beside Daniel. Jack was right next to her attempting to shield his favorite archaeologist from a second shot. One zat blast stuns but two kills and Jack was NOT going to have anyone die on this mission.

"I will shoot him again Colonel Jack O'Neill. Begin." Jack looked around the room wildly searching desperately for a way out of this. 5 of the Khans had taken positions at the front of the room, sitting in thrones of some sort. Two more were on either side of the chamber and the remaining three were behind them blocking the only entrance. All had weapons.

Sam looked up from the still form of her friend and gazed at her commanding officer with a determined stare. "We'll do it." What choice do we have? Sam conveyed silently to the resigned Jack O'Neill. Jack nodded almost imperceptibly- what choice indeed.

"You may commence." A different voice requested this time.

"Sorry bud, it doesn't work that way," Jack explained, grimly standing up. He could see the arm of one of the Goa'uld move as if to shoot one of the members of SG-1 again.

"Whoa! Hold on there! You can just put that thing down right now." Jack said gesturing with his hands and blocking the shot from hitting Daniel. "We said we'd do it, ok? But there's some things that have to happen first."


"First off, Dr. Jackson and Teal'c here need to leave." There was no way Jack could do what was "required" of him with an audience of his friends. He was a lot of things, but exhibitionist was not one of them.

"We will not allow them to return through the Stargate until you have completed your acts." Jack so did not like how that sounded, but nodded to the speaker.

"Well, departing through the Stargate would be the preferred choice, but just outside of this structure would work."

The leader nodded. "Very well." He clapped his hands to draw the attention of two "guards". With weapons still drawn, they surrounded Teal'c and Daniel. Teal'c effortlessly lifted the still unconscious form of Daniel Jackson and turned to face his commander and friend. "I will make sure DanielJackson is aptly distracted if he awakes before you and Major Carter finish."

"Uh, thanks Teal'c," Jack said awkwardly. How the heck did he and Carter get into these situations?

Notes: Now we're getting to the R stuff.

Chapter 3

Sam looked at her commanding officer, the man she had secretly loved for 3 years and been allowed to openly love for 4 months and wondered how the hell they had gotten themselves into this.

"We are waiting," Oghul stated in a calm voice.

"Right," Jack muttered looking around the sparsely furnished room. A very well worn rug was beneath their feet but otherwise there wasn't much there. Besides the throne and a dozen old guys that is.

"Just so I have this straight," Jack said stalling for time. "If we do this for you all four of us will be free to go."

"That is correct," Khan Oghul said with a curt nod.

"We will be allowed to walk unaccompanied all the way back to the Stargate?"


"And we only need to 'educate' you this one time?" Jack said trying not to sound incredulous.

"Don't push it Jack," Sam urged, quietly nudging her commanding officer. She just wanted to get this over with and get everyone home safe and sound.

"Yes." The tone of Oghul's voice had changed; he was getting impatient.

"Right. OK then." Jack was at a loss. He knew what needed to happen now but that feeling a guy needs to be all hot and heavy with a girl was SO not there.

Sam could see that Jack didn't know how to progress. Well actually, Sam had seen Jack progress quite admirably in the past but this was an entirely different situation. Sam turned to face the eager Khans.

"Do you have any clean blankets or bedding?" She asked in a strong voice. This was actually the first time many of the elderly men had heard her voice and the sound of it caused them all to talk animatedly amongst themselves.

"Geeze Sam. Maybe all you need to do it talk dirty and they'll let us go." This elicited a small smile from Sam. Within minutes clean blankets were set down in front of them. One of the lesser khans stared unabashedly at Sam and even attempted to reach out and touch her.

"Watch it buddy," Jack growled knocking his hand away from Sam's breast.

"There shall be no more postponements," Oghul said with a flourish. "Begin at once or we will shoot your friend again." With just a single look between them, Jack and Sam began to undress.

Sam's initial burst of confidence had faded as she slowly took off her jacket and began to unbutton her regulation shirt. Her fingers shook noticeably and after only a few buttons she stopped.

"I don't know if I can do this Jack," Sam whispered close to tears, her head hung low in defeat.

"Yes you can Sam," Jack said taking a step closer. Gently he lifted up her chin until he could see her eyes. "Just concentrate on me, ok? No matter what you hear or what is going on around us, just focus on me."

"Another trick you learned in Iraq sir?"

"Maybe." Jack shrugged. "But for the moment Colonel Jack O'Neill and Major Samantha Carter aren't here ok? To enunciate his point Jack took off both his and Sam's dog tags.

"No Jack," Sam said looking his squarely in the eye. "It is Colonel Jack O'Neill and Major Sam Carter that are here. Jack and Sam are only for home, ok?"

"Can we still leave the dog tags off? They always chafe my skin." Sam gave him a weak smile.

"Stop talking!"

"All right already!" Jack yelled back efficiently unbuttoning his shirt and taking it off. Quickly he made short work of his pants and shoes and looked up to see how far Sam had gotten. Not very.

Sam was standing motionless with her back towards the khans and her hands clenched tightly by her side. Jack ran a hand through his short, cropped hair and wondered how he was going to do this. There was no way he could have sex with her against her will. None. If that meant they all died, so be it. Idly he realized that this situation was exactly why married or involved couples weren't allowed on the same team. It didn't make him feel much better knowing he couldn't have forced any woman to have sex with him. He just wasn't made that way. Suddenly Jack snapped his fingers in memory. The bet! Despite the circumstances he allowed himself a small smile.

"Hey Sam," Jack asked turning so he once again faced her. "did you remember our bet today?"

"Oh god!" Sam said half laughing-half crying. "I did." The week before Sam had lost a pool game bet with Jack (only because he distracted her) and as a consequence, was told to wear the sexiest underwear she owned on their next off-world mission. This mission. Sam was actually fairly confident it would have been more difficult for Jack than herself. She had planned to idly remind Jack of what she had on later that afternoon. Give him just enough of a peak to make him squirm. Sam sighed- guess he'd see it now, eh?

"Did ya go with the white satin thing or the lacy black number?" Jack whispered into her ear. He could feel Sam's smiling.

Jack closed the distance on what little space there was between them and finished unbuttoning Sam's shirt. He slowly parted the sides of it to reveal a tight, sweat stained tank top. Jack ran his thumbs slightly under the tank top and was rewarded with a small Samantha shiver. Jack smiled. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad after all.

"You are moving too slow!" One of the khans yelled at them. "We want to see the woman naked!"

"No sense of romance," Jack whispered into her ear as he turned around to face their "audience."

"Lesson number one guys- you can't rush these things." Well technically you COULD but they didn't need to know this. "Anticipation is half the fun with 'mating'." Jack said holding up his hands to emphasize the quotation marks. "Now you guys just sit on back and be quiet ok?" Jack figured that as long as they were giving the show, he should have a little control of the situation. To his astonishment, he did! The khans quieted down.

"I still don't know if I can do this Jack." Sam whispered.

"Sure you can Sam." Jack said softly loosening her belt. "If you want, just keep your eyes closed and just concentrate on my voice. Imagine we're on vacation." Sam gave an unladylike snort.

"Right." Jack agreed lowering her pants to her ankles. "This would be a shitty spot for a vacation."

Jack lifted first one long leg and then the other out of her pants as he tried to take her mind off what they were doing.

"I say we go to the cabin next," Jack said as he carefully folded their clothes off to one side. "Someplace isolated and away from everything."

"I'd like that," Sam whispered as Jack enveloped her in a large hug. Jack could feel Sam's legs shaking slightly and he tried desperately to think of something to help her relax. Relax! Right, as if that were really possible given the circumstances. He ran his fingers up and down her amazing legs once again marveling at how we was actually allowed to look at them. On a daily basis even! Sam had amazing legs.

"Like the undies Sam," Jack whispered, giving the thin black bikini string a small snap. More "ahhs" could be heard from across the room.

"Have I ever told you how much I like how you look in these tank tops Major?" Jack said reaching underneath the top and caressing her skin. Slowly he stroked the sensitive areas around her stomach and gently worked his way upwards towards her breasts.

"Maybe once or twice," Sam answered with a small gasp. She loved how Jack touched her. Despite the situation, Sam felt herself responding to him. After several minutes of light caressing and gentle kisses along her neck and face Jack removed the tank top and pulled Sam close. Both of them were now clad only in their underwear. He kissed her deeply and was rewarded when Sam responded with a deep kiss of her own. The peanut gallery began jabbering once again in excitement.

"Ignore them," Jack whispered as he continued to kiss her and caress her back. Sam in turn reached around and grabbed Jack's ass pulling him even closer to her. Now it was Jack's turn to moan. He reached behind Sam's back and undid her bra. And that's when everything abruptly changed. As soon as Sam's bra fell to the ground the khans, as a single body, moved forward. From their vantage point they could see very little of Sam's breasts but they knew what was there. And they wanted to see more.

"Show us!" Oghul demanded.

Chapter 4

1230 Hours
Outside the Khans encampment

Teal'c was becoming apprehensive. Not about O'Neill or Major Carter, but about DanielJackson. After being escorted out of the Khan's inner chambers, Teal'c had carried his friend outside where he gently placed him underneath a frayed fabric awning. It did little to mitigate the oppressing midday heat, but did protect them from the direct rays of the sun. The two khan guards had thrown their backpacks onto the ground and walked back to the cavern's entrance. After a brief argument amongst themselves, one of the khans headed back inside while the second stood guard over the two SG-1 members. Teal'c was certain he could overpower the guard but that still left 10 khans on the inside and a wounded DanielJackson on the outside. No, it was best to remain where he was.

After searching through the contents of the two backpacks returned to him, (Daniel Jackson's and O'Neill's) Teal'c was unable to locate either of the first aid kits. Doctor Frasier had insisted that all members of SG-1 carry a fully equipped first aid kit at all times. More than once this had saved lives, or at least stabilized serious injuries until she could take a look at them. It appeared that Teal'c was going to have to.. what had O'Neill called it? Improvise.

The burn on Daniel's soldier was a serious one and it was unusual for a zatted individual to stay unconscious for so long. Teal'c quickly examined Daniel's wound and was surprised at how charred his flesh was. Apparently the weapon was more similar to a staff weapon than a zat'nik'atel. Teal'c made a mental note to speak of this to O'Neill and Dr. Fraiser when they returned to the SGC. Although he did not have access to a first aid kit, he did locate two small packets of an analgesic in the bottom of Daniel's backpack. He grabbed one of O'Neill's t-shirts and began to tear it apart into strips in order to create field bandages.

"Ah man, what hit me?" Daniel moaned attempting to sit up. The world spun about nauseatingly and Daniel fought hard to not be sick. Teal'c quickly came to his side and helped the younger man up. He passed Daniel a canteen of water.

"Do you not recall DanielJackson?"

Daniel nodded while taking a sip from the canteen. The liquid was warm but tasted wonderful on Daniel's lips. He drank another large swig before handing it back to Teal'c.

"Oh yeah. We were ambushed- yet again, and these..." Daniel stopped in mid sentence and frantically scanned the area. "Where are Jack and Sam?"

"They are still inside," Teal'c replied somberly.

"We can't just leave them in there!" Daniel said becoming more agitated by the moment. "We need to go get them!" He was oblivious to the khan guard standing not 20 feet away.

"We cannot," Teal'c answered calmly.

"What do you mean we cannot! Teal'c they're our friends! We need to help them. Oh God, what if they.. and Sam.." Daniel once again felt nauseous. He dropped his head into his hands in defeat.

"I do not believe Major Carter will be assaulted by these Goa'ulds."

"I'd like to believe you Teal'c but why do you think this?"

"O'Neill has stayed with her. I believe the Goa'uld will watch O'Neill and Major Carter together and then allow us to leave."

Daniel knew Teal'c was by no means stupid, but this seemed just ludicrous! What was to prevent the goa'uld-khans from killing them all? His incredulousness must have been written on his face for Teal'c continued to speak.

"I continue to distrust Goa'ulds DanielJackson. But you and I are still alive. Had these Goa'ulds desired so, they could have killed you and I and then forced Major Carter and O'Neill to partake in sexual acts. We are still alive, therefore I believe we shall be allowed to leave here when they are done."

"Teal'c, I hope to God you are right." Daniel said sounding utterly defeated. He didn't even want to think what his friends must be going through. Suddenly Daniel heard a shout. The guard must have heard it as well, for he also turned his head towards the sanctum's entrance.

"DanielJackson," Teal'c said in a loud voice remembering his promise to O'Neill. "We need to treat your shoulder wound."

"I'm fine Teal'c," Daniel insisted, straining to hear what was going on.

"Doctor Fraiser would be upset at me if you do not at least take these." He held out 4 Tylenol capsules. Daniel's shoulder DID bother him a bit and he took the offered pills without further comment. After swallowing, he again turned back towards the chamber. Teal'c was prepared for this eventuality.

"DanielJackson," Teal'c said in a loud voice.

"What Teal'c?" Daniel said tiredly turning back towards the former Jaffa.

"I wish to learn how to play poker." And with that Teal'c brought out a pristine deck of cards (from O'Neill's pack) and placed them in front of the archaeologist.

1230 Hours
Inside the Khans encampment

"Show us!" Oghul demanded.

The nascent romantic mood that had been growing between Jack and Sam was instantly shattered with the appearance of Oghul and his followers. It was quite disconcerting to be surrounded by 11 ancient-looking Asian men, and Sam quickly moved to cover her bare breasts. She had never really forgotten where they were but had the khans remained silent, Sam was pretty certain she and Jack would have been able to do what was expected of them and get out of this with their psyche more or less intact. Now she wasn't so certain.

As Sam turned away from the khans, Jack turned towards them. "What the HELL do you think you are doing?!" He shouted. His anger was unexpected and the khans stopped their approach towards them.

"We want to see more," Oghul said matter of factly.

"And you couldn't just watch from where you were?" Jack asked acutely aware that Sam was still turned away from them. Away from him.

"We can see fine, but we wanted to see more closely."

"That wasn't part of the plan Oghul!" Jack said purposefully pronouncing the leading khan's name correctly. Maybe if he were nice to him, the guy would back off.

"If the woman shows us her body, and allows us to closely look upon her, we will go back to our seats and not approach you again. You still need to show us how you mate but we will not demand of you such a closely watched demonstration."

"Oh God," Sam whispered clasping a hand to her mouth and sinking down onto the blanket. This couldn't possibly be happening could it?

"And if I say no?" Jack asked. Hang on Sam.

Oghul shrugged. "If you say no, we will kill the men right now and keep the woman prisoner."

Jack fought to keep his voice calm. "Our warriors would come looking for us. You are only 11 people." Jack spat out the word 'people'. "Our warriors would quickly overpower and kill you. Are you prepared to die just to view a woman?"

Jack's argument must have been working as several khans began to argue amongst themselves. Jack turned around and put his arms around Sam's shaking form. "We'll get out of this Sam. I promise you. We WILL get out of this."

"Your argument is persuasive but we feel you will not risk the female's life by dying. We only ask to be allowed to view her body before you mate with her. We will not touch her. After the mating all four of you will be allowed to walk away from here unharmed. Will you really choose death rather than life?"

Jack knew that this precise situation was why women were kept out of combat situations for so long. It was such an unholy choice. Sam's dignity over all of their lives. And Jack wasn't naive enough to think Sam wouldn't be killed as well. They could all be killed. Sure the guys at the SGC would come back and kill their asses but what good would that do poor SG-1?

While Jack was deep in thought Sam made up her mind. All of her guys were getting out of here. And if that meant Sam needed to flash some perverted snakes, than so be it.

"Jack, I'll do it." Sam whispered pulling herself upright. She still held one hand in front of her breasts but she turned to face the khans. "I'll do it." Silently she looked into Jack's anguished eyes and without speaking a single word, a decision was made.

Are you sure?
I need to do this Jack.
I love you Sam. More than anything in the world. Please remember that. I love you too.

Jack turned back around to face the Khan leader. "We'll do it your way." He said pointing a finger at Oghul "But no one, and I mean NO ONE is to touch her, do I make myself clear? No more than five minutes and then you are all to go on back to your spots over there and shut the hell up!" Jack was acutely aware that not only was he yelling at the snakes holding them captive, but he was doing it wearing only Marvin the Martian boxer shorts.

Oghul looked back at Jack with cold eyes. "We will look as long as we like Tau'ri But we will not touch her. And we may still comment during your mating but it will most likely be in a language you will not understand. You will be released and allowed to leave after your coupling."

"Sam?" Jack asked turning back to look at her.

"Let's get this over with Jack," Sam whispered dropping her hand and pulling off her underwear. Without looking at the once again excited jailers, Sam grabbed Jack's hand firmly and squeezed her eyes shut while trying to remember to breathe.

"I am not going to open my eyes until they leave Jack. Please tell me when they are all gone." Jack could barely hear her she was whispering so quietly. Sam stood absolutely still as each khan circled her body to view it from all angles. They continually talked amongst themselves while circling her body. Sometimes they motioned for Jack to step a little to the left or right but none of them insisted he let go of her hand. One especially curious khan tried to reach out and touch one of Sam's breasts but Jack slapped the hand away so hard he was hopeful he had actually broken it. Seven minutes later they were satisfied and walked back to their "perches" near the throne.

"They're gone Sam," Jack whispered giving her hand a gentle squeeze.

"Can I still keep my eyes shut?" Sam asked trying not to cry. A few tears escaped from her tightly closed eyes and Jack tenderly wiped them away.

"Look at me Sam." Sam shook her head.

"Please Sam? Look at me." Sam opened her eyes and through a blur of tears saw the man she loved gazing at her with such love and compassion that she feared her heart might break in two.

"We'll get out of this Sam, I swear to you we will."

"I know." Sam whispered.

"Enough talk!" Oghul shouted as several other khans laughed and began to talk amongst themselves.

"Just focus on me Sam. Close your eyes if you need to , but just keep your focus on me, ok?" He felt Sam nod against his chest. Gently Jack began to kiss the tears from her face and then the tender area behind her ears. He continued kissing all the sensitive planes in Sam's face until he felt her begin to relax slightly. He then began to lightly run his tongue under her chin and down along her collarbone. He heard her small sigh. Gently he nipped at one of her ears and ran his tongue just along the outside edge as one of his hands began to caress a breast. He felt her nipple slowly come alive in his hand and quickly knelt down to allow his mouth to assist his hands in exploration. Sam let out a small moan and began to run her fingers through his hair, pulling Jack's mouth closer to her.

Jack let out a low moan of his own as Sam sank to her knees and pulled Jack's mouth away from her breasts and up towards her face. "I love you Jack." Sam said in between kisses. "God, I love you."

For nearly 20 minutes they kissed and caressed until Sam broke away slightly breathless. "I'm ready Jack." She said in a whisper giving one of his nipples a final flick with her tongue. Sam had done everything she knew how to do in order to get Jack aroused. Everything had caused much chatter amongst the khans. Apparently they had experienced some of the act themselves but kept asking Jack if it felt different when a woman did it. Jack had let out a moan as his fingers gently tangled themselves in Sam's hair and replied, "How the hell should I know? I never have had this done by a man!"

Jack positioned himself over Sam and began to slowly move forward when suddenly he froze. "Sam?"

"Just do it Jack. Please." Sam asked looking at him with teary blue eyes.

"You're not ready Sam. It will hurt."

"Jack please, I just want to go home. Just do it. It won't hurt much- I swear."

But Jack couldn't. There was just no way he was going to force himself on a woman. Even if it was the woman who asked his too. He gave Sam a sensual kiss on the mouth and then whispered in her ear. "Let's give these guys a little show shall we?" And with that he began a trail of kisses down Sam's neck and torso.

"Jack, no! Not here!" Sam's voice became quieter. " Jack? Really, you don't need to do..." Pause. "This." And quieter. "Oh..." And finally a breathy, "Well if you insist." Ten minutes later a very flushed Samantha Carter flipped her lover onto his back and proceeded to kiss the living daylights out of him. Works everytime. Jack thought smugly before all his senses were flooded with essence of Sam Carter. They hardly noticed the loud voices positively cheering behind them.

Chapter 5

Thankfully the elderly khans were chatting in Chinese as Jack and Sam lay in a tight embrace trying to get their breathing back under control. Jack was on his back with Sam pressed tightly against him. She wiped a bead of sweat from his forehead as she bent down to kiss him on the nose. "You sure know how to put on a show Colonel." Sam whispered. Jack let out a short laugh as he kissed her sweetly on the lips. "Somehow I think the stopper was you my dear Major." Slowly they disentangled themselves and were quite startled to discover that the khans had once again moved closer towards them.

"Ah for crying out loud! Not again.." Jack muttered sitting up and reaching for his shorts. Sam was frantically looking around for her own undergarments.

"What is that smell?" One of the khans asked taking another step towards Sam. It was the same guy who had tried to cop a feel from Sam earlier, Jack noted with distress. Sam had turned quite red and was busy gathering up all the clothes she could find. She still was having problems locating her underwear.

Jack could have laughed. Almost. "That is the smell of mating your perverted old snakes!" Jack said angrily pulling up his pants and reaching for his shirt.

The breast-infatuated khan took another step forward. "It is coming from the woman," he said suddenly grabbing a hold of Sam by the arm and inhaling in her scent. Instinct took over for Major Samantha Carter and she kneed him viciously between his legs and broke free from his grip. Breathing heavily Sam picked up her tank top and quickly put it on. The bra she could grudgingly do without, but she really needed her underwear.

"Way to go Major," Jack whispered coming to her side. Breast-khan was quite angry and another discussion ensued rapidly in Chinese as Sam tried to put on her pants. Her limbs were shaking so violently that she was having problems getting her leg into the opening. Quicker than Jack could have thought possible two khans grabbed hold of his arms while Breast-khan stepped forward and slapped Sam. Hard. Sam reeled from the blow but quickly stood back up and snarled at the khan. "Ready for some more hotshot?"

The khan made a motion with his hand and two others stepped forward to pin Sam's arms behind her back as well. She continued to struggle fiercely even as she was forced to kneel before the breast-infatuated monster. Jack did NOT like how this was shaping up and lashed out at his captors. He succeeded in breaking free of one before being brutally punched in the stomach by another.

"Enough!" Shouted the khan/thug grabbing a hold of Samantha's chin. "You will have your lover cease his struggles or I shall shoot him. Do I make myself understood?" Sam looked over at Jack's gasping form and briefly made eye contact. If they wanted to get out of this, they needed to play the khans' games. For now. Sam nodded.

"Very good," Breast-khan said mockingly moving her face first to the right and then to the left. "Pretty thing aren't you? Now we just need to teach you some manners." Breast-khan slowly unsheathed a small knife and with in one quick motion, cut Sam's tank top down the center. It fell away from her body easily leaving just a faint trail of blood from where the knife had nicked her.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?!" Jack yelled, having recovered his breath and once again began struggling against his captors. Oh god Sam.

"Your woman needs to be taught manners." And with that the horny khan reached over and ran his hands over Sam's breasts. Sam flinched at the contact and Jack could actually see her withdrawing within herself. Sam was certain she was about to be raped and planned to be as far away as possible when it happened. For several long seconds the Goa'uld touched Sam's breasts obviously enjoying every moment.

"Enough!" Oghul shouted pulling the breast-infatuated khan away from Sam. "The woman struck at you Temur and you in turn struck back at her. It is done. I gave the man my word they would be free to go after they mated. They have done what we asked. They can go."

"No!" Roared Temur. "The woman has insulted me and I demand honor! I say we kill the men and keep the woman as our.." He paused as his eyes scanned Sam's partially clothed body. "plaything." He grinned lecherously at Sam and took another step towards her. Sam looked him squarely in the eye as she finished fastening her pants (the belt was also no where to be found) and pulled on her regulation shirt. She cursed her hands for refusing to stop shaking.

"No." Khan Oghul said simply. "You have your souvenirs Temur, leave it at that. If we were to keep the woman, others would come and we would surely be killed. We all know this to be true. Which is why we are sending them home unharmed." He looked over at Jack. "We trust you never to return to our home world again."

Jack just nodded. Actually if he had his way, they would send in a couple commando units and blow these fuckers up, but more than likely Hammond would just order the coordinates deleted from the computer.

"Leave people of the Taur'i before I change my mind!" Khan Oghul shouted in his finest royal-sounding voice. The Khan turned around and walked out of the room. One by one the lesser khans followed him with Temur taking up the rear holding fast to Sam's bra and panties. He held her underwear up to his nose and inhaled deeply causing both Jack and Sam to grimace. Quickly they put on their socks and laced up their boots. Their packs and weapons were nowhere to be found but Jack couldn't give a damn about those. He and Sam were being allowed to leave.

"You ok?" Jack asked as he stood up holding out his hand to Sam. Sam took it and Jack was dismayed by the iciness of her touch. Shock. He knew the cut was pretty superficial but he still hoped Sam would let him dress it once they were a good klick away from this place.

"Yeah. Let's just get out of here," Sam replied in a raw voice.

Together they stepped out into the bright sunlight. Teal'c and Daniel sat a little ways from the entrance under an awning of some kind. It looked like they were playing... cards?!

"We're outta here kids." Jack said flatly as he passed the startled remaining members of Sg-1.

"Jack! Sam!" Daniel said standing up a bit too swiftly. He nearly fell back down as a wave of dizziness hit him with full force. Probably should have had Teal'c take a look at his shoulder, Daniel thought idly. He felt like shit.

"Major Carter, O'Neill. It is good to see you both well."

"Thanks Teal'c," Jack replied somberly, eyeing his favorite Major with concern. Sam continued to stare straight ahead.

"Everything OK Jack?" Daniel asked as Sam silently walked past the trio and towards the direction of the Stargate.

"Could be better Daniel," Jack said with a heavy sigh. "Could be better." Quickly the remaining members of SG-1 gathered up their things and followed Sam towards home.

Back to PG-13

Chapter 6

They had been walking for nearly an hour before Daniel noticed that Jack hadn't taken a drink of water since they had left. Come to think of it, where WAS Jack's canteen? Or his backpack?


"Hmm?" Jack answered distractedly, his eyes still focused on the distant form of Samantha Carter.


"Wha?" Jack asked confused. Daniel offered him his canteen and Jack accepted it automatically. Whatever had taken place behind those doors (And Daniel was not naive enough not to guess) had left Jack just as shell shocked as Sam. Daniel was pretty certain his friend hadn't had anything to drink in the last few hours.

"Jack, they didn't hurt..." Daniel paused as he considered his words. "They didn't hurt Sam did they?" Both men knew exactly what he was asking.

"No Daniel- it was nothing like that," Jack replied with a heavy sigh taking another swig of water and handing the canteen back to Daniel. Sure she had kneed the guy and yeah the pervert had slapped her and then proceeded to cut her top off- but Daniel was thinking rape and Jack needed to set his fears to rest. At least one of them could get out of this without nightmares. Jack still would have liked to treat Sam's cut, but somehow he doubted she'd let him get that close. Not right now. God! Jack knew that he and Sam's making love (it was love wasn't it?) was infinitely better than the alternative but it was still the wrong thing to do. It had to be affecting her ten times more than himself. Jack suddenly stared at the canteen in horror. Carter!

"Danny, I need to borrow this, thanks," Jack said in a rush as he grabbed the canteen back from Daniel and sprinted across the sand dune towards Sam. If he could be so messed up by all this that he forgot to drink, heaven knows what it was doing to Sam. She needed reminders to eat even on a good day!

"Sam!" Jack shouted as he continued his laborious scamper across the sands. "Carter, stop!" Seeing that it was not having the effect he wanted Jack decided to take additional steps. "Major Carter! You will stop right now and that is an order!" Jack shouted, in his most official Colonel sounding voice. He felt ridiculous yelling at Sam that way but knew it was the only way he might be able to reach her. He was right - Sam stopped instantly.

"Sir?" She asked turning around to face him. The spot where Temur had slapped her was already beginning to bruise and her eyes were bright from unshed tears.

Jack thought his heart might break with that one look. He could see all her emotions so clearly on her face. Self-loathing, fear, pain, hurt- all of it was right there for him to see. Her hat had not been among the clothes they had been able to put on, and Jack could see she was already beginning to get sunburned. He loved her pale skin and had begun the task of cataloging her freckles just a few weeks ago. They were at least two hours from the Stargate and Sam was already suffering from heat exhaustion and/or sunstroke. And definitely shock Jack. Don't forget the shock. Jack badly wanted to hold her and talk to her and just be there for her but knew that now was not the time and this planet was certainly not the place. All he could do was let her know that he was here.

"Thought you might want some water," Jack said, offering her Daniel's canteen. He could see the confusion in her face. "We left our packs." Jack said simply. Sam nodded and took a small sip. The water tasted like dust in her mouth. She looked up at Jack and silently handed him back the water.

Please go Jack. Please. I can't see you right now. I love you but I just can't! Please go. Please.

Jack wanted more than anything to stay but had learned to read Samantha Carter long ago and nodded understandingly at Sam's silent plea.

"I'm just going to give this back to Danny and then come on back and walk with you, ok?"

Sam bit her lip hard in an effort not to cry. No Jack. Please. I just need to be alone right now. If you walk with me I'll lose it and I really, really can't do that on this god-damned fucking planet!

Jack understood every word she didn't say and nodded again. "Alright." Jack said softly reaching out to touch her. He saw Sam take the smallest of steps away from him and though it tore at his heart, he knew it was nothing he should take personally. See the bright side of being psychologically and physically tortured in the past? You knew exactly what to expect in others.

He pulled his hand back and gave Sam a look of complete understanding. "I'll just be a hundred feet or so behind you Carter. Let me know if you need anything ok?" He turned as if to leave and stuck his hands deeply in his pockets. Jack was surprised to find a tube of chapstick in there and realized that he had stolen it from Sam's dresser earlier that morning. Jack turned back around and silently handed her the chapstick with a small smile. "Don't want you burning anything Major." And with that he walked back towards the very worried Daniel and Teal'c.

Samantha Carter turned back towards the direction of the Stargate and holding the small tube like a talisman continued her slow walk home. *I will not fucking cry. I will not! *

"Welcome home SG-1!" General Hammond said jovially, as all four members of his favorite team stepped through the wormhole. Instantly he could tell something was wrong. Seriously wrong. Only Daniel and Teal'c had their packs and none of them had their weapons. He could see a large bruise forming on Major Carter's left cheek and what appeared to be a scorch mark on Dr. Jackson's shoulder. Zat blast?

"Good to be home sir," Jack replied without his usual enthusiasm.

"I need to take a shower," Samantha Carter stated in a monotone voice as she walked down the ramp and out of the room.

"Major!?" General Hammond was quite confused. Of all of them, Major Carter was always the most conscientious when it came to military protocol. To leave without being dismissed was absolutely unheard of. George suddenly had a horrible feeling in the bottom of his stomach.

"Let her go General," Jack said quietly. Hammond nodded and looked the rest of SG-1 over. Teal'c always looked the same (except when gravely injured). Daniel seemed upset and a bit uneasy on his feet. And Jack? Jack looked shell shocked. And for something to do that to Colonel Jack O'Neill- well it must have been pretty bad.

"Seeing as it's nearly 1600, why don't you all clean up and get cleared by Dr. Frasier. We'll debrief at 0800 tomorrow morning. You all get a good night's sleep- you look like you need it."

"Thank you General," Jack said with complete sincerity. Had the General not offered, Jack was prepared to ask for a 12-hour delay. There was no way he and Sam could do this today.

"So what's this I hear about you getting hit with a zat Daniel?" Dr. Frasier asked, as she helped him off with his shirt. He might be somewhat used to the damn things but they still hurt like a son-of-a-bitch. Although to be honest, he hadn't really felt it much until Janet started prodding him. Too worried about Sam.

"Sssss- Ow! Janet that hurt!"

"Sorry," Janet replied absently, as she examined his shoulder. She was always concerned when a member of an SG team was injured. But a simple zat blast to Daniel? Walk in the park. Only.. Hold on.

"Daniel!" Janet remarked suddenly. "This looks different." Different was an understatement. The burn had charred away most of the skin on his left shoulder leaving a red oozing wound. Walking three hours in the desert certainly hadn't helped either- the wound was infected.

"Daniel, are you certain you were zatted?" Janet asked in a more concerned voice as she carefully cut away the last bits of cloth sticking to his wound. "This looks a lot more like a staff blast!"

"Wha?" Daniel asked scarecly paying attention. He hadn't even looked at the burn until Janet pointed it out to him. Naturally just seeing it caused him to retch and the pain to come crashing down upon him. With lightening fast reflexes Dr. Frasier placed a small bowl underneath him just in time.

"Easy Daniel." Janet said with genuine sympathy. Like his sketchy eating habits, Dr. Daniel Jackson had been totally unaware of the severity of his injury until it had been made blatantly obvious. Whatever had happened on that planet, it was serious enough to cause him to actually forget about his wound.

"Want to talk about it?" Janet asked handing Daniel a moist tissue.

"Not really," Daniel answered, utterly exhausted.

"Afraid I need to know at least a little Daniel," Janet said as she set up an IV and gently pushed a needle into Daniel's arm.

"That wasn't a typical zat blast," Janet began.

"No. It wasn't."

"And?" Getting answers from Daniel was like pulling teeth, Janet needed to get the Colonel in here. Or Teal'c!

"It was an older model Janet. It did the whole electrical current thing, I guess it just had the added bonus of burning it's victims as well." Daniel gave a shallow laugh. "Portable staff weapon. Awfully nice of the Goa'uld to do away with those things." He said gritting his teeth as Janet began cleaning his shoulder in earnest.

"At the time, getting struck by the thing sure as hell beat the alternative!" Daniel sounded angry.

"What alternative Daniel?"

Leaning back onto the pillow Daniel replied in the faintest of voices as he closed his eyes. "Raping Sam." He might have been unconscious for most of the "event" but Daniel knew damn well what had happened and why and ... He never got to finish the thought. For the second time in 10 minutes Daniel Jackson got violently ill.

Janet again held a bowl in front of Daniel, but it soon became clear that he had nothing remaining in his stomach. His dry heaves painfully wracked his body, jarring his shoulder injury. Daniel's physical reaction was to the pain and trauma of whatever had happened on that planet. Janet wished she could have heard what Daniel had whispered but was confident she would find out soon enough- for now it was best for him to rest.

Chapter 7

Sam sat against the shower wall shaking with rage and hurt, the faint cut on her stomach and the stinging of her cheek a reminder to how close she had come to being raped. Raped. Assaulted. Violated. Sam let out a shuddering breath as she once again picked up the bar of soap and began scrubbing her skin.

Walking home had been horrible. It was one thing to walk 3 1/2 hours without a bra or underwear in blistering hot temperatures, but to do so after having had sex was disgusting. Without anything to soak up her perspiration, the caustic drops had burned the small cut on her chest and been a constant reminder of that ASSHOLE-PERVERTED-PIECE-OF-SHIT Temur. Sam dropped the soap and began to cry again. What a fucking nightmare!

Jack was worried. He had been waiting nearly 30 minutes for Sam to come out of the locker room and knew he was going to have to go inside. Having stood outside the only entrance/exit nearly the entire time, he was fairly certain no one was in there but Sam. Enough was enough- he needed to check on her. Cautiously Jack opened the door and peered inside.

"Hello?" Jack called out. Nothing. "One male Colonel rounding the corner!" Still nothing. Jack could hear the shower running and could only see one locker (Sam's) open. He decided to take a chance and walked around the corner into the shower area. Sam was sitting on the floor of a stall with her back up against a wall and her knees tucked tightly to her chest. She was rocking silently as the shower continued to fall around her- it having long since grown cold.

"Oh Sam!" Jack exclaimed, as he stepped into the cold shower and turned the water off. He squatted next to the woman he loved more than life itself. Sam flung herself onto him and held him as if her very life depended on it.

"I'm so sorry Sam," Jack murmured, gently stroking her wet hair. "So very, very sorry." For over 10 minutes they sat like that as Sam cried tears of humiliation and fear. Tears she couldn't dare shed while off world. Jack knew this was only the beginning of her healing but he was awfully glad she could release it so effectively. He knew he couldn't. Not like this. Never with tears. He could hear Sam's breathing start to change and despite her slight shivering, he feared she'd fall asleep just like this if he didn't get her up.

"Sam?" Jack said pulling her away from him gently. "We need to get you dressed and over to see Janet before she sends out a posse looking for us."

"Ok," Sam said nodding slightly. With Jack's help she stood up, although none too steadily he noticed with unease. Together they walked over to Sam's locker. Slowly Sam went through the motions of dressing- not once did she say a single word. Jack knew she was still in shock and briefly wondered how this might look if someone were to walk in right at this moment. Of course HE was still fully clothed so excuses could be made. That and the fact that he was allowed to see his major naked anytime he wanted.

Well away from the SGC that is.

"Ready?" Jack asked softly, as Sam finished pulling on a pair of socks. She didn't feel up to shoes at the moment.

Sam nodded and together they headed down the hall towards the infirmary.

The pair had barely made it through the front door before a very angry doctor pounced on them. "Colonel! What the blazes happened to Daniel!?" Janet Frasier said, pointing a finger into Jack's chest. She had been so concerned about Daniel that she hadn't even noticed the sorry physical state of the couple before her. Sam's eyes instantly filled with tears at hearing of the seriousness of Daniel's injury. She knew he had been zatted but it never occurred to her that the ancient weapons might harm him more than the newer models.

"Sam, honey- are you ok?" Janet asked, taking a good look at Sam and the Colonel. Her anger quickly vanished as she critically viewed the two before her. She could see the formation of what had to be a painful bruise on Sam's left cheek and wondered what else she would find upon examination. She led Sam to a bed and had her sit down before she fell down. And it certainly looked like Samantha Carter might fall down at any moment. Janet could tell she had been crying heavily and took in Sam's damp hair (not even combed) and the Colonel's wet clothes with growing apprehension.

Sam just shook her head as she tried to get her emotions under control. Janet took out the blood pressure cuff and began to go through her usual checklist of post mission procedures. Sam was shaking slightly as Janet tightened the cuff and read the number. This can't be right. She got another cuff and tried again. Same number.

"Colonel? Sam? What happened?" Sam's blood pressure always hovered around 110/70. Currently it was 80/55. Way too low. Dangerously low in fact.

"Lie down Sam, please?" Janet asked, gently pushing her friend down onto the soft sheets. Sam sighed as she closed her eyes. She knew she was in safe hands.

"Not yet Sam honey. I'll let you sleep later," Janet quickly pulled the curtain closed and began to help Sam out of her clothes. Wordlessly Jack helped. The angry red cut on her stomach testimony to the perversion of some elderly khans.

"Looks only superficial," Janet mumbled to herself lightly touching Sam's gash. Sam didn't react in the slightest. Janet shined a small light into Sam's eyes and was disturbed by Sam's lack of reaction. Rapid pulse, low BP, paleness despite obvious sunburn- Sam was in shock. Why?

"Sam? Can you tell me what happened?" Janet tried again, wrapping the BP cuff around her for a second reading. The number didn't make her happy- on top of everything else, Sam also appeared to be dehydrated. Janet efficiently began a saline IV and patted her friend's arm gently. "We'll have you feeling better in no time, honey." Sam just looked at her friend silently, afraid if she tried to speak, she'd burst into tears. Again.

"You can sleep now Sam, I am just going to talk to the Colonel for a little bit, ok?" Sam's eyes filled with tears and she nodded. Janet took a step forward. "Do you not want me to talk to the Colonel?" Jack took a step back out of the curtained area to give the two women some privacy. Sam shook her head. Janet was confused. Was Sam saying not to talk to Jack, or was she merely objecting to Jack's stepping away?

"Talk to Jack, Janet," Sam said, in a husky voice struggling not to cry again. She failed miserably and large tears fell from her eyes as she angrily wiped them away. "I can't tell you about it. Not now. Talk to Jack."

"I'll do that Sam," Janet replied, squeezing her friend's hand. "You rest." Sam nodded and turned on her side, making herself as small as possible as she drifted off to sleep. Janet stood over Sam for another minute to make sure she was resting comfortably before turning back towards Jack.

"Colonel," Janet said putting on her doctor face. "Your turn." Jack nodded and took a seat on the bed next to Sam.

"How's Daniel?" Jack asked finding his voice again.

"He should be okay in a few days. I was just surprised by the amount of damage. I had expected a basic zat burn and instead faced a nasty 2nd degree burn that just might need a little skin graft. His muscle tissues seem intact so I think he'll recover fully. He seemed just as surprised as I was about it."

"You know Daniel. If his mind is one other things, he tends to forget the basics. Eating, painful zat burns- things like that." The words were classic Colonel Jack O'Neill but the delivery was woefully lacking.

"Uh huh," Janet said taking Jack's blood pressure. She looked at the readings and shooke her head. "Not you as well Colonel," Janet said with a sigh, as she lowered the bed and asked Jack to lie down for a second BP check. Janet wasn't surprised to find him also dehydrated. And dammit if he didn't show signs of shock as well.

"Colonel, excuse my language but what the hell happened to your team?"

"Janet, I promise to tell you everything, but for the moment can I please take a quick shower? I swear I'll be back in 10 minutes." Janet looked at him skeptically.

"You have everyone figured out already," Jack said softly in a resigned voice. Sam and I are a bit dehydrated." He sat up slowly and ran his fingers through his silver hair. "And probably suffering from a little PTS (he recognized the signs) - Sam more more so than me. Daniel got zatted, but not before he heard enough to be overly worried about Sam. Teal'c's still Teal'c and I'll betcha dollars to donuts he'll be in here checking on both Sam and Daniel before the evening is through." He looked pleadingly at Janet. "Can I please take a shower?"

Janet questioned whether Jack could actually make it to and from the shower in one piece, but recognized his desire to be clean. She grudgingly nodded. "Ten minutes Colonel. If you aren't back here in ten, I'm sending in the MPs." Janet mentally crossed her fingers that she wouldn't need to send nurses.

True to his word, Jack returned showered and somber less than ten minutes later. "Can I see Sam for a sec first?" Jack asked, looking as if the weight of the world rested on this shoulders.

"That would be fine Colonel," Janet replied, not really fathoming what was happening here. Both Daniel and Sam were still sleeping so Janet had been unable to get any of her questions answered. Whatever it was it must have gotten to Teal'c as well because he wasn't in here to check on his teammates' health. Janet remembered him pausing only long enough to ensure that Daniel was being looked at before leaving to Kel No Reem. Kel No Reem was like a deep state of meditation and if Teal'c felt the need to enter it so abruptly after a mission.. well it couldn't have been good.

Jack quietly pulled the curtain back and pulled up a chair next to Sam's still form. She was lying on her side in a tightly curled fetal position; even sleeping she looked troubled. And it was all his fault. All of it. He should have seen the writing on the wall (or lack thereof) and pulled his team out of there before any of this happened. Jack took one of Sam's warm hands and held it up to his cheek. "Forgive me, Sam."

"Colonel?" Janet said touching him lightly on his shoulder.

"I'm coming." Jack stood up and after placing a gentle kiss on Sam's forehead.

Jack closed the curtain and walked over to the empty bed near Dr. Fraiser. "Everyone still going to be ok?" Jack asked, sitting down and rolling up his sleeve.

"Just fine Colonel," Janet said taking his BP once again. Still a bit low. Janet noted the bruising around his ribs and figured the Colonel had gone ahead and pissed someone off. Again. Otherwise he appeared to be ok. She had Jack lie back down and gave him a saline drip to get his fluids back up.

"Ready to tell me some details?" Janet asked gently, taking a seat beside the Colonel.

With his free hand Jack rubbed his face and sighed. "Not really. But I will."

Slowly Jack told his friend and doctor what had happened on the Goa'uld planet. Janet was horrified that her friends had to go through that and could only imagine what it must have been like for Sam.

"I raped her Janet. I love Sam with all my heart and I raped her," Jack said in anguish shutting his eyes tightly in hopes of stopping the images from replaying themselves. "And then I had to stand there while that slimy snake touched her."

"Colonel, listen to me," Janet said touching his arm. "You and Sam did what needed to be done to get the team home safely. I am certain you didn't physically hurt her in the least." Janet said adamantly. A ghost of a smile crossed Jack's lips as he remembered just how he had insured it wouldn't hurt. Jack shook his head frowning again.

"It doesn't matter Janet, we were still forced to have sex!"

"That's right Colonel," Janet said adamantly. "Forced. Both of you. Remember that." Janet could see her words really weren't getting through to him. "Colonel," she said in a softer voice, "just think how different this would have been if you and Sam hadn't already gotten permission to be in a relationship off base."

"But that's just it Janet!" Jack said his voice rising in frustration. "We weren't off base. We were on a frickin' desert world when it was just Major and Colonel and suddenly we were forced to.." Jack was spent. They were forced and that's all there was to it.

The pint bag of saline was empty and Janet quietly pulled out the needle and gave Jack a Band-Aid.

"Janet, I need to be with Sam tonight. Can I please take her home?" Jack looked like a lost soul sitting there with his hands clasped tightly between his knees.

Janet thought for a long moment before answering. "Colonel, I know you and Sam promised the General you wouldn't show any form of inappropriate behavior while on base but I think an exception can be made in this case. It's nearly 7 o'clock, and you really aren't in the best shape to drive and Sam certainly shouldn't be vertical for the next 12 hours. So here's what I am going to do- you and Sam can stay together in one of your rooms. I'll clear it with the General before I leave tonight. I know he is still around." Little did Jack know that the General actually never left the base before SG-1 was cleared (or admitted) from medical.

"Thank you Janet," Jack said sincerely, letting out a breath he didn't know he had been holding. Jack could only hope this would be all right with Sam as well. So far she hadn't reacted negatively to his presence but Jack would not be surprised at all if she did. God- what a fucking nightmare.

Chapter 8

Sam awoke disorientated and confused. She wasn't in the infirmary (lack of beeping machinery) and this wasn't her bed. It wasn't Jack's bed either (he was on a flannel sheets kick at the moment). Sam blinked in the darkness and could just make out vague shapes against the wall. No windows... they were still on base! Well this was a first. Sam had been in Jack's SGC room hundreds of times, but never in his bed. Not that it was any different from the one she had down the hall, but still... Suddenly the memories of the last 24 hours came crashing back to her, as did the reason she had awakened so suddenly. Jack O'Neill was having a nightmare.

Jack had always been good at hiding his feelings and fears from those closest to him. But no matter how deep he had buried them, they always found away to manifest themselves in his nightmares. After they had been seeing each other (officially) for a month or so, Jack had told Sam about them. He was afraid he might lash out at her one night in his sleep and wanted her to be prepared. He used to scare Sara sometimes and he didn't want that to happen to Sam. He still couldn't talk about his black ops missions, but at least Sam vaguely knew what he must have done- Sara only knew he was military. The nightmares actually hadn't been all that much of a surprise. After nearly five years of off-world missions, Sam had witnessed her share of Colonel O'Neill nightmares. Usually he'd wake himself up and then go for a walk. Occasionally Daniel would go with him.

Jack still had his arms wrapped protectively around Sam's body but he was shaking and Sam could feel heat radiating from his face and neck. "You can't have her." Jack hissed tightening his grip around her waist. Sam felt her heart tighten and tears instantly pooled in her eyes as she slowly turned around to face her lover.

"Jack," She said softly reaching out to lightly touch his face. Even in the dimness, Sam could make out Jack's pained expression and see the beads of sweat covering his face. His t-shirt was soaked with fearful sweat and his left hand was clinched into a tight fist.

"I said LEAVE HER THE FUCK ALONE!" Jack roared, sitting straight up and looking around the room frantically inbetween ragged breaths.

"Jack," Sam said again touching him gently on his back.

Jack suddenly became aware of Sam's presence and swiftly pulled her tightly against himself. He took deep shuddering breaths against her hair and neck, drawing solace from the unique scent that was Samantha Carter.

"Oh god Sam, I'm so sorry. I am so sorry baby. So very sorry." He continued to murmur into her neck while Sam gently rubbed his back whispering her own words of absolution.

"It wasn't your fault Jack. There is nothing to forgive. It was not your fault." They sat wrapped in each other's arms for several minutes before Sam could feel Jack starting to slip back to sleep. Together they took off Jack's sweaty t-shirt and lay back on the bed. Jack instantly wrapped himself once again around Sam and within moments was fast asleep. Sam let out a shuddering breath and held Jack's hand securely against her chest as she too fell back asleep.

General Hammond was not looking forward to this debriefing. His Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Janet Frasier had come to him the night before and given him a very watered down version of what had happened to SG-1. The general felt physically ill at hearing of the events that had occurred on P2X-415. He drew solace from the fact that Major Carter had not been raped by the Goa'ulds but was under the distinct impression that more had occurred than what Dr. Frasier was telling him. He had agreed to allow the Colonel and Major to share quarters and hoped it would be enough to at least allow them a little rest. All four members of SG-1 would recover physically from the mission but Dr. Frasier was very concerned about their psychological well-being.

The General stood quietly in the doorway of the briefing room silently observing his favorite team. Dr. Jackson, still pale and heavily bandaged had been temporarily released from the infirmary (skin graft was scheduled at 1400 that afternoon) and was sitting nervously next to the ever stoic Teal'c. Major Carter sat on Daniel's left and looked like a war zone survivor, her eyes staring straight ahead but not really seeing anything. The General could just make out a slight tremor in her hands. Jack sat at his usual place around the table playing absently with a pencil. George could see how worried he was about the Major and saw the way he would steal glances at her every few seconds. George sighed as he walked through the doorway. Jack instantly stood up and Sam was just shifting her chair back to do the same when the General motioned for them to remain seated.

"As you were people." He sat down at the head of the table and picked up a single piece of paper.

"As you know, Dr. Frasier spoke with me last night and I have been given a rudimentary briefing on what occurred on P2X-415. I want you all to know that I only need Colonel O'Neill to submit a summary report. The Pentagon and other government officials don't need to know every last detail of what occurred on that planet." George could see Sam visibly relax with that statement. "That said, I'm afraid I need to know the whole story." He said this in a softer voice before putting down the paper and looking at Colonel O'Neill.

Jack cleared his throat to start but it was Teal'c who began to speak. He might not have been able to prevent the events from unfolding on the planet, but he could spare his friends a little discomfort by beginning the debriefing.

"The planet appeared exactly as it did in the MALP images GeneralHammond. According to MajorCarter, a significant amount of naquada was approximately 8 miles due west of the gate and we began our walk in that direction. The planet is a desert and the rolling hills made our progress slow. We had been walking for nearly three hours when we came across a man made structure nearly hidden amongst the sands."

Daniel took over. "Both Sam and Teal'c felt there was something wrong with the planet General."

Hammond looked at Major Carter curiously. "Explain Major."

"I can't explain it sir," Sam said meeting General Hammond's concerned eyes. "The whole planet just felt off somehow. Teal'c felt it too. It wasn't as if I felt the need to leave the planet or something-it just felt wrong."

"I concur with MajorCarter's observations."

Hammond nodded. "Continue."

Daniel continued with the narrative. "We came across a half-buried entrance to a tomb or something. Jack had Teal'c guard the entrance as he and Sam took up right and left side of the structure. I was left to check out the room itself." Daniel paused to take a sip of water.

"It didn't feel unsafe to me but both Sam and Teal'c felt very uncomfortable inside the building. So much so that Jack ordered all of us to leave. Unfortunately we weren't fast enough. The walls actually had opened up on three sides of the room. Within seconds we were totally surrounded by a dozen or so Goa'ulds."

"Old Asian guys actually," Jack added with a grimace.

"They all carried weapons GeneralHammond," Teal'c clarified. "They were quite silent in their approach and nothing we could have done would have made any difference."

"Except maybe not have GONE INTO the room," Jack piped in angrily.

"Jack, there was no way we could have walked out of there after they had us surrounded." Daniel looked at the General. "There really wasn't General. We might have been able to take out the majority of them with our weapons. But all 11? Jack made the right call and had us lower our weapons."

"Right call, my ass," Jack mumbled under his breath.

"Colonel that will be enough."

"Sorry sir."

Daniel continued. "Our weapons and packs were taken from us and we were led to a large chamber. The Goa'ulds called themselves Khans and as it turned out- these guys had been banished by Ra and some of the other System Lords over 200 years ago."

Sam spoke up for the first time. "Something was done to their bodies that prevented them from traveling to another world via the Stargate Sir. In fact, they told us they couldn't take a new host and were forced to live out the remainder of their lives in one single body."

"Major, do you feel the source of the naquada came from these Goa'uld?"

"Not entirely sir," Sam explained. She felt much more comfortable talking about the failed scientific mission than the actual events of the mission. "The readings I was reading were way too large to be coming from just the Goa'ulds. I believe there is a rather large concentration of raw naquada somewhere on the premises."

"Interesting," Hammond said taking a few notes. He nodded at Dr. Jackson to continue.

Daniel licked his lips. He was rapidly approaching the part he didn't like. "The Goa'ulds had built a throne of sorts on one side of the room and several of the guys were up there staring at us; the rest were scattered around the room to prevent us from escaping. They told us their history and while we were talking amongst ourselves one of them began honing in on Sam."

"They were intrigued that MajorCarter was a female warrior," Teal'c added.

"Right." Daniel didn't know if he could go explain any further.

"Dr. Jackson?" Hammond encouraged.

Daniel cleared his throat again and cursed not allowing Janet to give him more drugs before the debriefing. "The eldest khan, Oghul, wanted to see a little more of Sam than he currently did. He actually asked if.. um.."

"He wanted to see Tau'ri mating," Teal'c once again supplied. Sam sank lower into her seat and closed her eyes.

"Right." Daniel said pointing at Teal'c. "Naturally Jack said no and that's when I was zatted."

Teal'c knew how difficult this was for his friends and continued in the narration. "DanielJackson was indeed shot by an older version of the zat'nik'atel and that is when O'Neill requested that DanielJackson and myself leave the room. His choices were to have all of us stay and be shot, or to agree to the Goa'ulds demands. He made the correct decision." Teal'c looked straight at Jack when he said this. "We were escorted outside and placed under a canopy of some sort. We were given back two of our packs but none of our weapons. We remained there for approximately 90 minutes before O'Neill and MajorCarter came out of the main chamber. All four of us were allowed to leave and head back to the Stargate without further incident."

"Colonel, do you have anything to add?"

"Nothing you need to know," Jack said succinctly. "Nothing pertinent I mean sir."

"Jack, I'm sorry to have to ask, but the Goa'ulds or Khans as they called themselves were just content to watch you and Major Cater?" The General couldn't keep the level of disbelief out of his voice. Why didn't the Goa'ulds kill them?

Jack sighed and stole a glance at Sam. She had slunk lower in her chair and was holding her hands tightly on her lap. She hadn't made eye contact with Jack since they had walked into the room. All in all, Sam was handling this about as well as could be expected.

"At first the khans were satisfied with our little show, but later they wanted a little something more. It wasn't comfortable for either the Major or myself but neither one of us were physically assaulted." He and Sam had agreed that this was what he was going to say but Jack couldn't help but notice how Sam cringed at the words 'physically assaulted.' He just wanted to assure the General and his friends that Sam was definitely not raped.

"Colonel," General Hammond said with a little more anger than he intended. "I have seen your medical reports. Both you and the major suffered physical blows at the hands of theses Goa'uld; that's physical assault son."

"What the Colonel is trying to say is that we weren't raped sir," Sam said speaking up for the first time in several minutes. She sat up straighter and took a sip of water hoping it would be enough to hold back the nausea that was threatening to overwhelm her.

"Some of the Khans tried to get a little fresh with me sir, and Colonel O'Neill attempted to get them to stop. This is when he received his injuries." General Hammond just nodded. "I tried to not react to some of the things one of the Khans was doing to me but I'm afraid I also lashed out."

"She kneed the guy," Jack explained with a grim smile.

"The Khan didn't take too kindly to that sir, and that's when I received my injuries." Sam couldn't help but look into the General's eyes and beg him not to ask her to say any more. The General nodded once and stood up.

"I think that's all I need to know. You all are on downtime for the next week. I recommend using that time to actually leave the base." The General received the usual "Yes, Sirs" and "Thank you General" as the group stood up to leave.

"Colonel? Can I have an additional word with you and the Major please?" Both Jack and Sam turned back towards the General with apprehension.

"I know you two have been through a hellacious ordeal and I want you to know that if you need more time, you just let me know."

"Thank you sir," Jack said resisting the urge to take Sam's hand.

"I am also ordering the two of you to talk to someone."

"Sir?" Sam asked, puzzled.

"I don't care if it's McKenzie or Frasier or a priest or a friend but both of you need to talk about what happened. And talking to each other does NOT do it for me; do I make myself understood?"

"Yes sir," Jack and Sam replied at the same time. Both knew the General was right but neither one of them looked forward to reliving the event.

"Now go on home kids and get some rest. That's also an order." Jack gave the General a small smile and lightly placed his hand on the small of Sam's back as he ushered her out of the office. There would be plenty of time to talk with others in the upcoming days, for now Jack and Sam were heading home.

Chapter 9

At first Jack was worried Sam would want to spend time by herself; something Jack really didn't want her to do. But she surprised him by suggesting they head up to the cabin.

"Really," Jack replied, stopping dead in his tracks in the middle of the SGC hallway. "You really want to go to the cabin?"

The pair were still on base awaiting their final medical clearance from Dr. Frasier. Daniel's surgery the day before had been successful and he was going to be released from the infirmary the next day.

Sam shot Jack a look of poorly veiled annoyance.

"If you would rather not go Colonel, I'm sure I can find some place else to visit."

Oh yeah- Sam was pissed. And the SGC was SO not the place to have this conversation. Sharing a bed here two nights ago had been an aberration; the pair had spent last night at Jack's.

"Major, I suggest we talk about this after the doc gives us a clean bill of health."

"Fine!" Sam said a little curter than she had wanted. They walked the remaining 100 meters in silence.

"Hey Spacemonkey!" Jack greeted Daniel as he approached his bed. The intrepid archaeologist had already conned the nurses into allowing him to bring in a laptop. Daniel looked up from the computer with an irritated frown.

"Typing one-handed sucks Jack."

"I'm sure." Jack said with a grin.

Daniel closed his laptop with a click and motioned for Jack to take a seat. Janet had already taken Sam across the room for her post-really-bad-mission-physical.

"So how are you guys doing?" Daniel asked giving Jack one of his patented concerned looks.

Jack shrugged and began fiddling with a pen he had found in his shirt pocket. "Sam wants to go to the cabin."

"Really?" Daniel said taken back. "Jack, has she ever been to the cabin?"

"Nope. Which is kind of funny really don't you think?"

"Maybe a little." Daniel said pausing. "So are you going to go?"

"I dunno." He paused as if considering the request for the first time. "Think we should?"

"Yes. Absolutely." Daniel said with a nod. "Neither of you should be alone right now."

"I dunno Daniel." Jack said standing up and walking around the bed. "Maybe I need to give Sam some time by herself." He picked up a card from Daniel's bedside and began reading it. From the SGC nurses.

"Sit Jack. You'll make me dizzy if you start one of your pacing shtiks."

"Pacing shtiks?" Jack said taking his seat again. Daniel just waved his right hand awkwardly in the air in a you-know-what-I-mean sort of way.

"Did Sam say she wanted to go to the cabin alone or that she wanted both of you to go to the cabin together?"

That was actually a good question. Jack paused to replay the conversation in his head. "She asked if we could go to the cabin."

"Well there you go!" Daniel said triumphantly. "She wants you both up there together."

Jack nodded still unsure. He went to playing with the clicking device on the pen.

"Tell you what Jack. Why don't you and Sam head on up there and if both you and Sam want, I can come up and keep you company later in the week."

Jack smiled. He'd like that.

"So how are you really doing Sam?" Janet asked sitting beside her friend on the bed. Medically speaking Sam had fully recovered, although Janet was quick to note that Sam had already managed to drop two pounds in the last 48 hours. That girl could lose weight faster than anyone she knew! She'd have to keep an eye on that.

"I wish people would stop asking me that Jan." Sam said with a sigh.

"They are only asking because they care Sam."

"I know."

"Jack had another nightmare last night." Sam blurted out. As both of their doctors, Sam knew she could tell Janet just about anything without worrying that it would wind up in the SGC rumor mill.

Janet didn't need to ask what about. "Was it bad?" She asked concerned.

"Not as much as the first night." Sam paused as if wanting to say something more.

"But.." Janet began.

"How can I forget about what happened Janet, if Jack is right there beside me screaming it out in Technicolor detail?!" Sam's eyes were beginning to pool with unshed tears. Janet silently gave her friend a tissue.

"What about you Sam? Are you having nightmares?"

"No- not really" Sam laughed weakly. "Jack would accuse me of working my brain too hard- but I can honestly force myself not to think about what happened Janet. And I seem to be able to keep that restriction in place even when I sleep."

Janet picked up her friend's hand. "Sam, you know that's not healthy."

"I know." She said casting her eyes downward. "But I just don't want Jack to have to carry any more guilt. It wasn't his fault Janet!"

"Who are you trying to convince Sam?" Janet said giving her friend's hand a slight squeeze.

"I'm a Major in the United State's Air force and my commanding officer did everything he could to insure the safely of his team." Sam said forcibly.

"But you aren't just a member of his team Sam."

"On an off-world assignment, I am." Sam said adamantly.

"You were never just a member of his team and you know that. It's true neither you nor Jack would ever do anything that would jeopardize the SGC or any member of SG-1, but if ever there's ever a situation developing between just the two of you- Air Force regulations go out the window. And you know it." Sam just nodded and blew her nose.

"Let yourself feel Sam. Anger, pain, hurt- all are valid emotions that you need to express. The Colonel is one of the strongest individuals I know. He'll be ok with anything he hears."

Sam didn't quite believe Janet but realized there was some truth to what she was saying. Sometimes it sucked being the smart one.

Chapter 10

"Lots of trees here." Sam said dryly as she stepped out of Jack's SUV. It had taken them over 16 hours of near continuous driving to get up to the cabin, but Sam had to admit it was sure beautiful.

"Isn't that supposed to be my line?" Jack quipped as he blissfully released his legs from the driver's seat. It had been his great idea to try and make it up here in one day. Hindsight dictated that this wasn't one of his better ones. Although he and Sam HAD shared the driving time, he was still pretty damn wiped out. **Getting old Jack.

Sam couldn't believe she was actually here. Had it really taken her 5 years?! She had wanted to come up before now but was just too fearful that a rustic cabin, a good bottle of wine and Jack O'Neill would lead to very unwholesome thoughts. No- they were wholesome all right, just not appropriate. Thank god they didn't have to hide anything anymore! She was actually allowed and even ENCOURAGED to hang out with Colonel Jack O'Neill. Go figure.

"Lemme give you the big tour." Jack said walking around the car and putting his arm around Sam's waist. Sam instinctively stiffened (against her will dammit!) and pulled slightly away. She reached down to take Jack's hand in an attempt to cover it up. Jack wasn't fooled in the slightest.

It had been 5 days now since '415 and Sam and Jack's sex life left something to be desired. Five days wasn't anything to be worried about for a normal couple, but after over 3 years of unresolved sexual tension, 'normal' for Jack and Sam was at LEAST once a day (when they weren't off-world that is). Jack had been quite smug after the first month. Not bad for a guy in his mid 40's eh?

But not now. Jack had no illusions that making love wasn't something they would do anytime soon, but he did hope she would at least take comfort in his physical presence. Sam had begun wearing long sleeve pajama tops and bottoms to bed. Not exactly a sign that she was coming to grips with things. Her previous sleeping attire consisted of a pair of his boxers and nothing else. And though she DID still like to cuddle and always fell asleep tightly spooned against Jack's body, there had been no additional physical contact.

The night before Jack had accidentally (on purpose) reached under her silken top to lightly touch her waist. Sam had surprised both of them by bolting straight up and scrambling out of bed. She had made some remark about being really thirsty but no one was fooled. For nearly 20 minutes Sam had sat on the cold kitchen floor cursing the Goa'ulds and the Khans and wishing she could just stop feeling this way. She was thankful Jack was giving her space but wondered how long even he could keep this up.

Silently Sam had padded back to the bedroom and slid under the covers. Jack had pretended to be asleep when she came back to bed and although he had desperately wanted to talk to her about it- kept quiet. It was obvious she wasn't ready yet. Sam molded herself tightly against Jack's body and kissed him softly on the neck.

"I love you Jack O'Neill."

In the darkness Jack had allowed himself a small smile. At least Sam still loved him; she might not allow him to touch her at the moment, but knowing that she still loved him went a long ways towards making things better. There were no nightmares for either one of them that night.

The sound of a small splash snapped Jack back the here and now.

"Teal'c tells me there aren't any fish in here." Sam said picking up another small stone and throwing it into the water.

"I think I saw a carp last year, although it might have once been someone's personal pet." Jack countered with a smile. He hoped it wasn't his imagination- Sam DID look more relaxed up here. Jack was happy to see her lean legs again. The shorts might be walking shorts, but they flashing him a fair amount of thigh.

"Planning on doing a spot of fishing Sir?"

"Sir?!" Jack said with a frown. "You are SO not allowed to call me Sir while at this cabin!" He might have been worried if he hadn't seen Sam trying to hide a smile.

"Ahh, but I haven't shown you the inside of the cabin so you are forgiven." Now it was Sam's turn to be confused. What was Jack up too?

He opened the front door and pointed to a sign nailed to one of the rafters above their head. "Abandon Ranks all Ye Who Enter."

"Cute." Sam said with a grin.

"I thought so."

Jack continued showing Sam around the place. The cabin had begun its life as a small, single bedroom shack on a 10-acre lot. Over the years Jack had gutted and rebuilt the inside, added an additional floor that included two bedrooms and a second bathroom, and most recently built a rooftop deck. Taking Sam's hand, Jack helped her up the spiral staircase that ran up through a small loft/attic and onto the roof.

"To the north there is the Chippewa National Forest." Jack said pointing at the heavily forested land straight ahead. "And although you can't see it from here, Lake Superior is out there somewhere to the east."

"It's funny how different this really is than all those planets we tromp across. I don't know what it is Jack, but I can always tell when we're home. A planet might have nearly the same kind of Douglas Fir or Alder tree, but it just isn't home, ya know?" Sam took a deep breath of the fresh.

Jack nodded in agreement. "Yeah, I know." They stood there in quiet contemplation for several long moments before Jack suddenly snapped his fingers. "Be right back!" He ran down the stairs and returned with a rather large telescope. His telescope from home in fact. "And wait until you see the stars Sam! It's incredible the sheer number you can see out here!" Sam couldn't help but share Jack's enthusiasm. She smiled wholeheartedly alongside him.

"Can't wait!"

They brought in the rest of the groceries and luggage and Jack quickly shooed Sam out of the kitchen insisting he wanted to make her a meal on his own. Sam didn't put up much of a fight and quietly retreated to the living room where she wrapped herself in one of the afghan blankets lying around and curled up on the couch to read a book.

Jack poked his head out 40 minutes later to find Sam fast asleep. A book on wormhole physics lay on her stomach. Jack smiled as he put the cork back in the wine bottle and set the oven on low. Dinner could wait until later.

Sam woke up several hours later to find the sun had set and the local crickets putting on a symphony outside their cabin.

"Noisy aren't they?" Jack asked from across the room. He had just finished making a fire.

"How long was I out for?"

"Three hours."

"Jack! You should have woken me up!" Sam said irritated. "Now I'll never fall back to sleep."

Jack smiled at the image of Sam with her hair in disarray and faint pillow creases on her left cheek. "As your commanding officer, I thought you needed the sleep. And as a guy who loves you very much..." Jack shrugged nonchalantly. "I just liked watching you sleep." Sam blushed slightly and ran her fingers through her hair in an attempt to tame the 'bed head' look she was sure she had.

"Hungry?" Jack asked.

"Yeah, I think I am." Sam said surprising herself. She hadn't been eating too well and knew Janet had mentioned something to Jack. Sometimes it truly sucked having your CO be the guy your dating. A NORMAL boyfriend wouldn't have noticed her lack of appetite. And even if he had his suspicions, he wouldn't have known for sure because her doctor sure as hell wouldn't have mentioned it to him. Of course, a NORMAL boyfriend was something Samantha Carter hadn't experienced in over a decade. She shook her head in disbelief as she stood up and stretched. The nap had felt good.

They ate a slow and leisurely meal and then afterwards went for a walk along the lakeside. They couldn't see much, but the sounds of the forest at night were soothing. Later they made their way up to the roof and spent a good hour looking at stars and trying to figure out which ones they had visited. Jack was feeling pretty damn good about everything as they got ready for bed. He was a little bummed when Sam put on her silk pajamas, but couldn't help but smile as one of Sam's hands found its way under his t-shirt to rest atop his stomach. She idly played with the small patch of hair around his belly button. He might not be able to touch her yet, but she was beginning to touch him and that was a wonderful thing. There was one thing that troubled Jack however; although Sam's touch felt awfully nice, it really wasn't causing the reaction it normally did. Jack mentally shrugged and pulled his major tighter against his body. Definitely felt nice,

Both of them fell asleep rather quickly and for Jack O'Neill there were only sweet dreams. Unfortunately Sam wasn't so lucky. Her nightmare gripped her with such ferocity that she awoke shaking like a leaf with a scream lodged tight in her throat. Before Jack could offer any words of comfort she bolted from the bed to the bathroom and became violently ill. Jack was by her side in moments rubbing her back and whispering comforting words. He offered her a cool washcloth after she was done and stayed with her as she silently brushed her teeth and splashed water on her face. Together they returned to the bed but for the first time in five nights, Sam turned away from Jack and curled herself into a tight ball on the far edge of the mattress. She might have been physically only a few feet away but her body screamed at Jack to stay away. And he did.

The next morning Jack awoke before Sam and spent several long minutes watching her sleep. Sam lay on her right side with her knees bent and a pillow clasped tightly against her chest; she didn't look restful at all. Jack sighed quietly and ran a hand tenderly across her face. Sam murmured in her sleep but didn't wake up. Jack quietly left the bedroom and made his way towards the kitchen. He took his time brewing a fresh pot of coffee and mentally inventorying ingredients he would still need to pick up in town later that day. Coffee in hand Jack grabbed his cell phone and stepped out onto the front porch. The sun was just rising and the myriad of colors amongst the clouds always managed to leave him a little awe-struck. He sat on the swinging chair for several minutes debating whether or not to make the call. His concern over Sam won out over the potential backlash.

"Dr. Janet Frasier please." Jack said to the SGC switchboard operator.

Chapter 11

Standing in the airport luggage carousel area, Samantha Carter still hadn't decided if she was pissed as hell or deeply touched that her friends were coming up for a visit. Jack had been so crafty in broaching the topic that Sam was still reeling from the news. She glanced at her watch expectantly. The puddle-jumper with Janet, Cassie and Daniel should be landing soon. Sam hoped she had made the right decision in agreeing to their visit. Not that she didn't miss them or enjoy their company, it's just she was painfully aware of the underlying reason for it. Herself.

It wasn't often that Sam was affected so profoundly from a mission. She could feel the hysterical laughter bubbling up within her. **Yeah, but how many times have you been stripped naked and mauled by pygmy Goa'ulds? Usually the only time she lost her cool exterior was when one her teammates were injured or missing. And even then, it usually was handled quietly and in private. Unfortunately for everyone involved, she DID have a pattern. It wasn't a conscious decision or anything, but Sam almost always threw herself into her work (either to forget or try and find an answer) and she usually forgot to eat. That's just how she was. So why everyone was so concerned that she had dropped a pound or two was ludicrous! It wasn't as if all of this was a big surprise or anything; this was standard operating procedure when it came to Samantha Carter.

Sam sighed and sat down on one of the hard plastic chairs. She knew she wasn't quite being truthful here. This wasn't your normal SGC traumatic event, and never had it hit her so intimately. She knew Jack was worried- hell she was worried herself. Janet might think it was great that she was beginning to have nightmares, but Sam wasn't too sure. These nightmarish memories had been brutal. In the one last night, Temur had been the one who raped her and Jack had been forced to watch. God it had been so horrible! She had wanted to cry when Jack followed her into the bathroom that first night. Sam didn't remember a single word he had said but the tender act of just being there with her was nearly enough to break her heart. God she loved the man.

Sam swiped her eyes absently as she checked her watch for the third time. **Anytime now guys... Sam sat watching as another small planeload of passengers arrived to claim their luggage. Nope, didn't look like it was their plane. She ran a hand through her slightly longer than normal blonde hair and sighed. Jack had been so damn sly about all of this!

24 hours earlier

"Morning Sunshine!" A very chipper Colonel greeted her as she stepped into the divinely smelling kitchen.


"Homemade waffles actually." Jack said waving a small paring knife in the air. "With fresh strawberries and whipped cream. He wiggled his eyebrows at her suggestively.

Sam smiled as she sat down on a stool near the breakfast nook. "Sounds wonderful." She picked up the morning paper scanning for anything interesting to keep her occupied. Truthfully she wasn't all that hungry but she would make a gallant effort to try and eat some of the food being made for her.

"So..." Jack began glancing furtively at Sam as he poured some more batter into the waffle iron. "How'd you feel about a little more company up here?"

Sam looked up from the front page. "Jack?"

Jack turned and gave her a somewhat nervous look. "I'd like to say for the record that it isn't entirely my idea."

"Go on." Sam said crossing her arms across her chest.

"See, the Doc has the next three days off and wanted to take Cassie to Southern California for a little vacation. Cas wanted to see Disneyland before she got "too old" to enjoy it and the Doc was looking forward to the sunshine."

"But.." Sam began.

"El Nino." Jack said simply as he pulled out the now cooked waffle and placed it with the others in the oven to warm. He took another moment to pour Sam a fresh cup of coffee and placed it on the counter in front of her. He then leaned over and gave her a quick kiss on lips as he sat down on a stool next to her.

"Apparently Southern California is rather soggy right now. Record rains and cool temperatures. Since she and Cassie were going on a frequent flyer flight, CASSIE asked if they could go someplace else."

"Cassie, huh?"

"I swear to god Sam, Cassie asked if there were another place to go besides the wet pacific coast."

"Uh-huh." Sam blew on her coffee and took a small sip. Nirvana. Daniel had definitely showed Jack the finer points to brewing a good cup of coffee.

"And that's when Janet asked Cassie about coming up to the cabin." Sam just gave him a look and Jack rushed on before she could say anything. "You know how Cassie has always wanted to come up here. Heck, I was planning on using the kid at some point as a way to get you up here. But seeing as THAT'S not necessary any longer..."

"So did Janet ask to bring Cassie up before or after you called her Jack O'Neill?"

Uh oh. Maybe he wasn't as crafty as he thought- Sam was good.

Jack looked at her sheepishly. "After." He admitted. Sam took another sip of the coffee and audibly sighed.

"Jack, am I that much of a basket case that you need Janet's help?" Sam sounded hurt.

"No!" Jack said forcibly setting down his coffee cup a little too hard. "You are NOT a basket case." He said adamantly. He placed both hands on Sam's knees. "But I AM worried about you Sam. When SG-1 gets cleared for our next mission, I want you there to watch my back. But that's not going to happen until you start to come to terms with what happened on '415."

"I HAVE come to terms with what happened on that god-forsaken planet!" Sam yelled standing up. "It was a fucking gang-bang Jack! With you doing all the banging and everyone else just drooling on the sidelines! I have NEVER been so mortified about anything in my entire life!" Sam suddenly realized she was shouting. Loudly. At the one guy who really didn't deserve to be shouted at. She quietly sat back down. "Never." She whispered.

Jack did his best to swallow the large lump in his throat and not show how shaken Sam's words had made him. It was the first time she had shown anger and while logically Jack knew this was a good thing, inside he was cringing and already piling the blame heavily on himself.

"Remember what Hammond said?" Jack said in a hoarse voice. He cleared his throat. "We won't be cleared for duty until we talk to someone and that's not going to happen unless we make the effort to actually see folks other than ourselves." He took one of Sam's slightly shaking hands in his own.

"We will get through this Sam and you are probably the strongest individual I have EVER met. But we both could use a little help here. Janet offered and I accepted. Although I did say I needed to discuss it with you first." He looked at her expectantly with those big chocolate brown eyes of his. As if Sam honestly had a chance of saying no to him.

"Ok." Sam whispered.

"Janet and Cassie can come?" Sam nodded. Jack squeezed her hand. Sam looked at this man who cared for her so much through moist eyes. She leaned over and placed a tender kiss on his lips.

"You mentioned breakfast?"

"Coming right up m'lady!" Jack said standing up with an audible click of his knees. As if remembering something, Jack suddenly turned back around and grinned cheekily at Sam.

"So how'd you feel about Danny coming up and joining this party as well?"

Sam could do nothing but roll her eyes. "Wouldn't be a party without Daniel." With that she picked up her coffee and began to read about the latest Washington scandal.


"Sam!" Cassie said wrapping herself around Sam's waist. Sam bent down and hugged her favorite-orphaned alien back. She gave her a huge smile. "It's great to see you Cassie."

"Cassandra!" Her mother admonished kindly coming up behind the pair. "Give Sam some space to breathe now, ok?"

"I'm fine Janet." Sam said standing up. Over Janet's head, Sam could see a very disorganized archaeologist approaching them. "Hey Daniel."

"Sam! Please tell me they have decent coffee in this town." Daniel said somewhat breathlessly dropping his shoulder bag heavily on the ground.

"He's been suffering from withdrawal symptoms for the last four hours." Janet whispered conspicuously."I never quite realized the extent of his addiction before." Sam laughed out loud. "Somehow Janet, I doubt that."

"Hey, I heard that. It wasn't my idea to leave so darn early."

"Daniel, you were late, which is why we didn't have time to stop at Starbuck's before catching the flight." Daniel muttered something under his breath as he looked around hopefully for an espresso stand. Why couldn't Jack's cabin be in some place civilized, like say- Seattle?

"Worry not Daniel, you have taught Jack well and a freshly brewed pot of Italian Roast is waiting for you back at the cabin."

"Thank the non snake infested gods." Daniel said happily as he awkwardly picked up his bag using his left hand. "What are we waiting for? Let's head it out!"

"Is he like this off-world?" Janet asked linking one of her arms through Sam's.

"Jan, you have NO idea."

Jack had indeed cooked up a feast in the 90 minutes that Sam had been gone. Daniel of course paid no mind to the freshly grilled steaks or potato salad and went straight for the aromatic beverage perched on the edge of the counter.

"Just poured Daniel." Jack said smiling. Daniel was such a clich when it came to coffee.

"Thanks Jack." Daniel said blissfully breathing in the heady smell. Never did he so desire a second hand in order to bring the heavenly smelling liquid to his lips. Why'd Janet have to be here! It's much easier to break a few 'Doctor's Orders' (like keeping his shoulder immobilized in a sling) when the doctor in question isn't standing right behind you! He groaned appreciatively as he took his first careful sip. Jack resisted the urge to cover Cassie's ears. Geesh Daniel- get a room!

"Colonel Jack!"

"Heya Cassie-o-pia!" Jack said swinging the not so small teenager in a small circle. Another couple of months tops and his child swinging days would be over.

"Colonel, stop that!" Janet said absently going into doctor mode as Jack lowered the dizzy girl to the ground. "You still have some tender ribs and rough housing with a 95 pound child is not..."

"I am NOT a child." Cassie interrupted glaring at the adults present and hastily scrambling to her feet.

Jack laughed. "I'll be good Doctor, promise." He offered Cassie a hand up. "And you are definitely not a child anymore Cass. Just remember that all perspective dates have to be approved by me, ok?" Cassie nodded trying not to blush.

"Lunch is about to be served, but first I think everyone needs to see this great sign I have hanging over my front door...."

Chapter 12

Cassie could scarcely sit through lunch she was so anxious to explore the area. Throughout the meal she would ask Jack questions about the lake and the surrounding area.

"Done!" She declared setting down her fork and standing up. "Can I go now?"

"Cassandra!" Janet Frasier said crossly. "Sit back down and wait for everyone else to finish." Janet was embarrassed. Cassie wasn't usually this rude (or quick) at home. She opened her mouth to say something more only to close it again in perplexity. All three members of SG-1 were smiling. Or rather trying hard NOT to smile.

"Someone was to fill me in on the joke?" Janet asked.

"Remind you of anyone?" Jack asked turning towards Sam.

"Hmmm. Let me think? Teal'c perhaps?"

"Very funny guys." Daniel said not enjoying himself so much anymore.

Sam turned to Janet and Cassie and explained. "When Jack, Teal'c, and I go off-world with Daniel, he sometimes get a little, uh.. energetic about what he finds."

"Danny goes nuts over rocks and buildings." The Colonel added. Seeing Daniel's look of annoyance he held up his hands to waive off any complaints and added, "In a good way I mean."

"The Colonel often has to force him to sit with us in order to eat, which Daniel does. But often he'll eat as quickly as possible and then stand up and announce that he's done and would someone PLEASE escort him back to the work site."

"I'll have you know that I haven't done anything like that in a good 6 months." Daniel said matter-of-factly.

"You're forgetting last month so quickly Danny?"

"What? I don't remember any gulping of food..."

"No, but what about the evening I told you lights out and you continued to read?"

"That's right!" Jack, that was dam..darn mean of you to do!" Daniel said wrinkling his nose. "And how'd you manage to sabotage my flashlight anyhow?"

"Took out the batteries and replaced them with rocks while you were on watch." Jack said smugly. Daniel could do nothing but glare back at his best friend. One day Jack O'Neill...

"Cool." Cassie said following the ping-pong conversation of her favorite team. "If you're comparing me to Daniel, than that is a compliment." Cassie said sweetly. "Everyone knows that Daniel is very clever and smart and I can only hope to emulate him one day."

"Emulate?" Jack mouthed to Janet.

"SAT word." Janet mouthed back before turning towards her daughter.

"You're right honey, Daniel is very clever and if you study really hard, I bet you'll be just as smart." She lowered her voice slightly and added, "hopefully not as accident prone; but just as smart."

"Hey.." Daniel began trying hard not to take it TOO personally. After all they WERE calling him smart. Before he could open his mouth for another retort Sam jumped in.

"I've also finished Cass, so why don't I go on a walk around the area with you?" Both Janet and Jack frowned slightly. Sam hadn't eaten very much dinner.

"You want any company?" Jack asked in what he hoped was a very nonchalant sounding voice. Sam of course saw right through it.

"We'll be fine Jack." Sam said fixing him with a decidedly pointed stare. "Right, Cass?"

"Absolutely Sam! I'll just get my coat!" And with that Cassie bounded up the stairs.

"Pretty boring living with a 15 year old isn't it Doc?" Jack asked.

"Oh yeah." Janet said helping herself to one of Jack's yet unopened beers.

Cassie was having fun. Not only was the forest around the lake 'cool' but she was enjoying the one-on-one time spent with her second favorite person in the whole universe. The pair tramped over 100 year old logs and examined the various plants and small animals living in/on the trees.

"The squirrels here look different." Cassie announced, suddenly stopping to a complete standstill.

Sam took a moment to examine a squirrel frozen in fear just 10 feet away. She snapped her fingers in memory. "Their ears!" Cassie gave her a 'huh?' look. Sam smiled as she explained. "The further north you go on the planet the more extreme examples you can see of evolutionary adaptation. Towards the south, squirrels have quite rounded little ears. Where we live they are slightly pointed and up here they are EXTREMELY pointed. See?"

Cassie nodded and then sat down on a log and burst out laughing. "Sam, who IS smarter? You or Daniel?"

Sam sat down next to her and considered the question for a long moment. "I am pretty certain Daniel and I are quite similar in our IQ's, but we are both smart in very different ways Cass."

"Yeah, I know. I'm just thinking about a question we had at school. If trapped on a desert island, who or what would you take with you. My class laughed at me when I blurted out SG-1 without thinking." Sam blanched a little at that admission. Cassie saw her face and quickly set her fears to rest.

"I told everyone that was the name of the rescue team who found me in that abandoned house up in Toronto. Since I won't talk AT ALL about life before my 11th birthday, everyone is pretty certain I had an absolutely horrid childhood. So by mentioning Toronto, everyone just shut up."

"I'm sorry you can't talk about the past with your friends Cass." Sam said putting her arm around the younger woman.

"It's ok Sam. After four years, I'm kind of used to it." They sat in the forest for several long moments in comfortable silence.

"Are you o.k. Sam?" Cass asked carefully, uncertainty lacing every word.

Sam sighed. Of course Cassie had been told at least a little about what to expect. After all, the last Jan had heard, I was waking up in the middle of the night to either puke or scream. Not exactly healthy and something you should worn a child about.

"I will be Cass." Sam said with more confidence than she felt. "What did your mom tell you?"

"Just that SG-1 got hurt on a mission." She paused and then gave Sam a cheeky grin. "AGAIN. But that this time you and Colonel Jack needed a little more support from your friends in order to recover." Cassie turned to face Sam and took a deep breath.

"Were you and the Colonel badly hurt Sam? I mean, you kinda don't look well, but it isn't like you're in a cast or hooked up to machines or anything. When I asked mom what happened she said she couldn't tell me." Cassie raised a hand haphazardly in the air. "Something about doctor/patient confidentiality."

Sam didn't know what to say. Not that she would EVER tell Cass the truth, but she did deserve to know a little something more.

"I'm ok physically Cass- it's just that something really bad happened to me psychologically on our last mission and I am having a hard time dealing with it. Which is stupid really because in actuality it boils down to extreme embarrassment and not much more."

"Did that 'bad thing' also give you a bruised cheek?" Cassie was by no means stupid. She might not be Sam or Daniel's league but she was right up there with her mom as far as common sense and natural intelligence comes in.

Sam rubbed her cheek absently. "Yeah." Again they lapsed into silence.

"Did I ever tell you about my first few weeks at the new school here on Earth?" Sam nodded.

"You didn't tell us a lot Cass, and we figured much of that had to do with the shock of being on a new planet with different customs. I remember you were excited the first couple of days and then quiet for a couple of weeks before bouncing back and talking non-stop about your teachers and friends."

Cassie nodded, that sounded about right. "Did I ever mention Jeffrey?" Sam shook her head. Jeffrey? Who the hell was Jeffrey?

"Those first few weeks were really tough, Sam and I think I tried harder than I would have normally because I didn't want to disappoint all of you."

"Oh Cassie!" Sam said hugging the girl close. "You would NEVER disappoint us. Ever."

"I know that NOW." Cass said with the arrogance of a young teenager. "But then, I wasn't so sure. So there I was in the 6th grade trying to make new friends. We didn't have anything like school playgrounds back on Hanka and so here on Earth, I could always be found playing on the bars at recess. I got quite good at doing penny drops and even..." Cassie lowered her voice "death drops."

"Cassie! Those are dangerous!" Sam remembered watching her friends hanging from their knees from single bars 6 feet off the ground. They would swing themselves back and forth to gain momentum before releasing their legs and (hopefully) landing on their feet. The REAL gutsy ones would sit on the top of the bars and just fall back and do a partial somersault in the air before attempting to land on their feet. She shuddered at the memory.

"No recesses anymore Sam, you can stop worrying." Cassie said grinning at her friend for a moment. She suddenly got more serious. "Most of the time all the girls played on the bars and the guys out in the sports fields. We never really gave them much notice and we were always flipping around in skirts and such.

Well, thar first Friday at school happened to be my mom's birthday. Um, my real mom that is.. and I was missing her like crazy that morning." Sam gave her a look of concern and sadness. Cassie returned the look with a slight shrug and a look of "it's ok, I'm ok, so stop looking at me like I'm made of glass." Sam could relate to that feeling so she gestured at Cass to continue.

"That day I wore a pair of-what did you call them? Knickers. I wore a pair of knickers my mother had made me for the year before. They were underneath my robe when you and the rest of SG-1 found me. They are really pretty Sam- lots of handmade lace and really soft fabric that shimmers and nearly changes color in the sunshine. There actually isn't anything like it here on Earth.

So I was wearing these knickers and hanging upside down when a gang of boys decided to pay the upper playground a visit. They saw me hanging there with my kickers showing and totally lit into me for my funny underwear. Their ringleader was a guy named Jeffrey. He was the first bully I had ever met and I'm afraid he hurt my feelings quite a bit those first couple of weeks. I just wanted to curl up and disappear. He made fun of my knickers and called me names. And if that wasn't enough, he began to make fun of my mother when I had told him in a fit of anger that she had made them for me. For the next couple of weeks he would use any occasion at all to bring up my strange looking knickers and how I must have freaks for relatives." She paused as if to consider her words more carefully. "I wanted to hurt him Sam. I wanted to hurt him like he was hurting me. But I didn't know how." Cassie gave a sigh lost in the memories of a tortured little girl.

"But then came gym class!" She said perking up. "To this day I do NOT understand the rationale behind teaching 12 year olds the finer skills of wrestling but that is what we were learning. The thing is, wrestling is actually very similar to a game I used to play with my father's brother's sons back home." Cass knew the word for cousins of course, but that wasn't what they were called back home, so she felt strange giving them the name 'cousin' here on earth.

"I was really quite good at the game and would often beat my much older and stronger relatives. Never the less, I was quite surprised when the P.E. teacher teamed me up with Jeffrey. At first I was quite nervous and scared but then Jeffrey started in once again on my knickers and I just lost it."

"Lost it?" Sam asked a little fearfully.

"Yep, lost it. I had Jeff pinned to the mat in under 5 seconds. In a very painful position. He couldn't believe it and asked for a rematch. Again I beat him very quickly. This happened three times and in the end I had him pinned with the right side of his face pressed tightly into the mat and me on top of his back. And that's when I whispered to him that he was NEVER to mention my mother or the knickers ever again or I would kick his ass."

"Oh no! Cassie, please tell me you didn't pick up that phrase from Jack!"

"It might have been the t.v..." Sam just shook her head. Would he ever learn?

"I then let him up and sat back and watched as he painfully got to his feet and eyed me wearily. The thing was Sam, he KNEW I was better than him in this. He KNEW that I could and WOULD kick his ass and yet I was 'letting him go.' Something he most definitely hadn't done with me."

"Did it make you feel better?" Sam asked in a quiet voice. The story was eerily familiar.

"Knowing I COULD embarrass and hurt him made all the difference Sam. Yes he hurt me earlier but knowing that I held all the power then somehow made everything ok again. That and I realized that the folks who were making fun of me weren't my friends. They weren't people I even respected so what the heck should I care if they thought me strange? By the end of the week I realized that I had a lot more friends than I had previously thought and that Jeffrey and his friends couldn't hurt me anymore."

Sam sat stunned on the fallen log thinking about what Cass had said. Cassie looked apprehensive and was unsure why that story seemed to be affecting Sam so much.

"You ready to head back?" Cass asked tentatively.

"Yeah, I think I am." Sam said nodding to herself as she stood up and swiped the seat of her pants to get rid of the excess dirt and moss. They walked most of the 1 1/2 miles in silence.

"Thank you Cassie." Sam said sincerely as they approached Jack's cabin.

"For what?" Cassie asked utterly perplexed.

"For reminding me about what it means to be human."

Chapter 13

The cabin was completely silent as Sam and Cassie made their way inside. It didn't take long to see why. Jack and Daniel sat deep in thought at the kitchen table staring at rather nice looking chessboard, while Janet sat curled in the corner of the couch reading a book.

"This could be a Norman Rockwell painting." Sam mumbled under her breath.

"Hi you two!" Janet said looking up from her book. "How was your walk?"

"It was really great mom." Cassie said plopping down next to Janet. "Did you know northern squirrels have pointy ears?"

Janet looked at Sam curiously and shook her head. "No, I can't say I ever knew that honey."

Sam walked over to the kitchen table and stared down at the chess set. It looked to be a pretty evenly matched game. For all of Jack's self-deprecation, he was actually a pretty damn smart guy and REALLY good at strategy games. Which made sense really, after all he IS a Colonel in the United States Air Force.

Jack nodded to himself as he took Daniel's rook. With luck, he'd be able to get the queen in just two more moves.

"Hey Sam!" Jack said smiling as he stood up to stretch. They had been hunched over the board for nearly two hours now. Without even thinking he took a step towards her and casually leaned over and gave her a small kiss on the lips. Sam could feel the smile on his lips as he whispered into her ear, "If we make out in front of Daniel, I'll bet he'll lose his concentration." To Sam's astonishment she laughed. Both Daniel and Janet stared at her as if she had grown a second head.

"I heard that." Daniel muttered, continuing to examine the board. "Considering the amount of flirting I have witnessed over the years, there isn't too much you two can do to distract me." He picked up his knight and smiled wickedly at Jack. "Check."

"What?!" Jack quickly sat back down and began cursing under his breath. How could he have missed that??"

Sam smiled as she absently touched her lips. Jack had just kissed her. And she felt OK about that. It just felt so normal. Perhaps everything could just go back to the way it was. Before. Unfortunately just thinking about that planet and the khans caused Sam's stomach to turn in a most unsettling manner. Or maybe not.

"Do I have time to take a bath before dinner?" Sam asked, directing her question at the chessboard as both Jack and Daniel seemed to only have eyes for black and white squares at the moment.

"Yup." Jack said still looking at the board. A few months ago Jack would have teased Sam relentlessly about her fondness for baths, but now he was used to it. Who would have thought that Dr. Major Samantha Carter loved nothing more than a nice long soak? He had been so surprised that first time they had gone home together after a mission. No sooner had they walked through the front door, than Sam had announced she was taking a bath. Apparently she adored baths. And as subsequent research had proven, she wasn't above sharing them with others either. Jack shook his head. * Focus O'Neill. Focus.*

"I think there's some of that bubble stuff you like under the sink." Jack yelled as Sam headed up the stairs. Sam was just glad her back was turned away from her friends. It was one thing for everyone to know she took baths, quite another to know that she likes bubbles as well.

Sam had sat in the bathtub for nearly 40 minutes thinking about what Cassie had said. Thinking about the mission and Jack and the perverted Goa'ulds that had caused all this in the first place. She was both relaxed and agitated all at the same time. She sighed as she pulled the plug on the bath and stepped onto the cold tiled floor. Jack really needed a bathmat.

Sam had just finished putting on a pair of sweatpants when she heard the tentative knock on the door. Quickly she donned a tank top. "Almost done." She yelled.

"Sam? Can I come in?" Janet asked. Sam took a quick glance at herself in the partially fogged mirror. She still looked like shit. Sighing she opened the door.

"Jan, do you have to play doctor here as well?" Sam asked peevishly as she sat down on the toilet seat. She wasn't surprised to see her friend carrying a rather large bag over her shoulder. A doctor's bag no doubt.

"Sorry Sam." Janet said closing the door behind her. "If it makes you feel any better, I did the same thing to the Colonel before I allowed him to start the chess match with Daniel."


Janet nodded. "Really." Janet sat on the edge of the bathtub and opened up the bag she was carrying. She pulled out a blood pressure cuff and a rather heavy looking rectangular object. She set it down on the ground with an audible 'clunk.'

"Janet you didn't." Sam said in amazement.

"Yep. Might as well get it over with Sam." Sam stood up shaking her head in disbelief. Janet had brought a bloody scale up to the cabin. A scale! It was quite compact with just enough space for Sam to place her feet. She looked down but was unable to read the numbers. Maybe this scale was invented for annoying doctors who made house calls.

Janet sighed as she jotted down the number. "Well, it IS better than I had imagined, but not good enough if you ask me." Sam just rolled her eyes as she stepped of the scale and sat back down on the closed toilet seat.

"You're at 137 Sam. That's 1 pound less than 3 days ago and 3 pounds less than when you left on that mission 5 days ago." Janet said putting her hand on Sam's knee.

"When you joined the SGC Sam, you weighed 145 pounds. Which is the perfect weight for a woman of your height with medium sized bones and good muscularity. You're supposed to GAIN weight as you get older Sam, not lose it!"

"It's not like I'm losing it on purpose Jan." Sam said sullenly.

"I know Sam. It's just that ever since.." Janet paused. "Edora, we have never been able to get you back to your optimum weight.

"I am NOT that thin Jan."

"No Sam, you aren't. Thank god. And if I have any say in the matter, you never will be again. Sam, you dropped 15 pounds in 3 months. Hell, if the Colonel hadn't come home when he did, I was about ready to poke you with a glucose drip and force feed you Ensure until you gained weight!"

"But he DID come home."

"Yes, he did. And it still took you nearly 6 months to get back up to 140 pounds. And that seems to be where you hover these days."

"So? 140 is within acceptable limits."

"Barely. But you're right, it is. But I know you Sam, and I also know why you don't eat."

"You know nothing Janet!" Sam yelled standing up angrily. "You have no idea what it's like being in the field and fighting for your life and the life of this planet on a near weekly basis. You have no idea what it's like to have a Goa'uld in your body or a ribbon device pressed against your head!" Sam was nearly crying now.

"You have no idea what it's like to have 200 year old snakes pawing at you and touching you intimately.." Tears were running down Sam's face as she lost the battle to quell the nausea forming in her stomach. "Dammit!" She hissed as once again her body betrayed her and she doubled over in pain as a violent heave leapt through her throat. Quickly she yanked up the toilet seat as she retched loudly into the toilet. Her body felt like it was on fire as she shook her head slightly, trying to rid her body of what little remaining within. Having only eaten a light lunch, there was nothing left to bring up except bitter tasting bile. She heaved several more times before her stomach finally quelled.

"Dammit." Sam whispered in tears as she closed the toilet seat. Silently she flushed the toilet and rinsed out her mouth before sinking heavily to the ground.

Janet squatted down next to her and gently rubbed her back. "You OK?" she whispered.

"Do I LOOK ok Janet?" Sam said glancing up at her friend. Janet was prevented from answering by a knock on the door.

"Sam? You ok?" Sam started crying again silently. Jack sounded so worried and concerned about her! How could he possibly trust her in the field again when it seemed all she did these days was cry and throw up?

"She'll be all right Colonel." Janet Frasier answered calmly as she tried to console her best friend.

"Should I come in Doc?" Jack asked in a worried voice.

"No, we'll be fine Colonel. We'll both be down for dinner in a little bit, ok?"

"Ok." Jack said placing his fingertips lightly on the bathroom door. He took a step away before turning around and leaning his head onto the frame. "I love you Sam." He whispered. Moments later he was heading down the stairs.

In the bathroom Sam continued to cry.

"Dammit Janet, this doesn't make any sense!" Sam said angrily wiping her eyes. "I was doing fine. I had a damn nice day and a really good talk with Cassie that I actually think HELPED!" She stood up and began pacing around the small bathroom.

"Contrary to what you just heard, I love my job and really and truly understand that occasionally I am going to get knocked around. Goa'ulds, ribbon devices, impossible situations that we manage to walk away from-this is my life Janet and I wouldn't have it any other way."

"So why the hell did I just throw up. AGAIN!" Sam hit the side of the wall angrily with her open palm.

"Sam, beating the hell out of a wall isn't going to help matters."

"Well then what is Janet?" Sam said turning to face her friend. "What is going to help? I am so sick and tired of feeling this way! It just isn't... " Sam paused carefully considering her words. It just isn't me."

"Time." Janet said simply. Sam let her feelings known on the matter by snorting.

"Sam, whether YOU want to be believe it or not, what happened on '415 was damn traumatic. Pretending you can make it all better in the span of 5 days isn't going to happen." Janet took a deep breath and looked her friend straight in the eye.

"From what I can see, you seem to make yourself sick when you think about the khans right?"

Sam's stomach gave a disquieting lurch at the words. "Right."


"Why?!" Janet, isn't that what you are supposed to tell me!"

"So I'm asking you. Why Sam?"

"Why do I get nauseous every time I think about that damn planet?"


"Because it was horrible ok?! Because I had by far the WORST 'gate experience EVER and there isn't a way to make it go away. And I just can't fix it and make it go away."

"Fix it?" Janet asked raising an eyebrow.

"Yes." Sam said softly.

"How would you fix it Sam?"

"Besides building a time machine and changing the past?" Sam said running a hand through her hair and sitting back down on the toilet.

"I would go back to that place and kick their collective asses."

"How?" Janet asked.

Sam laughed without humor. "If you had asked me that yesterday I would have told you that if I ever saw Temur again I would calmly walk up to him, slit his throat and then sit down a few feet away and watch him bleed to death. And I would have enjoyed it Janet." Sam said shuddering at the thought.

"But now?"

Sam let out a shaky breath. "Now I think that's something HE would do. Murder isn't really my thing."

"So what would you do Sam?"

"I don't know Janet." Sam said suddenly incredibly tired. "But I sure as hell would like to find out."

"Sam, I'm a medical doctor and don't pretend to know much about psychology. But I have a funny feeling this last mission of yours was the first that went awry that you just couldn't fix." Janet held up a hand as Sam started to protest.

"Sure you've had missions that have fallen apart and gone horribly wrong but always there were mitigating circumstances. Others were ultimately responsible or there were mitigating circumstances. And these circumstances never revolved around you in such a manner. This is what you can't fix Sam. And this is what you need to accept." Janet gave her friend one last slap on the knee as she stood up.

"The boys are definitely cooking something wonderful downstairs don't you think?"

Sam sniffed the air uncertainly and had to agree- something smelled delicious.

"Let's go eat Sam. And afterwards, I'd like you to take a light sedative and get some sleep, ok?"

"Will it keep the nightmares away?" Sam asked plainly standing up beside her friend. Enough with this weak woman shit. Sam wanted to move on.

"No, but I think you have what it takes to keep them away Sam." And with that Janet opened the door and headed down the stairs. Sam stared at her retreating figure for several long seconds before following her down. Maybe she was right.

Chapter 15

Jack sat on the rooftop deck silently drinking a beer and staring at the stars. Sam had quietly headed up to the bedroom after dinner with the intention of reading for a bit before going to bed. Jack had checked on her a half hour later and she was out like a light. He hoped whatever meds Janet had given her were good ones. If his memory served, the little blue ones worked quite well. Kept the nightmares at bay too.

He took another swig of beer as he heard the telltale noises of Daniel trying to climb the ladder in the dark. He smiled slightly in the darkness and made a mental note to stash a pair of night vision goggles in Daniel's bag the next time they went off world. Quiet was something Daniel was most definitely NOT.

"Daniel." Jack said tipping his beer in his friend's direction as he watched the darkened form maneuvering up the ladder. Suddenly Jack remembered Daniel's banged up shoulder and quickly got up out of his chair and ran to help his friend.

"Thanks Jack!" Daniel said breathlessly accepting Jack's offered hand. "You know they have this wonderful new invention called 'handrails'...."

"Maybe next year." Jack said with a smile. "Danny, what are you doing climbing up here with only one good arm? Does Doc know where you are?"

"Geeze Jack, you'd think I was 10 years old or something." Daniel said reaching into his coat pockets and pulling out two cold bottles of beer. Aha! THAT was what was making so much noise.

"You didn't tell her." Jack said smugly accepting one of the offered beers.

"I snuck out while she was tucking Cassie in."

"Very sneaky Dr. Jackson. Thanks for the beer!" Jack said finishing his current beer in one last gulp. "I was just thinking about getting another." Popping the bottle open, Jack motioned for Daniel to take a seat.

"These things safe?" Daniel asked dubiously lowering himself onto the mesh seat.

"They're just lawn chairs Danny."

"FLIMSY lawn chairs." Daniel corrected.

"Sam still sleeping?" He had been on the roof for over an hour and knew his friends would be checking on her in his absence.

"Out like a light." Daniel said struggling to twist off the cap of his beer. Jack handed him his beer and efficiently popped the cap off the second one before taking a swig.

"Show off." Daniel muttered taking a sip of his own beer. They sat in comfortable silence staring at the stars.

"Sam says only about 1/4 of the planets we've visited are visible from Earth." Jack said idly looking up at the dazzling array of stars. Sensing Daniel about to object, Jack quickly corrected himself. "1/4 of the planet's STARS are visible from Earth. I'm not a complete idiot y'know." Jack said taking another large swallow of beer.

"Actually Jack, you're one of the smartest guys I know." Daniel said with complete sincerity.

"Puh-leeze Daniel! I'm the guy who has been known to nod off during a mission briefing due to my inability to follow what you or Carter are saying!"

"Not THAT kind of smart Jack." Daniel said with a grin. "You find our briefings boring?"

"Not boring so much as.. well, yes. Sometimes they are mind-numbingly boring. There. Happy?" Jack took another drink before turning back to Daniel. "Wait! You just said I was smart."

"Yep." Daniel couldn't help but smile again. "Cass, was telling me about playing "What Would You Do" scenarios with her class last week. Apparently she let it slip out that if she were trapped on a desert island she'd want to have SG-1 with her. She quickly recovered with some silly explanation as to what SG-1 stood for, but that got me to thinking."

"You? Think? Shocking!"

"ANYWAY, that got me to thinking about possible scenarios and what I might want with me. Be it a camera that would never break or get ruined when the unexpected monsoon hits, or boots that would never leak. But each time I thought of some fantastical contraption, I would of course have to think of the scenario that would require the need for the said contraption. And that would inevitably bring me back to some of SG-1's most memorable missions."

"Definitely had a few of those."

"Exactly. And that's when I realized that my answer to the 'What would you bring with you?' would be nearly the same as Cassie's. So while I would love to have all of SG-1 with me if ever I got into trouble..."

"You? Trouble?"

Daniel continued without missing a beat. "I'd have to say if there was only one person I could take with me, it would be you Jack."

"Daniel, that's ridiculous!" Jack said angrily finishing off his beer. "Yeah, I might be ok at some stuff, but it's Carter that can 'MacGyver' just about anything electrical and Teal'c's way better at fighting multiples Jaffas. Hell, all I seem to do these days is get all you guys into trouble." Jack was feeling very sorry for himself at the moment.

"Bullshit Jack! You are always the one that keeps us alive and clear-headed when the shit hits the fan. It's always you Jack."

Jack laughed bitterly. "Yep. And it's usually me that gets us into the messes in the first place."

"Is that what you think happened on '415 Jack?"

**Shit. Jack had almost forgotten why Daniel must have come out here. To talk. About that damned mission. Shit.

"Yes Daniel I do." Jack said very slowly looking at his friend with deadly serious eyes.

Daniel sighed audibly and set down his beer. "Jack, what could you have possibly done different?"

"Turned around as soon as Teal'c and Carter mentioned feeling 'off'."

"That wasn't a good enough reason to scrub a mission and you know it. So I'm asking you Jack, what could you have possibly done different?"

"We shouldn't have been captured so easily."

"Jack, we must have entered at least 50 temples EXACTLY like we did last week. 9 times out of 10 it works just fine. Teal'c's there to fend off any bad guys coming at us from the outside and you and Sam surround me like a pack of mamma wolves, ready to shoot anything that moves. This is what we do and this is what works."

"It didn't work last week, now did it Danny?

"No it didn't Jack. But thinking it was your fault is ridiculous. Because it wasn't. They literally came at us through the walls! It was completely unexpected and it's NOT YOUR FAULT!

"Are you finished?" Jack asked in a dangerously low voice.

"Probably not." Daniel said in a resigned voice. "But go ahead and rebut."

Jack stood up abruptly and began pacing around the small roof. "I am a Colonel in the United States Air force and the Commanding Officer of SG-1, Daniel. This is who I am and what I do. I am TRAINED to handle the unexpected and it is my JOB to make sure nothing bad happens to those under me. Daniel, It IS my responsibility when the shit hits the fan." Jack stopped pacing and stared out onto the darkened forest. "It is my fault Sam is so traumatized." His voice was barely above a whisper and filled with self-loathing.

Daniel stood up and walked over to his friend, desperately wanting to give him a hug, but knowing Jack wouldn't. He took another step closer to Jack and reached out his arm to give his friend a gently squeeze on the shoulder.

"Whether you believe it or not Jack, it wasn't your fault. From what I was told, you actually saved my life. The decision you and Sam made- well it probably saved all our lives. I sincerely doubt they would have let us go had you not agreed. Most likely they would have kept Sam for a little while, but the rest of us were definitely expendable. And as horrible as it must have been for Sam, she at least had you there." Jack stiffened noticeably at Daniel's last words.

"Yes Jack, your being there definitely helped Sam and this is something you have just got to believe. Can you imagine how much worse it would have been had she been..." Daniel licked his lips and tried to swallow the dryness in his mouth. "How much worse it would have been had she been forced to be with me or Teal'c?"

Daniel laughed self-depreciatively without humor. "Hell Jack, you would have two very screwed up members of your team to deal with. Three, if we counted you. And most likely you would have been just as messed up as me or Sam."

"Jack, no one is saying that what happened to you and Sam wasn't an utterly horrible, humiliating experience. But all of us made it home and given time, all of us are going to be fine. We've been through worse Jack, and you know it."

"Sam hasn't." Jack whispered.

"Yes Jack, Sam has." Jack whipped his head around faster than Daniel could have thought possible.

"Explain." There was that deadly black ops stare again. Scary thing, really.

"I guarantee that if you were to ask Sam to list some of her worst memories associated with the Stargate program, the things that really affected her in the most detrimental way- she'd list things like the sitting helplessly back at the SGC while you and Teal'c were trapped in that glider and running out of air, or one of my many supposed deaths. Or maybe those horrible three months while you were on Edora. THESE are what Sam fears.

I'm not saying that being sexually assaulted by Goa'ulds is ever going to be an easy memory for Sam. But she is a hell of a lot stronger than this Jack, and she will get over it." Both men stood staring out over the edge of the roof for several long moments.

Jack shook his head slightly as he turned around to face his friend. "When did you get to be so smart Daniel?"

"I learned from the best Jack." Daniel said with a soft smile. "I learned from the best."

After helping Daniel back down the ladder and promising he would head back inside soon, Jack surreptitiously grabbed himself another beer and headed back up to the deck. He still had a spot of thinking to do.

Logically he knew that Daniel was right. Well, mostly right. But he also knew that he WAS ultimately responsible for Sam's condition. A condition he really needed to know more about if he was going to try and help her.

Jack heard the sound of a woman's soft swearing and looked down to see on Dr. Janet Fraiser climbing up the ladder. **A regular Grand Central tonight.

"Handrails would be nice Colonel." Janet said as she climbed over the last step.

"So I hear. What brings you up to my neck of the woods Doc?"

"Just wanted to see the stars Sir."

"Ah-ah-ah! No ranks, remember? Cut the Sir Janet. Its just Jack?"

"Habit." Janet said succinctly popping off the top of a beer she had brought with her. Seeing Jack's fallen face, she reached into her coat pocket and with a flourish pulled out another one.

"Sweet!" Jack said happily accepting the gift. "A guy could get used to this."

Together they sat down in Jack's rooftop lawn chairs and looked out onto the night sky.

"Sam?" Jack asked not needing to explain what he meant.

"Still sleeping peacefully. She should be out cold until morning."

"Did ya give her the blue ones?" Janet looked at him curiously. "Yes I did actually. Why?"

"Good for keeping the nightmares away." Jack said simply. Janet nodded her head. Yes, that was indeed a side effect of the narcotic.

Jack took another large swallow of his beer and let out a sigh. "Janet, I know all about doctor-patient confidentiality but can you at least tell me if Sam is going to be ok?"

"She's going to be ok Jack." Janet said gently giving Jack's free hand a light squeeze.

"She's not pregnant is she?" Jack asked very quickly in a rush of words. Janet laughed. Had this been on Jack's mind all this time? Mentally Janet clicked off the symptoms Sam had been exhibiting this last week. Nausea, emotional outbursts-no wonder the Colonel had been concerned!

"No Jack, Sam is most definitely not pregnant. My god, even if it wasn't required for all women serving on SG teams to be on birth control, I would have made certain Sam was taking something as soon as you both got together! Judging from the number of UTI's Sam has had in the last couple of months, the two of you are still trying to make up for lost time."

Although Jack O'Neill seldom blushed, he was very grateful for the cover of darkness. He had been worried the first time Sam had gotten a urinary tract infection and had felt rather abashed when told it was due the two of them having sex so frequently. Not that it seemed to faze Sam much. She viewed off-world missions as a chance to take some antibiotics and conserve her strength. She had used those exact words. Conserve Her Strength. Causing Jack to re-evaluate many of his previous misconceptions about Sam. He had always imagined her as the gentle lover, (which of course she could be) but hardly ever as the little nymphomaniac that she loved to play. Yeah, he and Carter did indeed like playing in the bedroom. And the living room. And the..

He shook his head in an attempt to dispel the (pleasant) images. Sam was still dealing with the events of P2X-415 and his fantasies weren't helping matters.

"Not pregnant then? Well that's good. I guess." Jack took another sip of his beer. "So what happened upstairs Janet?"

"Now we're approaching the thorny Doctor/Patient confidentially issue Colonel." Janet said shifting uncomfortably in her chair. "Let's just say that I sorta forced Sam to face something and she initially didn't like the idea." Seeing Jack frown, Janet quickly continued.

"I honestly think Sam is going to come through this ok Jack. I really do. What I need to know as both your friend and doctor is if YOU are."

"Me?" Jack said angrily. "What are you talking about Doc? I'm not the one barfing up a lung every time someone mentions Chinese food."

"Colonel," Janet held up her hand to prevent Jack from correcting her. "Colonel, I know you feel responsible for all the accidents that occur under your command off world. You wouldn't be a good solider and commanding officer if you didn't. BUT you shouldn't wallow in this guilt you have."

"I do not wallow." Jack replied petulantly.

"Ask yourself what you would have said to Daniel if he had to go through what you did," Janet held up a hand to prevent Jack from interrupting. "If Daniel had to do what you did on '415 with another woman. Not Sam Jack, but a different woman, a woman that you yourself only considered a valued member of the team. Obviously Daniel would have done whatever needed to be done to save his team. And knowing the way our SG teams operate, this mystery woman would have felt exactly the same way. They would have done what was required of them and headed on home. And Daniel would be the one feeling incredibly guilty for 'forcing' himself on his teammate. Perhaps on a woman he considered his friend. What would you have told him Jack?"

Jack sat in silence. He had actually never considered this particular scenario. Most of the times he would get stuck at the notion of Sam with Daniel and feel sick himself.

"Colonel? What would you have said to Daniel?"

In a paper-dry voice Jack finally answered. "That it wasn't his fault and he had nothing to feel guilty about. He had saved the team."

"Counsel thyself Colonel." Janet said exhaling deeply and standing up. "The sex was consensual Jack, I do NOT want you thinking in terms of rape ok?"

"It felt like rape Janet." Jack said gripping his bottle of beer tightly.

"But it wasn't. And at some point you need to talk to Sam about this. You are blaming yourself, and Sam is blaming the Goa'ulds. Sam's viewpoint is actually the more healthier, Sir. You both have some rotten memories of '415. As a Doctor, I recommend making new memories as soon as possible.

"But what if I hurt her again?" Jack asked staring up at the diminutive doctor.

"YOU never hurt her Jack. Remember that. Accept that. And just love Sam in the best way you know how Sir."

Jack sighed and stood up himself. "Why is it that I can get everyone else to drop the rank thing except you?"

"Because while I may be able to drop the Major part of my title, I will always be your Doctor Jack. And acting as that doctor, I can call you whatever the hell I want." Seeing Jack's eyebrows rise in a perfect Teal's impression, Janet quickly added on an official "Sir." One beer and Janet was mouthing off to a superior officer. Luckily it was the one superior officer who couldn't really give a damn.

"Goodnight Doctor." Jack said formally as he began descending the ladder.

"Pleasant dreams Sir."

Chapter 16

The klaxons blared noisily across the base as Sergeant Siler verified the signal.

"It's SG-1 Sir!" Siler said happily.

"Right on time." General Hammond murmured sounding quite relieved.

It had been two weeks since the fateful trip to P2X-415 and SG-1 were just returning from their first post-khan off-world mission. They had been gone for exactly 24 hours. General Hammond couldn't help but smile as he saw all four members of SG-1 walk through the Stargate. Not a visible injury among them. Visible being the key word here; they were quite muddy. Daniel was attempting to clean it off his glasses but was failing miserably.

"Welcome home SG-1." Hammond said through a microphone from the Control Room. "Try not to clog all the showers this time ok? Debriefing in 90 minutes." Jack gave the General a sloppy salute and walked down the ramp.

"I believe it is the guys' turn to use the shower first Major." Jack said with a twinkle in his eye.

"At least its just mud Sir." Sam replied trying to not think about the half pound of the stuff currently dwelling in her trousers. "Enjoy your showers." And with that Sam walked out of the embarkation room and towards her room. Jack frowned slightly as he watched her go. He sure missed the old Carter sass. Hell, he missed a lot of things that had been taken away since that damned mission to '415.

"Jack.." Daniel began as his eyes followed Sam as she slowly walked out of the room.

"Not now Danny, ok?" Jack said with a sigh. He knew what his friend was going to say- he was still worried about Sam. In all honesty, Jack really believed things were getting better. The last two days at the cabin with Janet, Daniel and Cassie had been really relaxing and Sam hadn't had a single nightmare since. Although she still wasn't eating too well, it was most likely due to over-work and NOT psychological reasons. Although wasn't working all the time a defense mechanism AGAINST having to deal with psychological stuff? Jack's head hurt trying to make sense of all the head mumbo-jumbo he'd read up on.

All he knew was that the two of them had actually had fun driving back from the cabin and the last five days or so had been relatively uneventful. Sure, Sam was still a little quieter than normal and more pensive, but she did seem to be dealing with the events of '415. Not that she and Jack had talked a lot about it together. One of these days they'd need too- Jack knew this- but for the time being, talking with friends seemed to be helping. And Jack still believed things would be fine despite the rather shaky mission they had come back from. Jack had a funny feeling he was to blame for some of her apprehension, but he still believed he had made the right call with the tents.


"Excuse me?" Daniel asked struggling with his tent poles. For the umpteenth time he wished they could just bring a simple Northface tent and leave these damn military ones at home.

"You heard me Daniel. Tonight it's you and Teal'c. Carter and I will share the second tent."

Since he and Sam had gotten together, Jack always had Sam bunk up with either Teal'c or Daniel. The team didn't use tents very often, but when they did Jack felt it might be for the best if he and Sam didn't share an enclosed space. It would be too easy to roll over and snuggle. Or heaven forbid- do something worse (better)! Sam had understood this decision and though they laughed about it at home and even made fun of it off-world, ("Hands off my girlfriend tonight Dr. Jackson.") both understood the necessity of the decision. A decision that Jack was now altering without first talking it over with his most significant other (not to mention 2IC).

He could feel Sam's eyes burrowing into the back of his skull but surprisingly she held her tongue. Jack sighed again. The "old" Sam would have lit into him instantly.

"Carter, you have first watch- then Teal'c and Daniel. I'll take last." In the firelight Jack saw Teal'c and Daniel nod. Sam just got up to pour herself a cup of coffee. Yep- she had heard.

One by one the guys turned in for bed with Jack heading towards the tent last. Right as he opened the flap of their tent Sam grabbed hold of his shoulder.

"Stop coddling me Jack." She whispered angrily.

"Jack, huh?" Sam just glared at him.

"I'm perfectly fine." She said through clenched teeth.

"I know you are." Jack said simply.

"So why the tent thing?" In the firelight Jack couldn't help but notice how thin Sam still appeared. Thankfully, she hadn't lost any more weight, but she hadn't gained those last 4 pounds back either. She still forgot to eat while at work and working was the one thing Major Samantha Carter seemed to be doing with gusto these days.

"Sam, this world appears uninhabited and we'll be hitting Daniel's temple first thing in the morning. The guys know we sleep together and I didn't think it would kill us to share a tent this one time." He didn't have to say the unspoken- it wasn't like anything was going to happen between the two of them, they hadn't had sex since P2X-415. Jack had thought a lot about what Janet had said back at the cabin, but he just hadn't done anything about it. Not yet anyhow. And judging from Sam's mood, this wouldn't change anytime soon.

"And the real reason Colonel?" Sam whispered angrily putting a hand on her hip.

Jack's eyes flared. "Dammit Carter, did you ever think for a moment maybe I did it for me?! This is my first off-world mission since that damn planet as well. Maybe I don't want to wake up screaming in the middle of the night only to find a freaked out Daniel by my side. Maybe Major Carter, I did it for me!" And with that Jack stepped into the tent and closed the flap.

Sam felt horrible and blinked her eyes furiously in an attempt to hold back the tears. Maybe Jack HAD switched tents for that very reason. Then again, maybe not. Either way, he deserved an apology. Sam promised herself she would apologize first thing in the morning. Sighing heavily she stood up and made her way back to her watch spot. She felt much better 45 minutes later as she heard Jack's soft snoring coming through the tent walls. He really wasn't waiting up for her. Or watching her back. He trusted her to keep watch and that made her feel much better. Two hours later Teal'c relieved her and she headed to bed.

Daniel had sat through a rather boring two hours of watch. Boring being a very good thing when off-world. He looked at his watch and then glanced at Jack and Sam's tent. 'All quiet on the western front' he thought Sorry Jack, domestic bliss is going to end 'cause it's your turn to take watch. Daniel stood up and stretched as he made his way over to the tent to wake Jack. And that's when he heard it- faint mumblings and the sound of someone thrashing about in a sleeping bag. Within moments the sounds became more distinct and Daniel could hear the terror and pain in Sam's voice as she asked her ghostly terror not to come any closer. Suddenly she screamed, something Daniel had only heard once or twice before coming from Sam. He hoped he would never hear it again.

Almost before the scream had left her throat Daniel heard Jack at her side. He could tell that Jack must have been holding Sam tightly against his body as Sam's voice became more muffled. Daniel swiped at his eyes as he quickly withdrew back towards the fire. He really didn't want to know the details and was awfully glad Jack had changed the tent assignments.

Sam lay sobbing and shaking in Jack's arms trying to get out the words to describe the horrible scene her subconscious had created for her. It was the first nightmare in nearly two weeks and it surprised Sam in its intensity. Jack held her tightly and stroked her damp hair as he tried to talk her out of the dream. Whispering words of encouragement and love Jack was slowly able to get her back to sleep. He continued to hold her for another 15 minutes before carefully unclenching her hands from his t-shirt and wrapping her back up in the sleeping bag. As quietly as possible he got out of the tent. On the horizon a vague pink glow could be seen. Taking a deep cleansing breath Jack walked over to where Daniel was sitting by the fire.

"Thanks." Jack said gruffly pouring himself a cup of freshly brewed coffee.

"It's just coffee Jack."

"You know what I mean." They sat in silence for several minutes.

"Is she going to be ok Jack?"

"I think so Daniel. I really do." He could see that Daniel still looked a bit skeptical. Jack turned to face his friend. "It's her first night back in the field Daniel. This was bound to happen. My first night back in the service after Iraq was horrible." Jack pointed a finger in Daniel's face. "And YOUR first night on a desert planet after Sha're was taken wasn't a picnic either."

"Really?" Daniel asked with genuine confusion. "I don't remember. I mean, I remember OTHER nights but..."

"Nope. And odds are Sam won't either. That's the way these things work. Betcha a pitcher at O'Malleys she won't have one tomorrow." Jack gave his friend a gentle cuff on his shoulder. "Go to sleep Daniel- there's still an hour and a half left."

Daniel laughed shakily. "As if I could sleep after that scream Jack." Jack nodded knowingly. "At least try."

Jack had been right though. Sam had no memory of her nightmare although she was curious as to why the tent was in such a state of disarray when she awoke the next morning. She did however remember to apologize to Jack for being rude the day before.


Jack placed a hand on his friend's muddy shoulder. "Let's go get clean, shall we?"

Chapter 17

"General?" Jack said knocking lightly on the door.


Jack barged in as soon as he was given the ok and immediately started talking up a storm.

"General, an airman told me you wanted to see me? Listen Sir, if this is about the..." He suddenly noticed one composed looking Tok'r'a sitting to the left of the General.


"Hi Jack." The older man said with a sincere smile. "How are you doing?"

"Uh, fine?" He sat down abruptly on the other side of Hammond. "Did I miss a memo again?"

"Jacob arrived while you and the rest of SG-1 were getting cleared in medical, Colonel."

"Oh!" Jack said, surprised but relieved it was only Jacob. Logically he knew the Tok'ra were better than the Goa'uld, but they all still wigged him out big time. Thank god Anise wasn't with him. The thought made him shudder. He quickly focused his attention back onto Jacob.

"Do ya want me to go get Sam?" Jack made a move as if to stand up.

"Not right now Jack." Jacob Carter said seriously.

//Ah cripes- he knows.//

"General?" Jack asked much more subdued.

"Sorry Jack." Hammond laid his hand out on the table and gave a small shake of his head.

"But you promised!" Jack whined not sounding even remotely like an officer in the United States Air force.

Jacob's eyes flashed briefly as Selmak began to speak.

"Colonel O'Neill, General Hammond thought it was imperative the Tok'ra be told of the discovery of the Khan-Goa'ulds and he was correct in doing so. I apologize if it makes you uncomfortable, but the knowledge was indeed important."

"Yeah, I s'pose." Jack said in a resigned voice. Shit! How much did Hammond tell them? Do they know about me and Sam?

"Um, General?" Jack said fidgeting in his seat. "What exactly do the Tok'ra know about that mission?"

"The Tok'ra only know that SG-1 came across eleven outcast Goa'ulds on a remote world." He paused. "Jacob and Selmak however know a little more."

If Jack could have sunk any further into his seat he would have. He and Sam had only been dating for 4 months now and he wasn't even certain Jacob knew what was going on between his baby girl and a scruffy looking officer. He had hoped to have Jacob over for a barbeque one night the next time he was in town but now...

"Jack, you can quit panicking." Jacob said with a grin. "I know all about you and Sam."

"You do?"

"Yep. Sam sent a letter on through a few days after George gave you both the ok. And for what's it worth, I'm happy for you both."

"You are?" Jack sat up a little straighter. "She forgot to mention that to me."

Jacob laughed. "I'm sure she just wanted to watch you squirm the next time we saw one another."

"Probably." Jack muttered. Samantha Carter was SO going to get it from him for this. Well, when she was more or less back to her old self that is. Jack wasn't given any more time to ponder this very sneaky side of Sam before Selmak began speaking again.

"Both Jacob and I were quite upset to hear what you and Samantha went through on the Khan-Goa'uld's world."

Jack just nodded, not trusting himself to speak. In hindsight, Jack was very, very thankful Jacob already knew about their relationship. If he to hear about it for the first time with regards to their last mission... Jack shuddered. God, that would have been horrible. Hell that WOULD have been considered rape.

"How's Sammy doing Jack?" Jacob (once again himself) asked.

"I don't really feel comfortable talking about Sam when she's not here General." Jack said addressing both generals present. "Me and Carter are doing fine. If anyone wants to know more, they can ask the both of us off-base."

"Fair enough son." General Hammond said with a nod. Jacob understood as well, Sam really had found a good man in Jack O'Neill.

"Sooooo." Jack said looking at Jacob expectantly.

"We need your help Jack."

Here we go again!

Not trusting himself to say anything even remotely nice, Jack just raised an eyebrow. Selmak took over.

"The Tok'ra have known about the Khan-Goa'ulds for quite some time and have been most anxious to find their planet of exile. With your help, we would like to capture these Goa'uld."

Jack shook his head ever so slightly as he pointed at Selmak. "I know there's a trick in here someplace. You guys always ask for just a small little favor and in the end WE are the ones doing all the hard work."

"And I'm afraid that's how it's going to be this time as well Jack." Jacob answered.

Jack groaned as grasped his forehead between both hands. "I am SO getting a headache already." He slid his hands down his face and looked up at Jacob/Selmak "All right- spill it."

"We need SG-1 to return to the planet via the Stargate and reestablish contact with the Khans."

"That's it?! You want us to go back to that hell-hole of a planet and place ourselves in the exact same situation we were before?" Jack said incredulously. "General with all due respect.."

"I wasn't done Jack." Jacob said patiently.

"Go on." Jack was doing his best at not sounding surly. He was pretty certain he was failing miserably.

"Once SG-1 has established contact with the Khans, a group of Tok'ra will ring down to the planet and assist you in apprehending them. The Tok'ra will take the Goa'ulds off the planet and SG-1 will be free to take whatever naquada you may find."

"And that's it?"

"That's it."

"Excuse my stupid earthling ignorance here." Jack began gesturing with his hands. "But for crying out loud, why don't you guys just ring down from the beginning?!"

Selmak chose to answer. "Unfortunately Colonel O'Neill, the Khans have established a foothold defense system on the planet. The caverns that you and the rest of SG-1 saw are only a small section of a very large underground labyrinth. We are afraid that if we arrive en masse, the eleven Goa'ulds will run and hide in the caverns. Once hidden, it will be difficult to find them without loss of life. "

"But it's ok to risk OUR lives, right?" Jack asked pissed that once again the SGC was doing the To'kra's footwork.

"Colonel, that's enough!" General Hammond said angrily.

"Jacob! You're willing to send your own daughter back in there without adequate backup?" Jack knew he was playing dirty but he really didn't think Sam should go back to that damned place.

"You will have back up Jack. And we will be quick I promise you. If you thought for a second I doubted the outcome of this mission you know I wouldn't support it. Not when it's Sam. And not for eleven old guys with god-complexes."

Jack couldn't help but smile. Slightly.

"Colonel, what both Jacob and I would like to know from you is if you think any member of you team will have a problem with this mission." It was blatantly obvious they were both concerned about Sam.

"If you have any doubt as to ability of SG-1 to do their job on this mission, I need to know right now." Two sets of very worried eyes looked at him.

Jack didn't have to give it much thought at all. He wanted to make some wisecrack remark about himself or Daniel but mostly he just wanted this briefing to be over. He cut to the chase.

"In this ONE instance I wish like hell I wasn't her boyfriend as well as her CO. Because Sirs, Major Carter will not only do her job superbly, she will most likely kick some major Goa'uld ass. And that goes for the rest of SG-1 as well."

Both Jacob and General Hammond smiled.

"Notify your team Colonel. Mission briefing in 90 minutes and all of you will leave at 0800 tomorrow morning."

Jack nodded as he and Jacob stood up. Jacob turned and slyly smiled at Jack.

"So Jack, you and Sam free for dinner tonight?"

Chapter 18

Jack walked into the commissary bleary eyed and in desperate need of coffee. It had been a very long night and unfortunately he hadn't been able to get much sleep. Although Jacob had been worried about his daughter, he had done an admirable job of not pushing. Jack had a funny feeling Selmak had a hand in that. The three (four) of them had really had a nice evening and both Jack and Jacob had been reluctant to leave. But Jacob needed to return to the SGC in order to gate back to the Tok'ra. Seems he needed to assemble his team and fly a Teltac to the khan's world. With luck he was already in orbit around the planet waiting for SG-1 to make contact.

And Jack? Jack had decided to stay on base. As much as he would have liked to spend the evening with Sam, she hadn't actually asked for his company and Jack knew she hadn't been home in over two weeks. He had asked her with his eyes if he should come back, and she had said no. Fair enough. Didn't mean he had to like it though. Jack stifled a large yawn as he made himself a cup of coffee and grabbed a bowl of oatmeal. Nothing like oatmeal to start out a mission.

After grabbing a piece of fruit and a glass of orange juice, Jack looked up for the first time for a place to sit. As expected the room was virtually empty. Suddenly he spied a mop of blonde hair in the corner bent over a report. Sam.

"Carter!" Jack said a little too loudly sitting down next to her. "What the heck are you doing here?!"

"Probably the same as you Sir." Sam said with a small smile. "Having breakfast."

"But it isn't even 0600." Jack whined as he spooned a large amount of sugar into his coffee.

"I could ask you the same thing Sir."

"You could." Jack said giving her a pointed look. "But I asked first."

"SOMEONE slept on the wrong side of the bed last night." Sam muttered. It was so easy to fall into Jack banter that every now and then Sam would actually forget that they were a couple. Which meant that particular line held several different meanings. She felt herself reddening slightly.

"What was that Major?"

"Nothing Sir."

"Thought so." Jack said smugly taking his first sip of coffee. He sighed audibly and leaned back in the chair.

"So why are you here so early Carter?"

Sam really didn't want to talk to Jack about this. He would probably take it the wrong way. Unless of course she told him all the details and then..


"I couldn't sleep, ok?"

"Oh." Jack was quiet for several seconds. "I could have come back you know."

"I know." Sam said nodding as she picked at her rapidly cooling waffle. "But I really needed to get reacquainted with my house and honestly thought I'd just fall fast asleep after you and dad left last night."

"But you didn't." Jack said matter-of-factly.

"Actually I did." Jack looked at her curiously. Was Sam blushing?

"But.." He prompted.

"But I kept waking up."

"How come?" Jack was a little worried now. Were the nightmares back? As her commanding officer (not to mention love of his life) Jack needed to know.

"Sam?" Jack said touching her arm slightly.

"Colonel," Sam said emphasizing his title, "I really don't think the Mess is the place to talk about this."

Jack scoffed at her answer. "Sam, it's just you, me and Sergeant Siler over there in the corner- I think we're safe."

"Colonel.." Sam tried again. This was embarrassing and she really didn't want to discuss it in public.

"Major, I could order you to tell me you know." Jack said with mock seriousness.

Sam laughed heartily. "Actually Sir, you couldn't."

"Huh?" Jack was very, very confused.

"The answer to that question is personal. The kind of personal that involves relationships and according to rule 239.b, Senior Officers cannot force Junior Officers to reveal intimate details of a personal nature unless it is relevant to military protocols."

"Intimate details?"

"Jack, can you just drop this please?"


"Fine!" Sam said a little too loudly. Siler looked up from his reading, smiled briefly at the Colonel and Sam and then lowered his head back down.

Sam glared at Jack hating the fact that he was forcing her into a corner. "I kept waking up due to erotic dreams, ok?"

Of all the things Sam might have said, this was definitely not one of those he had considered.

"Oh." Jack said dumbly as he set down his coffee and stared at Sam. "Were they nice?" Were they NICE O'Neill?! What are you, an idiot?

"Very nice." Sam said smiling and taking a big forkful of waffle.

"Um...anyone there I might recognize?" Jack said trying to sound nonchalant.

"A few people." Sam said feeling a bit warm. It was worth it though. Jack was uncomfortable as hell.

"Why last night?"

"I've had dreams before Colonel." Sam said trying not to enjoy this too much. They really were in a public place.

"Recently?" Jack asked sounding utterly flabbergasted. Sam was having fantasies? God, they were about him, weren't they?

"Of course!" Sam said perplexed by Jack's discomposure. "Although to be honest, last night's were quite.. um.. vivid."


"Colonel, can we PLEASE not talk about this here?"

"You're right Major. I apologize." He looked at his watch. "My office in 15 minutes." With that Jack picked up his tray and walked out of the room.

Sam really considered not going to his office but something about the way Jack had looked at her made her reconsider. He honestly looked surprised that she had fantasies. Which was ridiculous because he KNEW she had fantasies. Hell, they had role-played on more than one occasion. Taking a deep breath Sam knocked lightly on his door.

"Come on in Carter." Jack's voice said from within.

"Reporting as ordered Sir." Sam said with military precision. Jack just rolled his eyes. He motioned for Sam to close the door and then offered her a seat.

"Jack, we're going on a mission in less than 2 hours, is this really the time and place to talk about this?"

"How long have you been having fantasies and why were they particularly vivid last night?" Jack asked seriously barely able to make eye contact.

"I've been having fantasies Sir since I was 15 and last night's were vivid because...well, because....they just were, ok?"

"I need to know Sam." Jack said quietly. Huh? What's with him?

Sam fidgeted slightly in her seat and absently tucked a stray piece of hair behind her ear. "This really isn't the place to talk about this Colonel, (again with the emphasis on his title) but if you really must know, I kept smelling you last night."

"Excuse me?" Jack said raising an eyebrow in a very impressive Teal'c impression.

"Jack, do you remember the night before we went to that damned khan planet?" Jack nodded slowly as a smile began creeping across his face. Oh yeah. Definitely remembered.

"Well," Sam said unconsciously licking her lips. "If you remember we were late for the mission briefing the next morning and ran out of the house without so much as a shower." Jack nodded.

"Or changing the sheets."

"That was over two weeks ago Sam!"

"That's right!" Sam yelled standing up. "And apparently your aftershave tends to linger!"

"Oh." Jack visually slumped back into his chair. Sam took a deep breath and sat back down herself. Finally. He understood.

"Jack, I felt like you were surrounding me last night, only you weren't there. It's hard enough when you ARE there, but to smell you without..." Sam realized she was rambling and closed her mouth with an audible click. She laughed quietly to herself. "Being in that damned bed didn't help matters, ok?"

Jack couldn't help but chuckle. "We do tend to get into more mischief at your place don't we?"

"Mischief Jack?"

"Would you rather I said hot monkey love?"

Sam laughed. "You know if your place was closer, all this 'mischief' we get into might would be at your house."

"Nah. I got the more comfortable bed."

"What does that have to do with anything?"

"Face it Sam, you have that little full-sized number with the squeaky head board. Your bed is great when.. um, well..." Sam's bed was all about lovin' and that's all there is to it. Jack decided to change tactics.

"But MY bed is nice and roomy. There's something to be said for an extra long queen with a firm mattress."

"There is that Jack." Sam said a knowing nod. "But the fact remains that more of our, uh, more athletic evenings have been at my place. And THAT'S what I was thinking about last night."

"Well, as long as you're ok." Jack said picking up a pencil and twirling it around.

"Perfectly fine." Sam looked at Jack more closely. There was something else going on here.



"How'd you sleep last night?" Jack was silent for several seconds as he stared intensely at Sam.

"I missed your cold feet." He finally said with a small smile.

Sam was about to say something more when there was a loud rap on the door. Without waiting for the prerequisite 'Come in' Daniel burst inside.

"Jack, do you think.." He suddenly noticed the room was not empty. "Oops. Sorry guys! I'll come back later." Quickly Daniel turned on his heels to leave. Jack just shook his head.

"Daniel! Don't you EVER knock?"

"Uh, not usually?" Daniel said turning back around and blushing slightly. Sam decided to put the guy out of his misery.

"It's ok Daniel. The Colonel and I were just finishing up." Sam stood up to leave. "Sir, we'll talk more about this later, ok?" Jack nodded.

"See ya in 90 minutes Major." Giving a small nod, Sam left the room.

"Jack, I really interrupted something didn't I?"

"Yep. But don't worry, it wasn't anything to blush over." Jack paused as if considering something. "Unfortunately." He muttered.

"So, Danny!" Jack said looking up all military once again. "What cha need?"

Chapter 19

Sam had been sitting in her office for the last 15 minutes staring blankly at her computer screen. She had already packed her gear and had received her premission physical. Considering how closely Janet had been monitoring her these last few weeks, there was little left for the doctor to do except draw some blood and check her blood pressure and weight. Jan loved getting Sam on that damned scale. Thankfully, Sam was now only two pounds away (last night's steak dinner probably helped) from her pre-Khan weight and Janet had no lectures to give her. All that remained to do was to check out her weapons and meet the guys at the gate. Idly Sam checked her watch again. Yep, still over an hour remaining.

Something was up with Jack, and Sam seriously didn't know if she could go off - world without knowing what it was. Well, yes- technically of course she COULD, but she really didn't want to until this was resolved. Sam glanced at her watch once again (gee, is it really only 30-seconds later?) and with a firm nod pushed her chair away from the computer and stood up. There was time and she really wanted to know. But first there was a little something she needed to do.

Five minutes later she found herself in front of Jack's door and wondered if maybe this wasn't such a hot idea. Quit being a wuss and knock! Imitating Daniel, Sam knocked softly once and stepped inside. Jack was sitting at his desk still fidgeting with his pencil. Well, at least she wasn't interrupting anything important.


"Oh, hey Carter- didn't hear you come in." Sam frowned. Definitely not a good sign. "What's up?"

Sam closed the door and took a step forward. She glanced at her watch and took a deep breath.

"Jack, I don't know what is going on with you, but I really would like to know. Maybe you were going to tell me and Daniel interrupted or maybe you're too selfconscious because we're on base." Sam took another deep breath as she glanced once again at her watch and then fixed Jack with a resolved look.

"I really want to know Jack, and for the next six minutes the security camera in your office is going to be feeding anyone who happens to be looking a looped image- No excuses remaining Jack- Spill it."

Jack stared at her dumbly. Sam- breaking rules? This was SO not her usual style. The look she was giving him nearly took his breath away; clear blue eyes tinged with apprehension and worry stared intensely at him.

"Six minutes eh?" Jack said finally. "Doesn't leave us a whole lotta time does it?" He waggled his eyebrows up and down in a suggestive manner.

"Jack." Sam admonished.

"Sorry." He said contritely.

"Talk to me Jack. What's going on in that head of yours?"

Jack picked up his tried and true pencil and once again began twirling it around haphazardly. It was several long seconds before he spoke.

"I hate it when Doc's right."

"You mean Janet?" Jack nodded, still playing with the pencil and not meeting Sam's eyes.

"What did Janet say Jack?" Sometimes getting this man to talk was like pulling teeth!

Jack put down his pencil and looked at Sam. "Do you remember the night at the cabin after everyone left?"

Sam smiled; that was a good night. They had talked and laughed and behaved almost as if the events on P2X-415 hadn't happened. But what did that have to do with anything?

"That night you..uh...had a dream." Judging from their earlier conversation "dream" must mean fantasy.

"I don't remember." Sam said simply sitting down in the chair across from him.

"You were pretty deep in REM sleep and I became, um, aware of the matter only when you rolled over and efficiently placed one of your legs between my own." Sam couldn't help but smile- she saw where this was going.

"I'm sure I have done that before Jack. Actually, you have too if I remember correctly." Jack reddened ever so slightly.

"You were also, um, a bit vocal." Jack continued remembering how Sam had sounded as she moaned wantonly into his collarbone as she pressed herself against his leg. The sound had instantly caused Jack's heart rate (and other organs) to increase. Instinctively he had rolled over on top of her only to suddenly remember the events of P2X-415. With a shuddering gasp he had quickly rolled himself off of her and closed his eyes tightly to dispel the image of their making love on that damned planet.

Sam smiled larger this time. "So I was having a fantasy. I seldom have half-assed dreams Jack, I bet it was a good one."

Jack licked his lips. "Pretty good one." He agreed.

"So what's the problem?"

"I..." Jack swallowed and tried again.

"I couldn't Sam." Jack said softly looking deeply into her eyes.

"Couldn't?" Sam said not quite understanding. Jack didn't exactly blush but he shook his head ever so slightly and looked down at the scuffmarks on his desk. Suddenly Sam understood what he was trying so elegantly to say- he couldn't make love with her.

"Oh." Total silence resonated throughout the small room for several moments.

"Jack," Sam finally said softly. "You know there is medication you can take..."

Jack guffawed loudly. "God, Sam- I may be old, but I am not THAT old. It wasn't that. Hell, after many, many years of near abstinence, I doubt THAT will ever be a problem for us." Sam knitted her eyebrows together in confusion.

"So what IS the problem Jack.." Suddenly everything became crystal clear to Sam as her hand flew to her mouth as she struggled not to cry.

"Oh, God- it's me isn't it?" Sam said biting her lip to keep the tears at bay. "I repel you."

Jack flew out of his chair and ignoring his knees, kneeled in front of Sam and gently took her hands in his own.

"No, Sam- it isn't you." He said softly tenderly wiping a lone tear from her right eye. "I swear to you, this has nothing to do with how I feel about you. I am as attracted to you now as I have ever been. Hell, probably more so. I love you Samantha Carter." Seeing her weak smile, Jack continued.

"And I find you VERY desirable. I always have Sam and I always will."

"Then what is it Jack?" Sam said softly looking into his troubled brown eyes.

"Sam, every time I think about making love to you I remember that damned planet." Jack paused searching her eyes for understanding. "I'm afraid Sam" He whispered. "I'm afraid of hurting you again."

"You never hurt me Jack." Sam said tenderly reaching up and stroking his cleanshaved face.

"But I did Sam." Jack said shaking his head. "It was my actions that gave you nightmares and caused you to lose weight. I did that Sam."

"You did NOT do that Jack." Sam said firmly. "We were both put into an untenable situation and did the best we could. Yeah, I had some nightmares, and I might again- but Jack, none of this is your fault. You know as well as I how much worse this could have been. What if we weren't already intimate before? Or what if they had forced me to have sex with Teal'c or Daniel? Or what if they themselves had been able to have sex with me? I could have been raped Jack, and instead I played the exhibitionist and made love to you."

"You were forced to do that Sam."

"WE were forced to that Jack. We were put into a situation where we did what needed to be done. Everyone came home and we're all going to be ok." Sam cupped Jack's face and lightly kissed his lips. "We are going to be ok Jack."

"But what if..."

"Jack, I might have another nightmare. And I might even have a khan flashback one of these days- but they do not reflect how I feel about you, ok? I love you Jack O'Neill and I still very much want to make love to you in the very near future." Jack smiled, he liked how 'very near future' sounded.

Helping Sam to her feet he pulled her tightly against his chest.

"Sam?" He whispered throatily against her ear. "How much time before the cameras come back on?"

Sam glanced down at her watch. "About a minute, wh..?"

Before Sam could even finish the sentence, Jack's mouth was upon hers kissing her with an abandonment she hadn't experienced in weeks. Sam moaned into his mouth as the kiss deepened and his arms snaked around her waist pulling her even closer to him. Sam's arms wrapped around his neck as she reveled in the sensation that was Jack O'Neill. The kiss was an affirmation of everything they had gone through and a promise for so much more in the future. Nearly 30 seconds passed before the need for oxygen overcame the need they had for one another and they parted with a sudden lurch. For several long moments they stood facing each other, arms still entwined, breathing erratic. A soft beep from Sam's watch caused Jack to quietly smile as he hugged her once more briefly and released his hold on her. He took a step backwards.

"Thank you for stopping by and bringing the matter to my attention Major." Jack said with a twinkle in his eye.

"It needed to be said." Sam said unconsciously licking her still tingling lips. "Sir."

"I look forward to more of this conversation later." Jack said barely able to contain his emotions. He was SO looking forward to this mission being over.

Once again there came a discernible knock on the door. Both Jack and Sam rolled their eyes as they said in unison,

"Come in Daniel."

"Uh, hello." Daniel said stepping into the room and quickly assessing the situation. This time he had most definitely interrupted something. Jack looked downright chipper and Sam had that dazed just-been-kissed looked. Their clothes did not look at all rumpled and for that Daniel was eternally grateful.

"See you guys at the Gate." Sam said smiling as she walked around Daniel and out the door.


"Yes, Daniel?"

"Did you.. I mean, is Sam.." Jack grinned and shook his head.

"The Major and I had a very relevant conversation pertaining to this mission Daniel." He held up a hand as Daniel opened his mouth hoping for more details.

Jack thought a moment before continuing. Just in case anyone else was listening he thought he should explain. "We often have conversations before missions, but this one was unique to P2X-415. I sincerely doubt we'll ever have this sort of conversation again. Definitely not on base."

Now it was Daniel's turn to nod. As glad as he was that Sam and Jack were together, even a civilian such as himself recognized how wrong it was for the both of them to get...mushy while working. He grinned back at Jack.

"Good! Glad to hear you and Sam had a good...conversation." Jack restrained himself from rolling his eyes. Enough with the euphemisms Danny!

"So, what brings you BACK to my neck of the woods Daniel?"

"Janet sent me to come and get you. Pre-mission physical."

"Well, let's not keep the good Doctor waiting shall we?" Together they exited Jack's office and headed down the hall towards Fraiser's infirmary.

Chapter 20

"SG-1, you have a go."

"You heard the General kids," Jack said eyeing his team critically as they gathered at the foot of the 'gate. Teal'c stood ramrod straight holding his staff weapon securely in his right hand; the man was cool, collected and ready to do his duty. Daniel seemed to be regarding the Stargate with a determined but slightly worried face, while Sam.... Major Carter was all business. The composite soldier- poised and ready for anything that might get thrown their way. Jack couldn't help but grin; this was the Sam Carter he had fallen in love with and definitely the person he wanted on his six. "Let's go kick some Goa'uld butt."

Jack received two faint smiles and one slight nod as they walked up the ramp and through the 'gate. Although all four were well used to the faint feeling of vertigo and mind-numbing coldness that followed travel through the wormhole, none of their trips were exactly the same. This time was no exception.



"You can get off me anytime now."

Sam hid a smile as Teal'c helped the crumpled form of Daniel Jackson off of the Colonel.

"Sorry Jack." Daniel said embarrassed.

"Not your fault Danny." Jack said picking himself up off the dusty ground and putting on his (thankfully unbroken) sunglasses. "Although next time we 'gate, maybe we should have Carter go before you." Sam just shook her head. The man was incorrigible.

"Well, at least we know what to expect for the first couple of hours." Daniel said unnecessarily eyeing the desert expanse.

"Let's see if the Calvary's here, shall we?" Jack said keying the small communicator on his wrist. The gadget was one of the few things the Tok'ra felt comfortable loaning to the "primitive" Earthlings. Not that Jack minded really- Tok'ra help always came with a price...

"Jacob, you up there?"

"We read you Jack. Everyone accounted for?" Jacob asked trying not to sound like the worried father that he was. Although Sam had seemed fine the night before, he was still quite apprehensive as to how this mission was going to affect his little girl.

"We're all here Jacob. It should take us about 2 1/2 hours to reach the Khan's entrance. We'll go radio silent a 1/2 click or so before and expect you and your boys to show up five minutes after we enter the structure."

"Just holler if you need us earlier Jack and we'll be there."

"Counting on it Jake. Just don't ring down on US, ok?"

Jacob laughed. "Promise. Good luck SG-1."

"Well kids, let's go for a walk, shall we?" Jack squinted at the dual suns through his sunglasses and tightened his pack. This time he'd try not to lose it.

The foursome traversed in near silence across the barren landscape, stopping only occasionally for a sip of water and a brief rest. They made good time and after only two hours found themselves within 1/2 kilometer of the entrance.

"I think I see the opening Jack." Daniel said passing the binoculars over to his friend.

"Yup." Jack agreed honing in on the faint depression visible through the desert sands. "That's it alright." Jack briefly closed his eyes in an attempt to dispel the vision of the last time he had been here. He let out a small sigh as he packed the lenses up and stored them in him pack. Time to earn his paycheck.

"Right. You all know the plan. I don't want anyone getting cute out there ok?" He specifically eyed Sam as he said that. Sam stared back with a flinty gaze.

"We're going to go in, nail as many as we can, stall for time, and then supply cover for Jake and his Tok'ra buddies." He received nods from all three.

"Oh, and Danny? If one of those midget snake-heads pulls a zat on you, duck this time will ya?" Daniel just rolled his eyes- as if he LIKED getting zatted.

The final meters leading up to the entrance was walked with determined assuredness. They all had a job to do and they'd be damned if it wasn't going to be done right. Jack could feel the adrenaline creeping into his system and tightened his grip on his weapon. This was the part of the plan that held a degree of uncertainty. Well, if Jack was honest with himself, ALL of the plan held elements of iffiness, but until they were in the structure and the khans visible- anything could happen.

Silently he motioned for his teammates to take their positions as they approached the entrance. All of them were swapping their handguns for zats. It had been Sam who had suggested they bring along Goa'uld zats alongside their more conventional weaponry. She reasoned that the Goa'ulds wouldn't be expecting humans with zat guns and that the element of surprise just might be enough to end everything quickly and quietly. Jack had readily agreed, but with one recommendation.

He took out his live ammo clip and replaced it with one filled with dummy bullets. The rubber-tipped projectiles might not kill, but they could still knock a guy (or snake in this case) down for the count. As much as Jack PERSONALLY wanted to hurt the khans as much as possible, the mission called for the guys to be taken alive. As long as he didn't have to make them comfortable... He patted his left side briefly to make certain his zat was there as well. Taking a deep cleansing breath Jack signaled for his team to be on the ready. Silently he dropped to the ground and crawled the additional 3 meters towards the entrance. He nodded briefly, finger tightening on the trigger, as Sam quickly moved behind him and into position. She gave a curt nod as she brought up her zat and aimed it at the entrance. To his left, Jack could see Daniel doing the same thing. He knew Teal'c was behind him ready to cover his six once he was through the door. His team was ready.

Jack raised himself up and fired off a volley of fake bullets down the center of the hall. Immediately zat blasts came at him from both sides of the room. Jack stayed low to the ground as he continued spraying the room with rubber bullets. He heard a soft oomph as one of them found a mark. Sam and Daniel were on either side of him picking off the khan warriors attempting to hit Jack. A zat blast whizzed precariously close to his head as Teal'c struck down a Goa'uld dangerously close to Jack's location. Less than ten seconds later it was over.

"Everyone ok?" Jack asked gingerly standing up. He shouldered his P90 and took out his zat.

"Fine, Sir."
"Didn't even have to duck Jack."
"I am unharmed."

"Teal'c, cover us- I want to know how many we got." He pointed for Sam and Daniel to take the right and left sides of the corridor while he walked up the center. Pulling out several plastic zip ties, Jack fastened the hands together of the two khans in his path. Jacob would be down in just a few minutes, but SG-1 was leaving nothing to chance. He walked backwards towards Teal'c keeping his weapon leveled at the room in front of him.

"What have we got?" Jack asked as Daniel and Sam made their way back towards the center of the room.

"I tied up two Sir."

"Only one on my side Jack."

"Ok. That makes 5 down and only 6 to go. I'm liking the odds much more right now. Let's go see the wizard."

Although SG-1 was well aware that the Khans must have known they were coming, they had hoped the Goa'ulds would be foolish in believing they would be just as easy to capture this time. The idea was that Jack's bullets would simulate a firefight and that the Khans would believe all the zat-blasts to be their own. With luck, SG-1 would be able to walk into the main chamber in relative safety.

They moved quickly through the caverns and together walked through the main doorway into the throne room. Weapons poised they approached the seemingly serene khans. All six present and accounted for.

"Why have you returned?" Oghul asked in a regal voice.

"Well, we had such fun last time..." Jack began taking a step forward.

"Really?" Oghul said sounding surprised.

"No." Jack said brusquely. "Everyone put their hands where I can see them." Two of the Goa'ulds instantly complied, but the other four continued to stare straight ahead.

"It seemed to me like you enjoyed yourself Colonel." Sam couldn't help but shudder slightly at the voice. It was Temur.

"Hands Where I Can See Them." Jack said louder as he aimed his weapon at Temur. He did not like the deer in the headlights look coming from Sam. Keep it together Sam. Keep it together.

"I see you have zat'nik'atels Colonel." Oghul said bringing one of his hands out in the open. Daniel and Teal'c had their weapons pointed at two of the Goa'ulds to the right. These Khan were obviously smarter or less brave than the other two as their hands were already up. Four under control, two remaining.

"The other hand Oghul," Jack ordered, in what he hoped was his scary colonel voice. Out of the corner of his eye he could see that Temur hadn't made a move to lift up either of his arms, definitely not a good sign.

"Now dammit!" Jack shouted firing two short zat blasts at the two men on Oghul's right. "I will not ask you again! Bring up your other arm!"

As if in slow motion, Oghul raised his hand and withdrew a Colt 45 (Daniel's Colt 45 to be exact). At the same time, Temur lifted up his own arms and brought out the more impressive P30 (this would be Sam's). SG-1's own weapons were now aimed directly at them.

(This chapter contains graphic descriptions and images. R rating.)

Chapter 21

"Gun!" O'Neill shouted needlessly as shots were fired haphazardly at the SG-1 team. Jack threw himself down to the ground as he let loose a volley of zat blasts at the armed Goa'ulds. There was something fundamentally wrong with a snake-head using Earth weaponry. Out of the corner of his eye, Jack saw that Sam had also dropped to the ground and was shooting non-stop at Temur. Unfortunately the bastard was good at ducking. Speaking of which..

Daniel was continuing to keep his zat pointed at the two khans without visible weapons, while, thankfully, keeping quite low to the ground. Jack could hear what sounded like Chinese coming from Daniel's mouth and made a mental note to ask him exactly what he was saying later. Apparently, Daniel had NOT been happy with his inability to help the team out through translation (as if that would have helped) and had taken SG-1's week of downtime to learn yet ANOTHER foreign language. The man was an animal! Jack thought to himself. Whatever Daniel was shouting, it seemed to be doing the trick; the unarmed khans continued to keep their hands up as they watched the firefight between their leaders and the tau'ri.

Suddenly Daniel stumbled and dropped his zat.

"Dammit!" Daniel cursed as he dropped to the ground. He'd been hit in the shoulder by one of Oghul's bullets. A bullet that most likely Daniel himself had loaded into the gun the week before. The irony of the situation was not lost on him. Looking around wildly for a place that afforded a modicum of shelter, Daniel picked up his zat with his right hand while attempting to staunch the flow of blood with his left. It stung like the blazes, but Daniel was pretty certain he had just been grazed. He continued to point the weapon at the goa'ulds while backing away towards a pillar on the left wall. He needed to take himself out of the equation or else one of his teammates would feel the need to come to his rescue. Again.

"Daniel!" Jack roared, as he somersaulted across the floor towards the archaeologist's location. I can't believe I just did that. My god, a somersault?! Jackson you are so going to be all right.

"Flesh wound!" Daniel shouted back. "I'm fine!" To prove his point Daniel successfully fired on one of the unarmed goa'ulds. Not really a nice thing to do to a prisoner who had obviously given himself up, but considering what these guys had put him through the last time he was here- Daniel didn't beat himself up over it.

Jack eyed the rapidly growing crimson stain on Daniel's arm and frowned. It was time to finish this.

"Jacob!" He shouted over the melee of the battle. "We could use a little help here!"

Jack was hoping for an instantaneous Tok'ra ring-down, but was content to watch as Teal'c silently approached Oghul from behind. The head Khan seemed to have found himself with an empty handgun and was looking at the weapon in disdain contemplating his next move while trying not to be struck by Jack's continual zat blasts. Suddenly his body jerked with the shock of being hit and he collapsed bonelessly to the ground.

"Way to go T!" Jack yelled, as he continued to move towards Daniel's location. It might only be a flesh wound, but Daniel was still out in the open and Jack wanted to remedy that as quickly as possible. Temur was still going nuts with Sam's commandeered P30 but Jack was confident those bullets would be running out any moment now. Thank god the snake didn't know a thing about compensating for recoil.

Simultaneously three things happened at once.

Temur's bullets did indeed run out.

The telltale hum of transportation rings engaging could be heard.

And the quiet goa'uld standing with his hands up in the corner suddenly reached beneath his robes and brought out the final missing P90 and began spraying the bullets in the direction of Jack and Daniel.

"Jack!" Daniel shouted as he slammed his body into Jack's and forced the older man down on the ground. Daniel bit back a cry as he landed hard on his injured shoulder. The bullets shattered on impact with the descending rings from the Tok'ra ship and caused the armed Goa'uld to scream Chinese obscenities into the air and throw his weapon angrily across the throne room.

The split second as the rings were descending back up into the sky was all the time Temur needed. Lightening fast he grabbed the discarded P90, activated a switch underneath his chair and began running towards a rapidly emerging passageway behind him.

"No!" Samantha Carter screamed, as she fired her weapon continually at the escaping Temur. Zat guns are wonderful devices for disabling (and disintegrating) your opponent, but they tended to be more exacting than the more powerful submachine weaponry used by the United States Air force. Had Sam been armed with a P30 or P90, Temur would already be dead. Or at least down for the count. Sam processed these thoughts bitterly as she run after the escaping Goa'uld. There was no way he was getting out of here. None.

"Carter, wait!" Jack shouted across the room as he watched helplessly as Sam followed Temur through a door and disappear from sight.

"Shit." Jack muttered under his breath as he shakily rose to his feet and offered Daniel a hand up.

"Teal'c, follow Carter and make sure she doesn't kill the guy would ya?" Jack asked wishing more than anything that he could be the one to follow her. But Teal'c was closer and Daniel was injured and he knew Sam could take care of herself.

"Sorry we were a little late Jack," Jacob Carter said apologetically eyeing Daniel's wounded arm.

"Actually you had great timing there Jake." Jack said honestly. "Those rings prevented me and Danny here from becoming swiss cheese."

"My operatives are rounding up all the goa'ulds you guys so nicely disabled for us." Jacob paused, and eyed the newly opened passageway with apprehension. "Think I should go after her Jack?"

Jack rubbed his face with the back of his hand and briefly closed his eyes. Hell yes!

"I think this is one battle Carter should probably face on her own Jacob. Why don't we get Daniel here patched up and then go after her, eh?" Jacob understood the wisdom of the decision and nodded.

"Daniel?" Jack said turning his attention back to the wounded archaeologist. "How ya doing?"

"I've been shot Jack, how do you THINK I'm doing?" Daniel answered peevishly. His shoulder throbbed with every beat of his heart and he wasn't too keen on the feeling of blood trickling down his arm.

"Well now I KNOW you're going to be ok!" Jack said as he gave his friend a gentle squeeze on his uninjured shoulder. With a grin he shrugged off his backpack and hunted around for the med kit. Daniel just glared at him.

"How do you figure Jack?" Jacob asked more than a little confused. Commanding officers usually don't smile when one of their charges are injured.

"Smart-ass comments are usually only heard from a slightly wounded Dr. Jackson," Jack declared as he helped Daniel off with his shirt and got a good look at the damage. Yep- Daniel had been right; the bullet only grazed him. Painful but not life-threatening. Jack quickly cleaned the wound and applied pressure until the bleeding had stopped. (Daniel wasn't too keen on that part.) He applied several butterfly bandages to the surrounding area and gently covered the wound with a large band-aid. He handed Daniel two painkillers along with a general antibiotic. He'd live. Now it was time to find Sam.

Sam quickly and quietly made her way through the tunnels following the faint shuffling footsteps of Temur. Was he injured? God, she hoped so. Sam knew she should have waited for backup, but was afraid the son of a bitch might actually escape through the underground labyrinth and that was just not something she was prepared to let happen. She traveled in silence for close to ten minutes before acknowledging that she should at least check in with the Colonel and see how the rest of SG-1 were doing. Plus she knew Jack would be worried as hell about her.

"Colonel, do you hear me?" Sam whispered into her radio.

"I'm here Major." Came Jack's terse reply. Oops. He was pissed.

"Everything ok out there? How's Daniel?" Sam asked nervously as she continued down the dim hallways. Her scientific mind refused to stop thinking and Sam idly wondered if it was naquada or solar energy supplying power to the caverns.

"Daniel's fine." Jack said as he watched the last of the captured Goa'ulds disappear via transport rings. Ten down only one to go. He wanted to be angry with Sam but knew he would have done the same thing had their positions been reversed. Hell, Daniel would have run after the guy had he been the closest. SG-1 was nothing if not predictable.

"You really should have waited Carter." Jack said curtly into the radio. "But what's done is done. I sent Teal'c after you and plan on heading out to meet you two shortly."

"Looking forward to backup sir," Sam said honestly. Oh she knew she could take that perverted old worm, but it might be a good idea to have witnesses on hand.

"I just need to tie Daniel to a post or something and I'm on my way." Jack's voice softened slightly. "Be safe Sam."

"Always sir."

Teal'c was conflicted. He had been aware of MajorCarter's location for some time now but was uncertain how to proceed. He knew she was pursuing the man, the Goa'uld who had personally hurt and humiliated her. From his own experience, Teal'c knew how important it was for SamanthaCarter to face her foe. Without consulting O'Neill, Teal'c took it upon himself to be within earshot if she needed him, but to give her a chance to resolve this situation on her own. He hoped he was making the right decision.

Five minutes later Sam rounded a corner only to discover Temur fumbling with a switch in the wall. Apparently it was stuck.

"Problems?" Sam asked tightening her grip on her zat. Faster than Sam thought possible, Temur whirled about and sprayed the area around her with bullets. One struck the zat in her right hand causing it to fall to the ground. Sam cursed her complacency. At least he still had her gun. A very big sturdy gun at that.

"I wouldn't try that again if I were you." Sam said angrily tightening her finger on the gun's trigger.

"Major Samantha Carter."

"Nice to know I'm remembered." Sam rolled her eyes even as she spoke the words. She had SO been hanging around Jack too long.

"Oh I remember you." Sam resisted shuddering at the look Temur gave her.

"I need you to come with me," Sam said forcibly pointing her gun at the Goa'uld.

"I don't think so." Temur said smugly pointing his own weapon at the woman.


"You're a very desirable woman Samantha Carter," Temur said licking his lips and reaching into one of the pockets of his gown.

"Hands where I can see them buster," Sam yelled taking a small step forward.

"Do you know what this is Samantha Carter?" Temur said opening up his hand to reveal a small metal disk. Sam felt the gore rising in her stomach as she recognized the familiar design. Oh God, Please don't let that be what I think it is.

Sam kept her weapon leveled at him and continued to stare at him in silence. Just one reason asshole. Just give me one little reason and you are so dead.

"I missed you after you left." He took a small step forward and Sam tightened her grip on her weapon never once taking her eyes off his face.

"I might have had my trophies..." Temur again licked his lips libidinously raking his eyes up and down her body. "But it wasn't enough." He smiled at her as a predator does to his prey as he pressed down on the small object. Instantly a crystal clear color image of her and Jack appeared. Unfortunately it was not a still image. Nor was it without sound.

Sam watched mesmerized as the 3D image of she and Jack began to undress one another. Her eyes instantly filled with tears as she witnessed the love and concern in Jack's face. She saw how he was desperately trying to take her eyes off of the khans and onto himself. Whispering terms of endearment and love as he tenderly removed her clothing.

"That of course is one of the more mundane scenes." Temur said with disdain. "Let's go to one of my favorites shall we?" His index figure shifted slightly and suddenly Sam was given a very graphic view of the two of them in a scene the rivaled anything the porn industry had ever produced. Both she and Jack had been nearly silent in their explorations and caresses but in the heat of passion one tends to forget things. And apparently Sam could not keep her desire to herself and she began to shake with rage and humiliation as she heard herself moan loudly as she sought her release.

"Turn it off," Sam said shaking her head slowly and taking another step forward. "Turn it the hell off you little fuck!"

"And if I don't?" The Goa'uld said arrogantly.

"I'll shoot you where you stand."

"I have a weapon Samantha Carter."

"And so do I you perverted piece of shit." Sam snarled through clenched teeth.

"Ahh, but it is a Tau'ri weapon. And I do believe you want me alive."

"Not really." One reason. Just one reason. You attack me and I will kill you. Jack will understand. Hell, dad and Hammond will as well.

"Is your skin soft Samantha Carter? If I touch you will your face flush with pleasure like it did in these images?"

"Why don't you find out?" Sam growled as she took yet another step forward. Her gun was now only inches away from Temur's heart. She watched in utter disgust as he attempted to do just that.

"I want to touch you Samantha Carter." Temur said in an arrogant, dulcet tone. "The others have long since forgotten how to control their host bodies but I have not." He reached down and parted his robes to reveal black woolen trousers and an unmistakable erection.

Sam didn't need to wait any longer; the khan had given her an opening. Like a tiger Sam sprung viciously using her P30 as a club as she first thrust it into his stomach and again at the goa'ulds head. Sam grinned madly as she heard the satisfying crack of the weapon against his skull. Temur staggered backwards and dropped his own weapon.

"Soft enough for you?!" Sam yelled letting her own weapon fall back against her chest as she lunged forward and hit him again with her open palm. Not letting up for a moment Sam whirled around and kicked him viciously in the groin. The Goa'uld sunk to his knees in pain.

Jack had caught up with Teal'c just a few minutes before and together they listened as Sam beat the shit out of the weakened khan. They had been unable to hear the quieter portions of the conversation, but Sam's shouting left little to the imagination. She was beating the stuffing out of the khan.

"Shit Teal'c!" Jack hissed impatiently. "We need to stop her."

"I believe we should not O'Neill." The Jaffa said solemnly restraining his friend with one arm.

"She's going to kill the guy!" Jack said tightening his fists impotently against his side. "Don't get me wrong- I'd like to spend many hours making the snake scream, but we have our orders."

"MajorCarter will do the right thing O'Neill."

"Yeah, but right for her or right for the SGC?"

Sam stood panting loudly above the still form of Temur. It would be so easy Sam thought to herself. So easy to pull a trigger or give him another kick in the head.

"But I won't," Sam muttered almost silently to herself. "See, I'm better than you Temur." She bent down and retrieved both the weapon and the small disk. She gripped it tightly in her hand as she stood up and took a step away from the unconscious man in front of her.

As a scientist, Sam recognized the technological marvel that must have created the recording device. Under any other circumstance, she'd be the first to insist on studying it- deciphering how it worked. But not this time. Sam closed her hand tightly on the quarter-sized object and vowed that it would be destroyed if at all possible. No one had the right to record her against her will. Least of all, the perverted figure lying supine at her feet. Sam took another step away from the khan until she felt the cool rough cavern walls beneath her back. Slowly she lowered herself to the ground; it was over.

"Sam?" Jack said cautiously as he approached the weary woman. Teal'c headed for Temur while Jack concentrated on Sam. She was obviously in shock, the weight of the last few minutes' events finally catching up to her.

"It's me and Teal'c ok?" Jack said lowering himself to the ground. Carefully he took the weapon from her slack arms.

"It's over," Sam whispered looking into his eyes. "It's really over."

"Yeah Sam it is," Jack said softly enveloping her in a warm embrace. "It really is."

They remained that way for several long minutes. Teal'c had silently removed the unconscious body of Temur and would undoubtedly be waiting for the pair in the main chamber.

"As much as I enjoy having you in my arms Major, we should probably be getting back to dad and the guys."

"Daniel!" Sam said with a start. She had totally forgotten that he had been injured! Here she was feeling.. well, whatever the hell it was she was feeling, and Daniel was back in the throne room bleeding to death!

Jack chuckled as he helped Sam to her feet. He knew exactly what she was thinking.

"He's not in any danger Carter."

"Really?" Sam asked dusting herself off. "But he was shot, right?"

"Just a nick. I doubt the doc will even keep him overnight." He gave her hand a brief squeeze as he handed back her weapon. It was time to leave.

The walked in companionable silence through the muted hallways, each lost in his/her own thoughts. Sam's fist kept curling and uncurling on the small metal disk. She longed to throw it into oblivion, but realized she couldn't do so here. There was still naquada to be found and additional SG teams would be flooding these hallways in the very near future. She couldn't risk someone else finding the device. Sam blinked as they entered the brighter area of the throne room.

"Hey Sam," Daniel called from the far side of the room walking over to her. One of the Tok'ra had done a neat job of immobilizing his shoulder and combined with the always-lovely percocet- Daniel wasn't in any pain at all. Well not much anyhow.

"Teal'c brought Temur out a few minutes ago. The Tok'ra have already transferred him to their ship." Sam nodded mutely; she really didn't want to talk about him right now.

"Sam!" Sam turned around to see her dad. Jacob warmly embraced his daughter and was truly glad this ordeal had ended on a positive note.

"You good to go Jacob?" Jack asked doing a final sweep of the room with his eyes.

"We have everything we need Jack." Jacob dipped his head briefly. "On behalf of the Tok'ra I thank you Colonel O'Neill. And you my dear Samantha. Your father has been most distressed over recent events and is very gladdened to see you well again."

"Thanks Selmak." Sam said leaning over and giving her father, but not her father, a small kiss. Selmak again lowered his head as Jacob returned.

"We're going to get going now." Jacob turned to face Daniel and Teal'c. "We couldn't have done it without you two." Daniel gave a small smile and Teal'c a short nod.

"Be good kids." And with that Jacob was gone.

"How do they know exactly where to stand?" Jack wondered aloud.

The walk back to the Stargate was done in contemplative silence. Not the troubled, nerve-wracking silence they experienced in the past, but the comfortable silence found only with good friends and family. Definitely a happy ending.

They topped a sand dune and saw the large Stargate beckoning them home. Daniel entered the sequence of symbols and transmitted the iris code through the glistening blue wall of water. Jack gave him a small nod and both Teal'c and Daniel stepped through the event horizon. Together Sam and Jack approached the shimmering wall when suddenly Sam stopped.


Sam gave Jack an indiscernible look as she reached into her trousers' pocket and pulled out the metal disk. She worried it between her fingers twice before throwing it hard out onto the blowing sands. Sam stood for several long moments staring at the far-reaching desert. She was finished here.

"Ready." Sam said releasing a large smile and giving Jack a small nod. Together they climbed the stairs leading up to the stargate.

At the very edge of the event horizon, Sam turned and gave her commanding officer one of those looks that most definitely did not belong on the battlefield.

"Colonel?" Sam asked coquettishly.

"Yeah?" Jack answered, in a tone slightly higher than normal.

"Wanna come over tonight?" Before Jack could fully comprehend the meaning of the invitation she was gone. Grinning like an idiot Jack followed her home.

Finished December 8, 2002

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