Title: The Brave Author: ShooteM Email: ag4bk@juno.com (Feed me Seymour, Feed me!) Category: drama, S/J, angst, H/C Spoilers: Tiny one for Fifth Race Rating: PG-13 Season: 5th or 7th Content warnings: Sexual situations, light swearing Summary: Jack gets separated from the team and they have to bring him home, but it turns out to be more complicated than they thought. Status: Complete Archive: Jackfic, SJD Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and the characters thereof are the property of MGM/UA, Gekko, and Double Secret Productions. This was written for entertainment purposes only, and no money exchanged hands. File size: 115 KB

*Note: Words spoken in Native tongue are in italics*

The Brave

The young boy arrived panting at his family tent. "Father! Come quick. I heard a terrible noise and went to find out what it was. There is a strange man in the caves. The cave has fallen in upon him."

His father quickly assembled a small group of men and went to the caves. Indeed a great portion of the cave was now filled with rocks and dirt from above. A man lay partially covered by the debris. They carefully removed stones and rocks and dug the dirt away from around him until they could pull him free then transferred him to a litter for the trip back to the village.

He was brought to the Medicine Woman who was also the Chief's squaw. It took time and with the help of another woman of the tribe she was able to get him out of the unusual mottled green and black clothing and cleaned up enough to have a look at his injuries. The foot coverings were most difficult to remove being heavy and tied up with a criss-crossing network of lacing. The women wondered why anyone would want to have their sensitive feet so encumbered. All of the clothing seemed heavy to them.

The Chief stood in the background shadows with his arms crossed silently watching their ministrations. He was glad it was not a member of the tribe who had the misfortune to be in the caves when the rocks fell. He thought back to the sight of the man, half covered by debris in the cave. Many of the rocks had been darkened or scorched like they'd been hit by lightning. He knew it would not have been lightning from the sky but rather that of the great sticks carried by the enemies who occasionally appeared in the area. They had lived in peace for so many years now and it was disconcerting to realize the times of conflict could be upon them once again. This was a good location for the settlement but he would need to think about moving the people if those horrible demons returned.

Medicine Woman began checking for broken bones as her assistant continued to wash the dirt from the man's body. As she ran her fingers over his skin and probed, feeling for any give that shouldn't be there, she noted the numerous scars. He was a strange man indeed. His skin was much more pale than any of their own tribe, the parts under the clothing even more so. He did not seem to be very old yet his hair was silver gray with dark undertones and cropped very short at the back and sides, a little longer on top. She appreciated the good tone of his musculature, which had helped his body not succumb to the force of the rock fall.

She winced when as her fingers pressed on the left side of his chest, two of the bones gave slightly. The bruising was dark here too alerting her to be cautious.

He had numerous dark purple bruises where the rocks had done their damage and a deep wound on his head. It had apparently bled for quite some time before finally clotting off on its own and the dried blood and dirt was matted in his hair. She gently soaked the hard clot with warm water until it could be wiped away without further damage to the tissues below. She then applied gentle pressure to stem the slight flow of fresh blood. There were several other small abrasions and nicks but none of them significant.

The two women turned the unconscious man onto his side and washed his back and laid a clean cloth under him. His back was even more bruised and abraded and there was another wound on his head to deal with. She did as before, slowly and gently clearing the wound of anything that might infect it. They laid him back onto the bed and laid a soft piece of fabric across his hips.

After finishing her initial assessment she stood and spoke to her husband. "He is not of any tribe we know. There are two ribs broken, but nothing more. He will heal if he awakes."

The Chief nodded as he looked over the prone man. Medicine Woman touched his arm and added, "My husband, I believe this one is a great warrior among his people. He has strength of limb and wears a great many scars of battle."

He looked at her and smiled. She was always first to see the good in people and was far too trusting of strangers. "This may not be a good thing, my wife, for we do not know if he is friend or foe. For now you must heal him as much as you can. It is the right thing to do."

After several days the man did wake and found it very difficult to communicate. He could not understand their language, which was not helped by the fact that his thoughts were still foggy and confused. Try as he might he could not remember what happened to him. He was depressed and feeling very alone despite the friendliness of the people in the village.

As the days passed he got stronger and was able to walk by himself. The healer had fashioned a bandage wrapping all the way around his chest giving him support enough to breathe without pain. He only had to avoid coughing or moving too quickly to keep from feeling the stabs. As soon as he was up and about he began to take part in their daily activities, slowly at first watching and learning as he went. He felt a connection with the man who seemed to be their leader and they spent a great deal of time together; the older man patiently endeavoring to communicate on a rudimentary level. The man learned the leaders name was Lone Bear and that his woman was referred to as Medicine Woman, that title being more important than a name to him, yet the younger women all called her 'Mother.' When the man was unable to convey any name that he himself should be called, Lone Bear decided to name him Grey Wolf.

In the weeks that followed Grey Wolf became integrated into the group. He showed a deep appreciation for their respect for nature and each other. Their customs were simple and easy to remember and he was able to offer something in return for their kindnesses. Although he still could not remember who he was he seemed to be able to access abilities and knowledge within himself that was ingrained or instinctual. It was obvious to all that he was a well-trained and resourceful warrior. His eye was as steady as his hand and he was able to shoot a straight arrow on target the very first time he tried it. He showed them how to immobilize a grown man using only the fingers of one hand impressing even the eldest of the group. In the short time he'd been with the tribe he already felt he belonged with them.

One day a woman came screaming onto the village carrying a limp child in her arms. He was dripping wet and she told of how he had fallen in the water and did not come to the surface. She searched for many minutes and found him as he was now. Without hesitation Grey Wolf came forward and took the child from her arms. He laid the child on the ground and leaned in close to feel if there was breath in him. There was not. Grey Wolf then gently tilted the child's head back and pinched his nose shut. He leaned down and as the whole tribe watched, astonished, he blew his breath into the mouth of the child. He blew two times and then felt the neck of the child. He used one hand to push hard on the child's chest five times then blew two more breaths into his mouth. He repeated this several times and suddenly the child took a deep gasping breath and began to cough raggedly. Grey Wolf turned the child on his side and allowed water to trickle out of his mouth as he coughed. He rubbed his back briskly encouraging him to continue to breathe.

Satisfied, he lifted the child up to a sitting position and motioned to the mother to come to him. Medicine Woman was amazed, "What great medicine is this, that life can be breathed into the dead?" Grey Wolf tried to shake his head and convey to them that it was a simple thing, he had no magic, but they were all too impressed with this latest talent of his.

He became even more comfortable with Lone Bear and one evening after their meal Lone Bear broached what he thought may be a difficult subject. They were in the habit of passing a smoking pipe between them, which held fragrant herbs. It made them relaxed and usually more talkative.

"Why is it you have not taken a wife? Do you already have one?"

Grey Wolf struggled a bit with his command of the language, "Not sure, no memory."

Lone Bear considered his answer; "The great spirits brought you here to us, to be a part of us. Your life is here now, should you not live?"

Grey Wolf shrugged and looked off into the distance wistfully. "The dreams have returned, Bear."

"You see many faces, friends and the evil ones Bright Eyes, too?"

"Yes, and the woman with yellow hair and eyes of the sky." He had been sitting cross-legged and now stiffly moved his right leg to a partially straightened out position with a slight wince.

Bear regarded the man's movements, "Do you require healing?"

"No, it's an old injury from the Gulf War."


Grey Wolf shrugged, it was not the first time an odd word or phrase made it into his conversations. He rarely had any indication of the meaning.

Lone Bear continued with his previous line of thought, "Yellow Hair, is she your wife?"

"I do not know, but she is here always in my heart." He touched his chest.

"Then it is enough. Your heart is not alone. Come, it is time to sleep."

More time passed and Grey Wolf became more and more a part of the tribe. He led numerous hunting parties and Lone Bear chose to make him the warrior leader of the tribe, second only to the Chief himself. It was not only his skill as a warrior the Chief appreciated but also his compassion. He was always first to offer help and the last to return from any forays away from the village, making sure the others returned safe ahead of him.


(Previously) Major Carter clicked the button on her radio, "Colonel? We've got the gate secured. Where are you?" She toed the armor of a dead Jaffa at her feet.

"Hung up in a cave. There's no way I'm gonna get past these guys. Take the others and go on through the gate, you don't have much time before they come back."

"We're not leaving you, Colonel."

"Yes you are, Major. That's an order. They haven't spotted me and I think there's enough cover here for me to keep away from them."


"Major, I said that's an order. Right now you are in more danger than I am. Besides you're not leaving me, I'm just being... delayed. I don't have a GDO so I'll activate the gate in 24 hours if it's all clear and wait for a signal. Move out."

Carter looked at Daniel and Teal'c with resignation in her eyes. They would have to go. "Dial it up, Daniel."

The young man was shocked; "We're not actually leaving him here. The place is swarming with Jaffa!"

"We won't do him any good if we stay behind. Alone he's got a good chance, you know he's better in the woods than you or I, almost as good as Teal'c."

With a frown and a shake of his head the young man pressed the tiles in sequence to their home destination.

Only minutes later a small group of Jaffa found one set of tracks leading to the caves. They had explored these caves on numerous other visits here and knew there was no back exit, but it was time for them to return so instead of hunting down their prey, the three of them raised staff weapons together and fired upon the mouth of the cave. The combination of three staff blasts effectively caused the cave to collapse in a pile of rubble releasing a great cloud of dust in the air as the rocks and stones rolled to a stop. They made their way back to the Stargate, leaving their enemy for dead.


It was now 48 hours since Sg-1 had returned minus their CO. Hammond had been none too pleased to learn the circumstances by which his Colonel had been left in a hostile situation and now his patience was wearing very thin with no communication from the planet.

In the briefing room with the remaining members of SG-1 the General paced with irritation. "Major you are telling me we cannot establish a wormhole with P3J 191? Why the hell not? There wasn't a problem before was there?"

"No, Sir. When we went through three days ago everything was normal, and no indications of any change when we returned the day before yesterday. Something has changed now however, the gate doesn't shut down, it just doesn't open a wormhole, like the system is waiting for an additional command."

Teal'c turned toward her, "Is it not true that when Colonel O'Neill gated to the Asgard world the Stargate address contained an additional symbol?"

"Yeah, Teal'c, but we figured that was a modifier to increase the distance, and it required a whole lot more power to engage it. This time it's not drawing more power, it's like when you get a 'system busy' alert on the computer screen." She realized she may be speaking to the wrong person with that example and turned back toward Hammond. "It's not locked up and I can find no evidence of tampering or sabotage, at least on this end."

Daniel noted her last few words, "So you think there may have been tampering on the other end, at the other Stargate?"

"We haven't had any trouble opening the gate to other planets where we've been before. Just this one."

"It would seem the Goa'uld have a technology by which they may control access through a Stargate without being present." Teal'c observed.

"Major, I'm going to give you some time to work on this problem but I want you to consider, the Colonel may be lost. As much as I hate to admit it, if we can no longer gate to that planet, we will have to go on. The SGC won't shut down over this and your abilities will be needed elsewhere in time."

"How long, General?" Carter's voice cracked in an attempt to hide her emotion at the finality of the General's words.

"We'll start with one month and see what progress you've made. After that you may have to be reassigned to another SG team."

She hung her head, one month, and she didn't even know where to begin.


After seven long months and working herself to exhaustion between away missions with the Scientific Corps, SG-7, Carter had a plan. With some help from the Tok'ra, namely Selmac, she gained more understanding of the DHD circuits, she determined that a signal needed to be sent on a harmonic frequency just before completing the circuit. The last time eight symbols were used, the symbol for earth, the point of origin was still positioned last. This time she thought it should be kept in the original seventh position and a different symbol at the end. On an educated guess she chose a symbol in the exact opposite direction they wanted to go. She knew Hammond would never let them try all the available symbols, she had to make every guess count.

On the third try the wormhole opened. The entire control room staff let out cheers and started patting Carter on her shoulders. Daniel gave her a big bear hug with tears in his eyes. "I knew you'd do it! I knew you would!" A MALP was sent through and once it was determined that no threat existed, Hammond ordered the three original members of SG-1 to embark.

Carter, Daniel and Teal'c passed through the wormhole without incident. As the MALP had shown there was a strange tall slender tower erected not fifty feet in front of the Stargate broadcasting a continuous ultra high frequency signal. Carter frowned at this object, which had plagued her for so long. She could see no way to disable it so she deferred to Teal'c who with relish took aim with his staff weapon and blew the thing to kingdom come. Satisfied with his work he turned to the Major, "Shall we go to the caves?"

They were off, moving at a fast pace through the dense forest. It was as if they expected to find the Colonel camped out waiting for their arrival. Daniel had already called several times on the radio with no response but refused to be pessimistic. "Dead batteries." He offered as an explanation.

The climb up the cave entrance was hard due to a large number of rocks of every size and shape strewn in their path. The grass and other native vegetation had overgrown most of them, but a fair number were large enough to still block the way up. Daniel being the least sure-footed of the group found a long thick piece of wood to use as a walking stick. He still tripped but at least didn't go down with a sprained ankle.

The cave entrance was even more full of loose rock than the hillside had been so they cautiously stepped in, Carter giving Teal'c the lead.

"Is this the cave we seek, for certain?"

"Yes, I think so. It's the only one we found nearby and from the Colonel's description it's in the right direction." A little further in Daniel ran straight into Carters back as she stopped suddenly with a gasp. The Colonel's pack, jacket, sunglasses and P-90 were in front of them. The items were dust covered as if they were part of an archeological dig and had been left ages ago. The pack had been rooted through, it's contents piled in a heap to one side.

Daniel touched the jacket and fingered the Colonel insignia there. He brought himself out of his reverie and began to examine the site. He was an archaeologist after all. He should be able to gather clues as to the fate of his friend despite the distinct lack of clues. Teal'c surveyed the roof of the cave and the pattern of the rock fall. He found several stones with scorch marks.

"Major Carter, I believe this cave did not fall in of it's own accord. These rocks would appear to be charred by staff weapon fire."

Daniel stood, still holding the dust and dirt covered jacket. In a hoarse whisper he asked, "Do you think he's under there?"

"It may be so. There appears to be no place to retreat here in this cave, O'Neill would have been trapped if he was located by the Jaffa. I do not believe he would have stayed in this location without a means of escape."

Carter was kneeling beside the pack, clutching the Colonel's sunglasses tightly. Her shoulders slumped visibly. She shook her head. "He wouldn't have left his weapon behind." How could they accept that O'Neill was dead, had been dead for a long time? She stood stiffly and turned to Teal'c. "We need to return to the SGC and bring back a team and equipment to recover," she paused briefly, "the body." She couldn't bring herself to say 'O'Neill's body.'

She started to gather up the pack items but thought better of it. The things had lain here for months, undisturbed, a few more hours wouldn't hurt. Somehow she felt taking the things was like defiling a grave. The group made their way back in the direction of the Stargate with much less speed than they had headed out.

Once at the base of the hillside they entered a grove of trees where Teal'c's innate sense of danger was triggered. Carter noticed at once and brought up the muzzle of her P-90 not waiting for her own senses to confirm the threat. A snapping twig was heard behind them and both Carter and Teal'c spun around to find an embarrassed Daniel held with a knife to his throat.

The captor was tall and lean with dark reddish toned skin, black hair and eyes. He was bare skinned from the waist up and simple thin leather straps around his head and both upper arms. He wore tanned leather leggings fringed all the way down the side of the leg and shoes of the same soft raw leather. For all the world he looked like a Native American out of one of earth's history books.

Before Carter and Teal'c could react they were aware of several other men surrounding them with bows at the ready. A dozen sharpened stone-tipped arrows were pointed at them. Carter held her P-90 up to the air then slowly set it down on the ground nodding to Teal'c to relinquish his staff weapon as well. One of the men reached out his hand and took the weapon as Teal'c scowled darkly.

The leader of the group motioned for them to move and released Daniel to join them. They walked for over an hour and came upon a small settlement of tents, teepee's and other temporary housing. Daniel marveled at the beauty of their weavings and began to feel a bit of melancholy as he was reminded of Abydos.

They were led to a three-sided enclosure and made to sit after they were inspected for and relieved of anything the natives considered to possibly be a weapon. Unfortunately that included all technology of any kind, radios, vests, packs, guns, and knives. They were left unharmed but quite defenseless.

Two men were left guarding the opening and paid them little outward attention. Daniel tried talking to them but made no progress.

After a while they could see the arrival of a hunting party across the camp. It was too far to get a really good look but Carter could see a gray- headed man who was probably a leader or maybe a village elder that returned with the group. He dismounted a beautiful roan horse and was greeted warmly by the tribe, including several children rushing up to him. He took time to give each of them a moment of his attention.

Daniel stood beside her watching the group's interactions. He made several observations about tribal customs, leadership, and the importance of hunters in the hierarchy of the tribe given their position of providing food for the group. The day wore into evening and Carter noticed she was getting hungry. They didn't even have coffee let alone water. The smell of food began to fill the air after a while as the women made preparations for a meal. Evidently there was to be a rather large feast, according to Daniel it honored the beast giving it's life for the people and the hunters for returning safely.

Carter, Daniel and Teal'c were led out of their enclosure and permitted to sit near a large fire pit. The guards of course, stayed close by. Many people were seated around the pit making a large circle nearly thirty feet across. One of the men tried to speak to them and gestured toward an old man seated on the other side of the pit. He was dressed in buckskin clothing and wore a feathered headdress. Daniel lowered his head and spoke to Carter and Teal'c, "It seems we've been invited to dine with the Chief tonight."

Presently they were joined by a group of men who took positions standing to either side of the Chief. All wore elaborate headgear decorated as animal and bird heads likely honoring the guardian spirits of the tribe. Daniel was in his element again pointing out the representations of a badger, beaver, deer, coyote and a turtle. The last to arrive was the wolf that took his place to the right of the Chief. They were an intimidating sight to be sure. The headpieces covered their faces not quite like a mask but still hiding their human features completely. They stood with arms crossed over their broad chests. All six of the men were clearly fine physical specimens; Carter could not help but note since other than the headpieces they wore nothing but loincloths and moccasins. The firelight from the pit accentuated their musculature and her mind strayed for a moment wondering what the women on the base would think of the show before her. Way better than Chippendale's. Like, whoa. Way better.

The Chief rose and gave a short speech to his people then sat down, followed by his six protectors. Several women entered the ring and began to distribute the food. First the Chief, then what Daniel thought must be the hunters beside him, then the 'guests', then the rest of the people. A woman set flat small baskets lined with leaves in front of them. Inside each was a piece of sweet oaten bread, a roasted vegetable that might have been kin to a carrot, although grayish white, and some of the roasted meat. They were given small ornate handmade clay pots filled with water too.

Daniel was first to taste the local fare, and was delighted with the delicate herbal seasoning. As they ate, Daniel noticed that Carter was staring at the 'wolf' next to the Chief. He playfully bumped her shoulder, "So, what do you think of the, ah, merchandise?" He was fully aware of what such a striking male presence could do to the female psyche.

She blushed as she did not realize how rapt she had become. "Daniel!" She whispered, and gave him a glare, "I was only, you know."

"Mm Hmm, I know." He grinned at her.


Teal'c turned to them and with a hushed voice said, "I too have been observing the animal men. They may all be strong and able hunters but only one of them is a warrior. See how the wolf does not push back the mask, he keeps his face hidden, and he has eaten only sparingly, he is watching us even now."

If Carter could have blushed deeper she would have. She had been staring at the man and all the while he'd been watching her in return. She looked down and concentrated on her food, it was delicious but her thoughts stayed on the 'wolf.' There was something about the man different than the others. For one thing he didn't sit cross-legged like the others, his left leg was tucked in the correct position but his right was out in front of him, bent at the knee as if he was favoring it, and he had occasionally massaged it briefly. Now he sat with his right forearm perched on it. He ate some but mostly fiddled with something in his hands, a stick, the water container, or the talisman around his neck.

There was something familiar about him and she found herself watching those hands again. Something so familiar there. He touched one of the objects hanging against his chest and rubbed the shiny surface between his thumb and forefinger. She looked more closely and could see several different sized wooden beads and feathers tied onto a chain of some sort. She couldn't quite make out what the shiny object was though and suddenly realized he was touching it in response to her interest.

She concentrated on her food again. At least she was still wearing her dark green ball cap and could hide her face too. After the meal the men passed a pipe of a sweet smelling weed between them and a young man was called to offer it to the strangers also.

Teal'c declined eliciting some comments from the group. Daniel turned to him, "You know it might be an insult to refuse this 'gift'."

"Still I will not partake, Daniel Jackson." He sat back stoically.

The young man then came before Daniel; apparently women either did not smoke or went last. Daniel accepted the pipe and took a short draw. He handed it back to the young man and watched him offer it to Sam. "Careful, it's drugged."

"What! Daniel!"

"It's okay. It was a common practice among primitive peoples, just don't take too much or you'll have a hangover in the morning. It's just a relaxation thing." The young man with the pipe turned to Carter and she waved him away.

As the young man left Carter remarked to Daniel, "When we get home we're gonna have to have to talk." She wagged her index finger between them.

Daniel smiled coyly, "Just because I'm not military doesn't mean I'm completely naive."

Grey Wolf had been studying these visitors for some time. Lone Bear had told him of the strangers but he was not expecting what he had seen. They looked so familiar to him it was unsettling. His dreams had come flooding back to him with images of many people. There was a bald headed man, large and dark, a young impetuous man and the yellow haired woman. Could these be the same people from his dream? Now seeing their attire, he saw images of himself wearing the same type of clothing and many other soldiers, and another bald man, of much lighter skin tone. He felt he had been a part of these people at one time, long ago. The smell of the roasted meat was also eliciting images, a gathering of people laughing and talking, a short brown haired woman and a young girl with laughing eyes in addition to the others.

A sudden loud 'pop' from the wood in the fire and he saw clearly in his mind a young boy, bloody and dying. His breathing became uneven and his pulse raced as he tried to contain the flood of emotion he felt. His son, the name Charlie in his mind. He suddenly stood, unable to take any more. He quickly took leave of the group and left into the darkness. All that night he stayed alone near the river. He knew with every fiber of his being that he indeed did at one time have a son named Charlie. The events of that last day with Charlie played in his head. He let himself weep there by the river, not so much in grief but rather the dishonor of forgetting his son.


The next morning the hunters prepared to set off again. Daniel stood leaning against the side of their enclosure sipping on a cup of hot liquid. It was some kind of herbal tea, mild tasting but highly aromatic. He saw the gray haired man but he was turned the opposite direction and Daniel could not see his face. He was slightly taller than the other men and his coloring, while dark, was more the shade of a deep tan, with none of the reddish tones of the others. He had his long silver hair pulled into a single tail down his back, where most of the others wore either two braids or left their hair loose. He wore the skimpy attire of the night before with only added leather strapping to secure a knife to his hip, another to his left upper arm, and a quiver of arrows to his back. On his head he wore a single leather headband with two upright feathers tied at the back. After directing the other hunters and speaking with the Chief he mounted his horse in one swift move. As he reined his horse to leave, the horse spun to one side and the man turned his head and looked directly at Daniel.

Daniel, who then dropped the cup he was holding with a splash and nearly passed out. "Jack?" He could barely get his mouth to work and his eyebrows were threatening to come right off his face.

The young man leapt forward only to be restrained by their guard as he called out, this time yelling, "Jack!"

Teal'c and Carter were on their feet in an instant and recognized the familiar face of their comrade and CO. Grey Wolf was stunned at the outburst and urged his horse over to investigate.

Now they were all yelling at him. "Colonel!" "O'Neill!" "Jack!"

He swung one leg over his horse and slid to the ground silently. With some hesitation he stepped toward the woman, eyeing the three of them carefully. He stopped within several feet of the enclosure and ordered the guards to back off with only a look.

Carter immediately ran forward only to stop when Grey Wolf stepped back. She pulled off her cap and implored to him, "Colonel! Sir, it's us! What's wrong?" He was shocked to see the bright yellow hair of the 'dream woman' right here in front of him and he frowned with confusion.

Daniel was at her side now and touched her shoulder, " Sam, wait. Look at his face. He doesn't remember." Her shoulders slumped as the realization sunk in. Daniel slowly stepped past her and holding out his hands to show no danger, he spoke softly to his friend. "Jack. We're your friends. Remember? I'm Daniel, Daniel Jackson." He pointed to his chest in the gesture he so often used on other worlds when introducing himself.

Grey Wolf eased at the quiet manner of the young man but still the memories would not come. He looked to each of them trying to remember more but it seemed to be such a long time ago. He looked at the young man and repeated the name, "Dan-yel?" Daniel smiled recalling Sha're trying to pronounce his name the first time. "Yes, Jack, it's me, Daniel." Before Daniel had a chance to speak further the Chief called to Grey Wolf and broke up the short dialog. Grey Wolf quickly turned and in one jump was back on his horse. He took a moment to look back at them and then urged his horse to a swift trot to join the others. The hunting party left as the three SG-1 members stood helplessly watching their CO turn his back to them.

Daniel huffed out a deep breath, "Well, at least we know he's alive."

Carter turned shakily and went to sit in the enclosure with her back up against the wall.

Teal'c also took a seat. "Indeed we now know Colonel O'Neill lives, yet why does he not recognize us?"

Carter just shook her head, having no answers. Daniel was pacing with his arms wrapped around himself, deep in thought. "You know, there could be a lot of reasons. After all he did survive a cave-in, right? Maybe he had a concussion or worse and there's no telling how much of he funny 'weed' he's been imbibing in, it seems they are pretty free with it. Remember it's been a long time."

Carter raised her head from where she had laid her forehead on her arms. "Yeah, it's been a long time, so why doesn't he remember? Why haven't his memories come back to him?"

"Well, I don't claim to know a lot about amnesia, but we've had some experiences ourselves that suggest contact with familiar surroundings plays a major role in recovery. He probably has remembered some but it's not been encouraged. You saw the look in his eyes, at least now he's trying."

The rest of that day Daniel continued to try to come up with a plan to get their CO back. He figured the best way was to understand what he'd been through all these months and that was something right up Daniel's alley. After all he was an archaeologist and studying native cultures was what he was trained to do. He was fascinated by the daily activities of the tribe and even struck up a pantomime type conversation with one of the women who brought them food to eat.

Teal'c meditated and Carter was restless most of the time, feeling useless. She kept thinking about how much O'Neill had changed. Maybe he wouldn't want to go back to his old life and all the pain and regrets he left behind. She found herself discussing exactly that with Daniel.

"That's ridiculous! Of course he'll want to come back with us!"

"What makes you so sure of that? The O'Neill we know carries a lot of pain around with him every day. I don't know if I'd want to go back if I were him."

"You're thinking about the time he was on Edora."

Carter huffed and after a pause shrugged and said, "Yeah, maybe."

"It's nothing like that."

"He's been here a lot longer time, Daniel."

"But HE'S NOT here. I mean after all this time he hasn't accepted this place as his home."

"Why do you say that?"

"Sam, haven't you noticed anything, unusual about him, besides the obvious, I mean."

She glared at him, when Daniel wanted to, he could be as clear as mud.

He continued, unphased, "He's alone all the time, except when he's with the hunters or the Chief." Seeing Sam was still not getting it he settled for the direct approach. "He's been here more than seven months, he's had no choice or chance to go anywhere else, for all he knew this would be the only home he would ever have, and yet, he has not taken a wife. He's not involved with the tribe like any of the other men are."

"How do you know he hasn't?"

Daniel flopped back against the wall in frustration and said sarcastically, "Because I have eyes? Before I realized who he was I watched him quite a bit. He keeps himself apart from these people, except maybe the Chief and his wife. I think he regards them as parental figures or maybe like an uncle and aunt. He plays with the children, leads the men and is polite to the women but he is still apart from them. Trust me on this, Sam. I've made it my life to observe people and what they do, and I'm telling you he has been waiting for us to come for him all this time, he wants to go home."

Suddenly embarrassed for not giving O'Neill the benefit of a doubt, Carter bit her lower lip and looked down.

Teal'c was awake and had heard Daniel's observations. "Is this not our mission? To bring O'Neill home?"

Carter composed herself, "Yes it is, Teal'c, and that's what we're gonna do."


The hunters returned in the late afternoon but Grey Wolf stayed away until dusk. When he did come back, he handed off his horse to a young boy and walked a direct line to the Chief's tent. The two men came out presently and walked off into the woods. They did not go far beyond the camp and found a fallen log to use as a seat. Lone Bear had brought the pipe and took a deep draw of the herb then passed it to Grey Wolf. He also smoked and then began to talk. He told Lone Bear about the most recent visions and dreams and about the son he once had.

Lone Bear was thoughtful. "You believe you once belonged to the tribe of these strangers?"

"Yes, They are familiar to me in ways I cannot explain. Like family, but not family."

"Do you believe you should return to them?"

"I do not know, but I think they came here to find me."

"They are very strange to us and have come a great distance for you, possibly at great risk. You must choose your path from here. Do not make the decision in haste. You should try to communicate with them. Wise choices for the future are made of knowledge of the past."

Grey Wolf regarded the older man, somehow knowing they would not be together for much longer. "Then I will go to them and learn."


Near midday the next day Grey Wolf approached the enclosure where SG-1 had been housed and was met with their obvious happiness to see him.


"Yes, Jack, that's right! These are your friends, too." He motioned toward the others.

Grey Wolf stepped to in front of the big Jaffa and hesitantly said, "Tilk?"

Teal'c smiled broadly and inclined his head. "It is I, O'Neill. I am pleased you remember my name."

Next he looked at the woman. He kept hearing a name in his mind but it sounded too harsh to belong to this beautiful woman. Carter. He didn't like the sound of it though. He looked at her almost wistfully and thought again.

She was becoming uncomfortable, thinking he couldn't recall her name when he took her hand and spoke softly, "Sam."

She grinned, almost tearfully and Daniel clapped him on the shoulder. "You did it!" Dealing with all three of them at once proved to be too overpowering and he shied back a bit.

He still had a hold on the woman's hand and he moved back to lead her away from the enclosure. Daniel and Teal'c were dismayed when the guards stepped in and prevented them from following.

Grey Wolf led the woman out of the village to the horse pen and singled out his mare. He easily pulled himself up to her back only holding on to the base of her mane. Once settled he reached his hand down to Carter who really could not see how she was going to get up on this high a perch without a foothold. He leaned far down and took her upper arm solidly in his and nodded for her to grasp his in the same way. She managed to push off from the ground just enough for him to pull her the rest of the way up. He held her upper body so she could swing one leg over the mare's rump and come to a position seated behind him.

He urged the horse into an easy walk out of the village and into the forest. In several areas the trail twisted and turned as they went and she nearly lost her balance a few times. She did fine riding a horse with appropriate tack but having nothing to hold onto was proving to be difficult. He sensed she was having some trouble and brought the horse to a complete stop then reached back taking her hands in his. He brought her arms forward and crossed them on his chest, forcing her to hug him from behind. The feel of his warm bare skin made her blush and she stiffened slightly. He sensed her discomfort but was willing to be patient. His aim here was not to push but to find out more about her and his relationship with her. He used one hand to rein the horse and with the other he held her hands tightly to his chest as they started off again. When he was sure she wouldn't pull away he lowered his hand to rest on his thigh.

They rode for an hour or so before entering a small glade. The forest opened onto a flat area overlooking a glassy blue lake. The trees were mostly conifers here and the breeze made them sway slightly. Beyond the lake were more trees and behind them, snow topped mountains colored in a purple haze. She took in a deep breath admiring the beauty. Could have been Minnesota if O'Neill's description was accurate, no wonder he wanted her to see this place.

He slid off the back of the horse and lifted Carter down by her waist. Leaving the horse to graze he led her close to the edge of the rocks revealing a sudden drop of at least 50 feet to the clear water below.

With a sly smile in her direction he slipped off his shoes and walked to the edge. Taking a single outward jump he was airborne diving head first to the water below. She was shocked to see him execute a perfect pike dive hitting the water with barely a splash. He came to the surface after a long minute and waved to her, to join him? No way. She was kneeling on all fours and backed away from the edge slowly.

He swam to the shore and climbed back to the vantage point. Still wet from the dive he stretched out his long legs on the cool grass to rest a few minutes. She caught herself watching him, he was not out of breath but was breathing more deeply than usual, his chest rising and falling in a slow sensual kind of undulation.

He knew she was looking but gave no indication of it, rather enjoying the sensation it gave him. After a moment he put his moccasins back on and stood up extending his hand for her. "Come."

She was moderately surprised to hear a word she could understand coming out of him, on the ride out he'd tried to speak to her but the native language was far from her comprehension. She took his hand and let him lead her to a twisting path down to the lake. Once on the shore he gestured to the water, inviting her to swim. She shook her head with determination. She was a bit grimy from the past few days and it would feel so good to take a swim but she sure wasn't going in fully dressed and sure as hell wasn't undressing in front of him. He rolled his eyes upward with a frown and a shrug. Very O'Neill.

He made a final gesture to the lake and the next thing she knew he was gone. Almost in the blink of an eye. She stood there for several minutes that stretched into several more minutes before she decided he was trying to give her some privacy. Before she could change her mind she quickly removed her jacket, shoes and socks. She rolled up her BDU trousers and stepped into the warm water a short ways. She took her time and splashed the water on her face and arms enjoying the grime being washed away.

Grey Wolf watched her from just within the edge of the trees. Part of him felt it was wrong to feel the obvious attraction he had for her and the other part was nearly overcome with desire. He ran his fingers through his hair and rubbed his face, trying to give his frustration some outlet. He allowed her to have several minutes alone then moved out of the trees to the edge of the water.

Carter saw him approach and turned to exit the water. He said nothing but laid a pack of some kind just at the water's edge and backed off. She watched him leave and then picked up the pack finding a folded piece of a soft cloth, with a texture not unlike cotton. A towel, perhaps? There was also a buckskin skirt, top and soft leather moccasins all beautifully sewn with beadwork. She bit her lip as she recognized the items to be a gift. One that she did not exactly want but knew it would hurt him if not insult him if she refused. She decided a compromise would be in order. She dipped a corner of the cloth in the water and used it as a washcloth to finish wiping the dirt from her neck and chest. After drying herself off with the towel she picked up the buckskin top and found it was made open in the front with ties and she put it on like a vest over her T-shirt. The moccasins proved to be a welcome change from the military issue boots they always wore and she slid the soft moccasins on her feet.

She thought about tossing her dusty boots into the lake but thought better of discarding government issued equipment. She turned to see a smiling O'Neill and for a moment totally forgot their circumstances. She smiled back at him and shrugged, then scooped up the towel and skirt from the shore and walked back to him. Instead of handing them over to him she hugged them to herself and said, "Thank you." It pleased him and he nodded in recognition.

They sat in the warm sunshine and talked, well tried to. She'd try to speak in short sentences and made a supreme effort to not use any words with more than a couple syllables but he would get frustrated and fall back into the native tongue, not even realizing he was doing it. Something like when the ancients stuck their encyclopedia in his head, she mused. He was doing okay with simple words and descriptive phrases but was lost when she brought up more abstract ideas, like 'probably had a concussion' and 'UHF frequency transmission'. She had also been referring to him solely as Colonel now.

She was going on about harmonic frequencies when he started getting really agitated and rubbed his hands over his face. "AHH!" He held both palms up to her then dove into a tirade of what she found to be completely unintelligible. "Why must this be so complicated? Why can't you just tell me how I got here and how I can get back? I'm not even sure I want to GO back."


This time he answered in English. "Colonel. What is Colonel? I, Grey Wolf, not know Colonel."

She smiled at his attempt to make a sentence, sounding like an old western movie. Then had a thought, she pulled a small leather wallet out of her pocket and opened it. She slid a photograph out and handed it to him. It was a photo taken at some political function they had been required to attend over a year before. There were several people in the picture but in the center were none other than Major Carter and Colonel O'Neill in full dress uniform. She pointed to their images on the paper. "That's me, and this one, is you. Colonel is your rank." Seeing his face cloud a bit, she elaborated. "It's your position, title. See there's Hammond, he's a General, like a Chief. You are next, below him." She used her hand to demonstrate a higher level and a lower level.

He pointed to her. "You?"

She lowered her hand a bit further. "I'm lower than you, I'm a Major." She knew she was leaving out a few ranks in between but he didn't need to know that right now. He nodded his understanding and fingered the photograph. He could remember the dress uniform, how Sarah always thought he looked so good in it. He frowned as another unbidden memory made it's way into his consciousness. Sarah, someone else he'd lost along the way. He glanced at his left hand, and sighed almost expecting the ring to still be there.

Having enough for one day he gave her back the photo and turned to the trees. "We go now."

He gave a shrill whistle and his horse came trotting out of the woods. This time he had her grab the horse's mane and lifted her up first, handed up the boots and other items, then had her scoot forward a bit. He reached across her leg to grab the mane and swung himself up behind her then let her move back to a more comfortable position.

He took a different trail back to the settlement, longer but not quite so steep for the horse to climb. Once they were on level ground the mare fell into a monotonous rhythm of swaying as she walked, her hooves making a soft clopping sound on the firmly packed ground of the well used trail. Carter didn't need to hold on to anything being sandwiched between O'Neill's legs was support enough. He'd snaked one arm around her waist soon after they were moving, with the other he leisurely held the reins so both his arms were effectively around her. Carter found herself unable to resist leaning back into the comforting solid embrace and within minutes had dozed off. He allowed the horse to go a bit slower, enjoying the closeness with this woman. He had no female comforts for such a long time and he could have easily fallen asleep right along with her.

Upon entering the village he squeezed her shoulders to wake her and stopped the horse just outside the Chief's tent. He slid off and held his hand up to Carter, motioning for her to stay put. After a few minutes conversing with the Chief, he took the reins and led the horse to the enclosure that still housed the remaining two SG-1 members. Daniel stood and waved to them as they approached and as O'Neill helped Carter down noticed the additions to her clothing.

"Nice of you guys to remember leaving us here, any chance we could get time off for good behavior too?" He was irritated and bored and made it well known.

Grey Wolf called the guards aside and spoke with them as Carter joined her team. "Sorry, I guess we were gone a while, huh?"

Daniel was now taking note of her still damp hair, "So, whatacha been doin'?"

"Just, um, trying to talk, some anyway." She tried to ignore the way Daniel was giving her the once over. "He's getting it but it's slow going, I think some pretty painful memories are being dredged up."

Grey Wolf joined them after dismissing the guards. "Free. Please." He gestured out of the pen with his hand.

The four stayed together near the great fire pit and conversed over a meal. Well three of them conversed while one listened intently trying to pick out what the others were saying and only offered a word or two in return when absolutely necessary. Daniel started yawning after every few words and decided to stretch out on a blanket warmed by the fire. He was asleep in two minutes, snoring softly. Teal'c took his leave to Kel-no-reem back away from the fire, under a tall oak tree. That left Carter alone again with her CO.

"Walk?" He asked.

"Sure." After he shouldered a pack of some kind she took his extended hand and allowed him to lead down a path away from the camp. He stopped in a secluded little area just beyond an outcropping of rock, separating them from the camp without moving to a great distance.

He had brought blankets along and spread one out at the base of a smooth tall rock. They sat leaning back on it and looked up at the stars for a long time. It was a natural thing for him to wrap his arms around her and she noticed his skin was a little cool where they weren't touching.

"You're getting cold."

He reached for the other blanket and after scooting himself away from the rock so he could lie down, spread it out over himself. He held one side back in an invitation for her to join him. She hesitated for a moment, This was not the sleeping arrangement she'd expected but if he was comfortable with it, then so be it. She was getting a little cold now anyway.

They lay facing each other, using another rolled up blanket as a pillow. His arms encircled her as he tucked the blanket in behind her, keeping out the cool night air. She shivered a little, although it wasn't from being cold, and he hugged her a bit tighter. He was moving one hand, making a slow circle around the back of her shoulder and she let a quiet moan escape from her lips as she relaxed. Her head lowered against his chest as she enjoyed the warmth.

He was thinking over and over in his head about the things she had said earlier but was now snapped back to the present when he noticed the position of her head and felt her warm breath on his bare chest. He let out a long breath trying to at least slow down his inevitable physical response to her presence.

He knew she was awake and with one hand lifted her chin until she was facing him, only centimeters between them. He turned his head slightly and leaned forward allowing them to touch ever so lightly cheek-to-cheek and temple-to-temple. She smiled at his extreme tenderness. He was handling her like something more fragile than spun glass. She could feel a slight twitch in his eyebrow as he snuggled into her neck and leaned her head back allowing him better access, welcoming his touch. Whether it was her sleepiness or the warmth and closeness of him she allowed him to continue. He sensed the change in her and began to kiss her neck. The feather light kisses moved up toward her face and came to a stop just as his nose came to touch hers. He held the moment, mere millimeters away from the kiss now, not daring to breathe. She trembled just for a second as he closed the gap between them. First light, then more firmly, then with urgent depth he moved his mouth on hers as she slid her hand behind his head receiving him.

He leaned forward using his weight to ease her onto her back and had to place one hand on the ground to hold himself over her. Centered under him, she moved her hands until they were just at the lower border of his ribcage on either side and slid them upward until they were cupping his shoulder blades. Tightening her arm muscles she lifted her chest momentarily to meet his and then settled back to the ground. She was so engrossed in the kiss that her hands wandered on their own accord, down his sides feeling bone and taut muscle as they continued downward over his ribs, to the inward curve of his slim waist and hips where a single leather strap crossed tightly. She felt the smooth leather then her fingertips moved across it and on down to where she could feel the rippling tension of his gluteal muscles.

'Oh, shit'

She was suddenly wide awake and in full realization of what she was doing. In one motion she turned her head away from his face and forcibly slapped her hands to the ground palms up. She squeezed her eyes shut and her mouth into a thin line mustering every last bit of control.

He stopped, frozen above her. His only motion was the deep heaving of his chest in passion laced breaths. He waited and watched. What had he done wrong? He lifted his head back so he could see her face.

Trying to get her own breathing under control, she opened her eyes and faced him. "Sir, we can't do this. You're my Commanding Officer, there are regulations." She suddenly felt that she had taken advantage of his amnesiac state and was ashamed she let it get so far.

He didn't get all the words but he understood they were stopping for whatever reason. He let his head droop for a minute then with a loud grunt pushed himself over to lie on his back. He tried unsuccessfully to slow his breathing down feeling the blood pounding in his head so hard he felt it might explode.

Carter found herself in a similar state. The pressure had built up in her chest and was now threatening knot up in her throat. She turned to him and reached out. "I'm so sorry, I didn't mean-"

As her hand moved over him he caught her wrist with a lightning quick reflex and grabbed her in a vise-like grip staying her touch. "Don't!" He knew that any contact right now would send him hurtling over an edge where he did not want to go. Not like this anyway. She waited but he didn't let go and soon her hand began to throb from lack of blood.

The knot in her throat was making her nauseated now and her head was throbbing, too. "Sir, could you, uh, let go?" He opened his fingers from their death grip and released her, letting her flop back to the ground beside him. Her body was not yet coming down from the passion she was feeling either. She rubbed her head and mumbled, "Maybe we shouldn't have stopped."

He raised only his head up for a moment and glared at her, comprehending her comment, then leaned back and banged his head on the ground, hard. "Oh, for cryin' out loud!" He was definitely getting too old for this. It was funny that when he was frustrated or exasperated he would slip back into English, sounding like his old self for a moment. An hour later they were physically better but he had gone back into that Grey Wolf 'silent treatment' mode and was sitting with his back up against the rock. She sat beside him with her arms wrapped around her legs.

The wheels in her head were turning at breakneck speed. Why had she let that happen? Easy, she wanted it to. That was her first mistake. He was trusting her and she led him down a dead end street. So then why had she stopped it? Stupid, stupid, stupid. Once headed in that direction it was pure cruelty to deny him. Here they were millions of miles away from earth, away from the village, who was gonna know? Who would care? Right now she despised even the word 'regulations.' "Shit." She spat aloud.

He looked at her with a raised eyebrow, and felt sorry that she blamed herself so. Felt sorry for himself, too. Was this the world he was to go back to? Where basic human wants and needs were denied? He could feel that she had as much desire for him as he had for her, he was certain of it.

He was exhausted and figured she probably was too so he got up and moved to the still spread out blanket before them and extended his hand to her. She hunched down and shook her head too quickly making it swim again. He insisted, "It's okay."

She got up with much hesitation and sat down beside him. He took one of the blankets and wrapped it around her so that there would be no bodily contact then gently urged her to lie down. After spreading another blanket over himself he snuggled down beside her, hugging her lightly through the several layers of material. No passion, just a basic need to not be alone. She felt the tears well up in her eyes and reached one hand out from her cocoon to grasp his. His tightened fingers were the only acknowledgment that what ever was between them they were not far apart.

She cried herself to sleep that night silently, desperate to find a way to release the emotional tension.


The next morning they returned to the camp, weary eyed and a bit disheveled, a sight not missed by Daniel. "Are you two okay? You look terrible."

"Yeah, thanks, Daniel." Carter said with a glare. The natives had returned their supplies that morning and he contritely offered a cup of coffee in repentance. "Thanks." She meant it a little more sincerely that time.

O'Neill/Grey Wolf found himself willing to accept the part of him that lived in another place, had a son, and a wife in the past and had some unusual friends in the present but was not willing to go any further. Carter didn't talk much but Daniel and Teal'c made every effort to get him to accept his military past and present life as true. He understood more of their words and was able to communicate in return fairly well but he didn't like much of what they were saying. It just made him angry and he stalked off.

Daniel shrugged as he watched his friend leave. "He's got to accept it sooner or later."

Carter hung her head and spoke, "It's my fault he's being so difficult."

"Why? What do you think you did?"

She grimaced; she knew exactly what she had done. "I really upset him last night. Let's just say I gave him hope then smashed it right in his face."


"Leave it, Daniel. I did something really stupid and it's set him back a bit. He was doing so well yesterday till I blew it. Just give him some time, Okay?"

They were sitting at the fire pit allowing Daniel to indulge himself in learning to communicate with the people now that they were less suspicious of his motives. A young boy suddenly came running into the camp, out of breath and obviously scared.

The child's father rushed to him and listened intently as the boy described what he had seen. Lone Bear soon arrived and the man gave him a short explanation. Daniel got enough of it to understand. "Sam, Teal'c, it's the Stargate. There are Jaffa coming through right now."

O'Neill/Grey Wolf had returned in time to hear of the crisis and immediately started to round up men to fight. This is why he had shared his fighting skills with them. They had told numerous stories of evil spirit men coming through the great ring killing and capturing their people.

The women and children were hustled off to the caves to hide as the men readied their weapons and moved into position in the woods. Their only advantage was stealth and Grey Wolf had taught them well how to exploit it.

Carter was loathe to confront O'Neill but had no choice. "Sir, we're here to help, in any way we can. Just tell us what you want us to do."

He hesitated for only a blink then instructed his team where he wanted them to be to best assist the natives. His plan was a good one and luckily the Jaffa had only a small contingent. They set up an ambush in the forest along the path to the Stargate. As the Jaffa approached they took out the first few before they could even fire their weapons. Staff blasts were then shot back at them from other warriors and although several trees were set afire the blasts missed their marks. The natives were adept at shooting arrows from their hidden locations and with the help of SG-1 most of the Jaffa were downed.

They were forced into hand-to-hand combat with the last few Jaffa to finish them off. O'Neill had killed one with a knife after a brief struggle but turned only to see another trying to get in position to shoot toward one of the natives. O'Neill realized Teal'c could not see the Jaffa from his location and yelled to him, "Teal'c! Gun!" and stretched out his hand, calling for a weapon. Without question Teal'c tossed a Beretta through the air to him. As the weapon came to rest in a hand that was more than familiar with its feel and weight instinct kicked in and O'Neill expertly took out the Jaffa.

With every round fired off another memory came back. He had done this all before, a great many times. The weak and helpless behind him, fellow warriors to his side, stopping an inevitable tide. This was his strength, this was his destiny. This was why parts of him would have to be denied to allow other parts to go on. It was his choice, like it always was. Every single day.

No time to be philosophical now, though. He let all the sleeping parts of his mind awaken taking full control in the melee. He motioned for the native men to fall back allowing his team to take on the remaining Jaffa. He heard a crack and a grunt to his left and spun around to find Daniel had gone down grazed by a glancing blast and was curled on the ground clutching his thigh. O'Neill rolled to the young man's side and deftly picked up his dropped P-90, emptying the clip into the forest. With Teal'c's backup fire the remaining three Jaffa went down.

Teal'c stepped forward from his place in the trees and observed the scene. "I believe we have been victorious, O'Neill. It is good to have you back."

The Colonel was kneeling beside Daniel checking his wound and nodded to the big Jaffa. Seeing Carter behind him he caught her eye. In his customary commanding tone he ordered, "Major, you and Teal'c and scout back to the gate. Make sure there aren't any stragglers in the woods. We'll get the wounded taken care of here."

She squared her shoulders and without question headed for the Stargate followed by Teal'c.


The casualties were light considering a group of Stone Age people had just bested twenty Jaffa with only the help of a few advanced weapons. No one had died, or even been hurt badly. That afternoon as the wounded were being cared for, Daniel was being enlightened of the finer points of the local culture and Teal'c was meditating as was his custom after a battle.

Carter contacted the SGC and apprised them of the situation and that SG-1 would be returning in the morning. They had sent through some medical supplies and two medics to assist the natives, so she now found herself sitting on a rock with nothing to do but think.

"You're gonna strain something." O'Neill had silently appeared behind her.

"What?" she jumped at the sound of his voice.

"You're thinking too hard. I've seen it a million times. You'll hurt yourself."

"Sir, it's okay, I just need to work some things out." She noticed he was still in the scant native clothing although he'd added a pair of leather leggings before they'd gone into the forest and battled the Jaffa.

He sat beside her. "Yeah, I know. Listen, Carter, WE'VE got to work some things out. And while I'd just as soon leave it here, you know we can't. And believe it or not I am speaking as your CO now. It'd be detrimental to the team and our ability to function if we don't deal with this. If we've got to do it, I'd rather do it now before we get home and somebody notices we're not exactly working well together."

She nodded hesitantly, it was unusual, to say the least, for O'Neill to be so forthcoming regarding his feelings. "So what did you have in mind?"

"Come with me?" He stood and extended his hand. Well this was getting to be a habit.

He led her to the horse pen and singled out his mare. "We're going riding?" She asked.

"You'll see. Front or back?"

"I'll sit in front." He helped her up, then after shouldering a pack, eased himself up and swung his leg over. She was a little surprised that with his returning memories he hadn't lost any of his recently acquired skills, such as his excellent horsemanship. They followed the path they had taken the day before leading to the lakeside.

When they arrived at the shoreline he alit from the horse and helped Carter dismount. With a pat to the horse's side he walked over to the water. "How about a swim?"

"I don't think so, Colonel."

"Carter, if you haven't noticed I'm a bit out of uniform, you don't have to be so formal. We are not here by accident, you know. I want you to be able to trust me and not be thinking I'm gonna jump on you every chance I get. Just consider this to be one of those damn exercises at the Academy. You know, trust your fellow officer stuff."

She still hesitated, biting her lower lip. "I can make that an order, Carter."

"I thought you said since you're out of uniform we weren't gonna be formal?"

"Well I take it back. Get your clothes off and get in the water, I won't peek." With that he kicked off his shoes and dropped the pack. After shedding the leggings also he waded in.

As she undressed she kept thinking what a bad idea this was. Only O'Neill would use skinny-dipping as a training aid. Even if he did have a point.

He did keep his back to her until she let him know she was in. "So now what?"

"That's a dumb question, Carter. You're in water, so swim." With that he leaned back into the water and took a few powerful backstrokes sending himself gliding out from the shore. He let himself float, suspended in the warm water feeling the sun on his face. So peaceful. Until a splash, then another, and he was sputtering. She was giggling.

"Carter, dammit, you've got the whole lake and you're over here bothering me?"

"I thought this was supposed to be training? How can we train if we aren't even in the same part of the lake?"

"Training over, you passed."

Then he noticed it. Something bright pink on her shoulder. He leaned over, trying to see beneath the surface of the water without looking like he was looking. He tentatively asked, "Carter, what are you wearing?"

She laughed and floated back on the surface to reveal a pink two-piece bathing suit. "I had it sent through when I reported back to Hammond this morning. You can't be the only one with a bikini."

"And you made me think... That's not fair."

"So, 'training' goes both ways." Suddenly she was serious, "I don't want you thinking I'm gonna seduce you every chance I get."

"Well the thought actually hadn't crossed my mind until now, that's a hot little number you've got there." He wagged his eyebrows at her with a smile.

She splashed him. He splashed back. Twenty minutes later they were lying on the shore exhausted. He tossed her one of the towels he'd brought. "I think I swallowed the lake."

She dried off then spread the cloth out on the ground to lie on. "You know you really ought to keep that loincloth. I think you should wear it at Hammond's next pool party."

He looked down at himself considering the suggestion. He was covered well enough in front and back but the sides consisted only of a single strap of leather. "Nah, bad tan lines." He spread out his cloth beside her and stretched out on his back. "You know what I missed most? My sunglasses."

"Oh, yeah!" She jumped up and grabbed her jacket, producing a pair of military issue O'Neill sunglasses and tossed them to him.

He grinned and put them on. "Did anyone ever tell you you're a doll?"

"And lived? No."

They lay in the sun a long while not speaking. She sneaked her hand into to his and lightly squeezed it. He squeezed back and ran his thumb over her fingers. She smiled, he grinned.


Lone Bear and Grey Wolf talked long into the night after all the people had gone to their homes to sleep. They both knew their time together had come to an end. Lone Bear would take his people to a new home, far away from the great ring that brought so many enemies and one great friend. Grey Wolf would forever be remembered by the tribe and stories would be told of how he brought them great magic and taught them so much.

Carter had wanted to send Daniel home but he refused wanting to spend one last night among the gentle people of the forest. His wound was light anyway and the Medicine woman had covered it with a poultice containing some anesthetic properties so it wasn't bothering him in the least.

The Stargate sparked to life as Carter completed the sequence to go home. They were ready to go, Daniel leaning slightly on Teal'c strong arm for support. O'Neill said his goodbye's to the people who had been his life for the past many months. He would miss them greatly but it was time to go.

The medics were first through followed by Daniel and Teal'c. Carter was a step ahead of O'Neill and just before she stepped through she glanced to her CO at her side and had the stray thought that they never did get him some clothes. This was going to be an interesting arrival.

Back at the SGC, Hammond waited at the base of the ramp for his premier team to once again come home safely. Carter had informed him of Daniel's light injury and more medics were standing by. Carter's report had also given the General the impression that this did not turn out to be a simple search and rescue, Jaffa notwithstanding.

Hammond thought he was prepared for anything. He was wrong. There before him was a more lean, more muscular, much more tanned, nearly naked Colonel O'Neill leisurely stepping down the ramp. Speechless only for a moment, Hammond composed himself and greeted his 2IC. Well at least he wasn't buck- naked.

"Colonel O'Neill, glad to have you back. I'm anticipating an interesting briefing."

"Wouldn't think of letting you down, Sir." O'Neill smiled and shot off a sloppy salute.

"Report to medical and I'll see you in an hour." As O'Neill walked by the General spotted the ponytail down his back and continued, "Make that two hours, airman, I think you're in need of a haircut." Several of the attending staff broke into laughter. Including O'Neill who was so glad to be home he didn't care.

Hammond turned to the control room window and caught a whole row of female faces pressed to the glass, watching every move, and every inch of O'Neill as he left the room. He had a feeling there would be a lot of that for a while and just shook his head. Leave it to SG-1 to come up with a surprise ending.

An entire throng of people followed O'Neill and his team to the infirmary where Doctor Frasier first attended to Daniel, already being aware of his injury. She didn't see O'Neill come in and after finishing up with Daniel found every nurse, technician, and passerby surrounding O'Neill and the rest of SG-1. She made it loud and clear that all non-essential personnel were on notice to remove themselves from the infirmary or their next physicals would be particularly intense.

Satisfied with the exodus, she turned her attention to SG-1 and her mouth nearly hit the floor. Teal'c and Carter were standing by the wall, quietly observing as she took in the form of Colonel O'Neill. He was standing to one side of a gurney, rather leaning against it, one leg crossed over the other, with his hands resting on the rails to either side. All tan and muscle, dressed in the skimpiest piece of material that could still be called clothing. Those were the longest legs she'd ever seen and her eyes slowly moved upward finally stopping on his face. He was grinning. "Howdy, Doc!" Frasier turned to Carter with a look that said 'So that's why you wanted the suit, you WILL be giving me detailed information later' and turned back to O'Neill.

He was still grinning. "What?"

She took a deep breath. "You'd better get undressed Colonel, this could take a while."

"What!" Not grinning anymore.

"You heard me airman, get to it." She swung the curtain around and looked to the now grinning remainder of SG-1. She waved them off. "I'll see you two in an hour or so. No rush."

As Teal'c and Carter made their way through the halls of the SGC amid an onslaught of whispers he turned to her and remarked, "I do not understand the intense scrutiny O'Neill has been subjected to since his return. It seems to be mainly from the females."

Carter laughed. "Teal'c, ever heard of Chippendales?"

"Indeed I have not."

"You'd be a natural."