Disclaimer: Not mine...don't own anything...yadda...

Authors Note: Oookkkaaaayyy, uh, not really sure where I'm going with this one, but then I rarely know what the hell is going on anyway. Still, I do get the *distinct* impression it's gonna be pretty much S&J shippy stuff. Oh, and Daniel's gonna get a little naked 'cause I promised Dena...


Chapter 1: Heat

The sun beat down relentlessly on SG1 as they slowly walked the six miles back to the Stargate. Colonel Jack O'Neill, USAF lead the weary troops across yet another sand dune, his weathered but still undeniably handsome face set in a grimace, feet practically stomping in stoic determination on the unyielding golden sand.

Major Samantha Carter was, as ever, close behind her Commanding Officer, treading carefully in the imprints left by his somewhat larger feet (through sheer boredom) as she reached tiredly for her canteen. Stopping to take a long drink of the cool water, she took a moment to look around her whilst simultaneously wishing to any Gods currently sans snake that the Stargate be miraculously moved five miles closer to their position.

After thoroughly scanning their surroundings, she sighed in defeat and resumed her steady pace.

Doctor Daniel Jackson brought up the rear in this little trio, struggling in irritation under the weight of his pack. Teal'c, their alien cohort had been lucky enough to escape this torturous planet by pleading compassionate leave after being informed that his son Ry'ac had been wounded during one of Bray'tac's many, dangerous, training sessions. Despite being assured that Ry'ac was healing nicely, thanks to his symbiote, Teal'c had insisted he leave as quickly as possible.

What the hell had possessed them to come to such a place? Daniel asked himself as he tried in futility to heave the weight of his pack from one shoulder to another. The problem with these backpacks was that, despite the fact that their design was meant to share the internal weight evenly, you still ended up with one shoulder apparently getting two thirds of the total mass and therefore, hurting like a b*stard after only a couple of hours.

Archaeological Interests.

Yup. That was why they had come here. According to the initial UAV sweep of P2X 915 there was a large castle-type-building only four miles from the Stargate itself. Not to mention the fact that after only a mile or so of desert like sand, the ground was supposed to give in to a large shaded woodland initially hidden from view by the dunes. This was the reason they had only bought the 'Foresty planet' amount of water along for the ride instead of the 'Sandy planet' amount, which was a hell of a lot more.

Unsurprisingly, after walking on nothing but sand and in the blistering heat for nearly seven miles - in the direction that Sam had kept *insisting* was the correct route, Jack had officially lost his temper and ordered a return to the gate.

And this would be why they were trudging, single file, in silence, back to Earth.

Daniel looked over at his friend, who was currently standing at the top of the nearest Dune, binoculars in hand trying in desperation to spot the Stargate. He had removed his sunglasses and was shading his eyes from the brightness reflecting off the sand.

Despite the tension caused by the situation at hand, the archaeologist couldn't help smiling slightly at the sight before him. Sam had finally caught up with the Colonel and was waving her hands animatedly in frustration. Too far away to actually hear what was being said, he contented himself with observing their physical interaction. Sam had stopped throwing her arms around and now rested her left hand placatingly on Jack's right arm, whilst keeping her other hand in a loose grip over her weapon.

Suddenly, in one small moment, their entire demeanour seemed to change. Jack no longer looked completely pissed off, and both he and Sam were staring intently at their point of contact. As if in complete syncopation with one another, they simultaneously tore their gaze away from his arm and looked directly into each other's eyes. Slowly, and without breaking eye contact, Sam removed her hand from her CO's arm and let it drop heavily at her side as Jack reached out and cupped his palm softly across her cheek.

Entirely unwilling to break their stolen moment, Daniel hung back and looked around him once again. Suddenly, out of the corner of his eye he saw something shimmer in the distance. Groping blindly behind him, and muttering a few expletives as he momentarily caught his arm behind his back in a very uncomfortable position, he managed to grab his own Military issue binoculars and scanned the distance.


"Water! Hey, Guys, Water!" The intrepid archaeologist practically tripped over his own feet in a rush to reach the two soldiers who were now intently staring away from each other, their respective cheeks coloured slightly pink with embarrassment.

Jack looked over at Daniel, laughing despite himself as the scientist stumbled slightly on the dune before righting himself and continuing his eager pace. Daniel had always reminded Jack so much of the geeks at junior high school who desperately tried to get in with the cool kids, whilst simultaneously trying in earnest not to get beaten up too often.

The funny thing was, Jack mused to himself as he caught Carter's amused smile out of the corner of his eye, ten years ago Jack had been one of those people who metaphorically bullied geeks like Dr Jackson. But now? Now he was just about as protective of Daniel as a person could get. Despite his initial fury at having a scientist placed in the team that went to Abydos, the archaeologist had saved his life and the rest of the team on more than one occasion. And thanks to his quick thinking and interpersonal skills, he had got them out of more scrapes than could be counted.

Reaching down, Jack grabbed the collar of Daniel's shirt and hauled him the rest of the way up the dune. Not stopping to thank the Colonel for his assistance, Daniel began to ramble excitedly until Jack decided he was hysterical and almost slapped him around the face.

In a moment Jack would describe as purely 'Carteresque' Sam managed to silence Daniel by simply placing her hand on his shoulder and murmuring his name until the excited babble slowed and died.

"Now repeat everything you just said." Jack smiled slightly, but held his hand up to silence his friend as Daniel opened his mouth to speak again.


Daniel stopped for a moment, and a look of thoughtfulness passed over his face. Then his cheeks reddened in embarrassment as he realised he had no idea what he had just said. Instead, he resorted to neandertholic communication. Raising his hand, he merely pointed east and said "Water."

Sam was stunned - and it took *alot* to make Sam stunned. "Really? Where?" She asked enthusiastically, grabbing Daniel's binoculars from his hand and scanning the horizon.

The Oasis loomed up in front of the Major's eyes as she peered through the small lenses. "He's right." She murmured incredulously. "There's water."

Jack, who had also been looking frantically pulled his shades back over his eyes and looked questioningly at his 2IC. "You sure it's not a mirage?"

"Doubtful sir." Carter replied, still engrossed in the view through the binoculars. "I've never heard of group hallucinations before. She paused, then added pleadingly "It's not too far out of our way Colonel. Besides, I guess we'll never know if it's real until we get there."

The Colonel stalled for a moment, weighing up the possibilities of actually reaching the Stargate before fainting through dehydration. He ripped off the Velcro cover on his watch and looked at the time. They weren't even due to report back for another six hours, let alone actually return, so they could afford to waste an hour or so...

"Alright Campers." He said, finally giving in to Daniel's puppy eyes (though he'd never admit it...) "One hour only. That includes getting there. " With that, he set off in the direction of the tempting Oasis.


Blatant Bribe: Promise of gratuitous Daniel topless nudity in next chapter if you send me feedback...