Here With Me
By Flotternz and Tarra O'Neal - flotternz@yahoo.co.nz and
IrishLas413@msn.com
RATING: PG/PG13

WARNINGS: Angst, Mild violence, Angst, Torture, did we mention Angst?!

CATEGORY: Romance, Hurt/Comfort, Angst

PAIRINGS: Sam/Jack, Daniel/Janet

SPOILERS: Stargate the Movie, COTG, Broca Divide, Solitudes, Singularity,
Cold Lazarus, In The Line Of Duty, Point Of View, The Devil You Know, A
Hundred Days, Shades Of Grey, Maternal Instinct, Nemesis, Divide &
Conquer, Beneath The Surface, Entity, Tangent, Desperate Measures, and
possibly a few more that we can't recall.

TIME FRAME: Final Part in the Last Breath Series. Sequel to "Looking
Through Your Eyes" and"More Than Anyone Deserves"; Season 5 (After
Desperate Measures) Alternate Timeline.

SUMMARY: Jack has been abducted by a new Goa'uld Bastet and Sam is
pregnant and trying to cope with him being missing. Will the love of her
friends help her through this difficult time, and when they find Jack
will their love be enough to heal Jack's battered soul?

ARCHIVE: Dyiallias II - , S/J
archive, Jackfic ... anywhere else please ask.

DISCLAIMER: Sadly we don't own SG-1, or that lovely graying, brown eyed
Colonel...*sigh*! Oh woe are we!! Anyways... Stargate SG-1 and its
characters are the property of Stargate Productions, MGM/UA, Viacom,
Double Secret Productions, Gekko Productions and the Showtime and/or Sci
Fi networks. No infringement is intended to the above parties. This is
for entertainment purposes only and no money exchanged hands. The
original characters, situations, and story are the property of the
author. This story may not be posted elsewhere without the consent of the
author.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: Song credits – Inspired by the song "Here With Me" by
Michelle Branch, also contains lyrics from the songs "When You Get Used
To Somebody" by Tim McGraw and "Everywhere" by Michelle Branch. Much
thanks goes out to Hoodat!! Thanks for being our beta! You're the bomb!
Hugzzzzzzzz!!!!

FEEDBACK: SWEET!!! We love feedback!! The more we get, the more we write,
and everyone's happy!! :)

*******************

"Here With Me"
The cold, flat edge of the knife slid across the skin of his chest. Jack
squeezed his eyes shut, trying to not show any fear; it only led to pain-
pain that he was beginning to not handle very well.

It felt as if he was being torn limb from limb. Slowly. Painfully.
Excruciatingly.

His arms were stretched above him and strapped to the Wheel of Torture,
as he dubbed it earlier, and that is the only way it could be described.
His legs were treated in a similar manner, stretched far apart and
secured at the base of the large, cold, metal wheel contraption.

The sweat pouring down his body and seeping into his open wounds
intermingled with his blood, which only added to his pain. He had given
up protesting long ago. His voice had grown hoarse, and it hurt to talk.
It took too much effort to get out even one word. So that was when his
questions ceased also. Not that it mattered; they never answered him
anyway. They just sneered that snaky sneer and continued torturing him.

The guard came and stood in front of him again. He held out his palm.

//No! Not again!//

The pulsating glow began. Again. The thrumming started in his temples and
engulfed his entire head. His head involuntarily whipped back as the
piercing pain spiked through his head.

//Please stop. Please stop. Please stop. STOP!//

He heard an otherworldly scream echo between the walls. He wished that
whoever or whatever that was would stop. It was hurting his head. Then he
realized it was himself.

Images started flashing through his mind. This was when the nausea began.
The images would always fly around his head, spinning and skipping in
front of his eyes. Never stopping.

Then they stopped. And one image settled in his mind. He expected it to
flash away at any moment. He expected more pain.

The image was fuzzy at first, but then it materialized into a woman. A
beautiful, blond haired, blue-eyed woman. He knew her from somewhere, but
where?

The image changed again, but in slow motion this time, making it easier
on his pounding head.

He was standing in a room. A meeting room. A ... a ... briefing room. He
was surrounded by other men in blue uniforms, gathered around a table.
They were all looking at him, waiting. What were they waiting for? He
looked toward the open doorway. A form was standing there, shifting
nervously in the shadows. The form finally walked in, confidently.

Then he saw her. Her. The beautiful woman. With blond hair. And blue
eyes. And she was smiling. Smiling at him?

The image shifted once again. This time to a cave. An icy, dark cave. He
was lying on the cold, hard floor of the cave. He was hurt. Numb.
Uncaring anymore. Then she was in front of him again. She looked as worse
for wear as he was, but she was smiling. At him.

The intensity of the sharp pain in his head nearly overtook him, his
images darkening. But he would not give in. He had to keep her in his
sight. She made him feel no pain. She made him feel invincible.

Her face became clearer. Her smile became brighter. The pain diminished
to the darkest corner of his mind.

The woman...what is her name...came closer to him. She was standing
nearly in front of him. She was saying something. What is she saying?

"Jack"

Jack? Who's Jack, he thought. Oh wait. He knew that name too. That was
his name. Jack. I'm Jack. He had to keep reminding himself.

//"Jack, I..."//

Her voice kept fading in and out. He had to hear her voice. He had to
hear what she was saying. He had a feeling it was important, whatever it
was she was saying.

//"Jack, I love you."// She smiled.

She smiled. At him. She loved him. //Who is she?//

He couldn't remember her name. Why couldn't he remember her name? He knew
he loved her. That much was obvious. The way she made him feel, the way
she looked at him, smiled at him. Loved him.

He could feel himself reciprocating those feelings, and reacting to them.
His heart skipped a beat whenever she smiled at him, whenever he thought
about her smile. He couldn't remember anything specific, yet he knew he
should. It was tormenting him. What kind of man was he if he couldn't
remember the name of the woman he loved?

She reached out and took his hand. She laid his hand against her stomach
where a small mound was apparent. He could feel her warm skin against his
hand, and something more. The skin under his hand moved. His eyes flew to
hers. She smiled.

"Our baby," she said.

Jack felt it again. A light little kick from the inside of her womb.
Baby. His baby. Their baby! He smiled, or he thought he did. He wasn't
sure of much of anything right now, except for the fact that the woman he
loved was having his baby.

All too soon though, he was yanked away from his pleasant surroundings
and back to the pain-enthralled torture chamber. The suddenness of the
pain of his body and his heart caused a gut wrenching sob to escape his
mouth. Jack cut it off quickly knowing that any emotion shown only fueled
the sick twisted minds of his tormentors. His mind drifted into the all-
consuming blackness that guaranteed at least a short escape from the
pain.

*******************

Sam sat in the rocking chair in the baby's room. The lights were off and
the room was chilled, but she didn't seem to notice or care.

//He's been captured by Bastet.//

The words were a lament, echoing through her head, torturing her.

//Captured by Bastet.//

Two months and they were still no closer to finding him. She didn't even
know if he was alive.

I thought I felt you touch my cheek this morning
But I musta been dreamin'

Tears slid unbidden down her cheeks. She felt so alone without him, the
house felt so empty. Only in this room did she feel less alone. He had
shown her this room the night he had proposed to her, the night she
thought they would spent the rest of their lives together.

And in the middle of the night without a warning
I thought I heard you breathin'

Now, her baby probably was not going to have its father. It was so
unfair. What had they ever done to deserve this?

Me and my so-called independence
I've got this loneliness that's so relentless

She wiped at her eyes, the cool metal of her ring brushing across her
cheek. She looked down at it, glinting softly in the moonlight that
flowed through the window. It was a symbol of his love for her, a symbol
of what was to be their future together.

Sam still held steadfastly to the belief that he was still alive,
somewhere out there. Even after so long, he had to be alive. She knew
that if she ever lost that belief she would be lost forever without him.

I guess you get used to somebody
Kind of like havin' them around

The tears still streamed down her cheeks. She had done this every night
since her father had told her, retreated to this room to let out the
emotions that she suppressed all day. She felt so useless at the SGC,
unable to help with the search that the SG teams and the Tok'ra were
partaking in, confined to her lab trying to study machinery that she no
longer had any interest in studying.

I guess you get used to the way they make you happy
Bring you up when you're feeling down

Her heart lay somewhere across the galaxy, and she wouldn't be complete
until she was reunited with it once again. "Oh, Jack," she cried,
"Please, come back to me."
I never dreamed when I was letting you go
That I would wake up and miss you this much

There was no answer, her voice echoed hollowly in the empty room. Her
hand drifted down to the small swell of her belly, she could feel the
fluttering sensation that told her the baby was moving. It was comforting
to her, to feel that little life moving inside her. At least if they
never found him, she would have that much of Jack in her child ... their
child.

I guess you get used to somebody
I guess you get used to being loved

Janet had told her that she could tell the sex of the baby now. Sam
didn't want to know. She wanted the sex to be one final surprise from
Jack if he was never to come home. Oh, he has to come home. I need him.

Sam sat up hopefully at the sound of a key sliding in the lock of the
front door. Shoulders slumping miserably, she slid back down on the seat;
they would have called her if he had been found.

"Sam?"

It was Daniel. She wondered if he would go away if she ignored him. For a
brief moment she regretted giving Daniel and Janet a key to the house,
but they had both insisted and she couldn't refuse them.

"Sam? Are you there?"

//Great,// she thought bitterly, //it's both of them.// She swiped at her
face angrily. Why couldn't they just leave her alone?

"I'm here," Sam croaked in reply, her voice scratchy and raw from crying.

Resting her head against the padded headrest, she closed her eyes. She
didn't want visitors, if they wanted to see her they could come to her.
She wasn't going to go out of her way to accommodate anyone.

"Here you are!" Janet's head popped around the door, a smile on her face.

"What do you want?" Sam sighed.

This had happened nearly every night for the last two months. She came
home; one of them would turn up to check on her. In the beginning she
hadn't been bothered; she knew they were worried about her and the baby.
But now ... all she wanted was to be alone with her grief, and they
weren't letting her do that.

After the first couple of weeks, she had dropped into a deep depression.
She kept denying the fact that Jack was gone. Her mind told her to accept
it, but her heart refused. Even now, after two months of wondering,
worrying, crying, and praying, she still couldn't dismiss the feeling
down deep in her heart.

Janet and Daniel had been very attentive the whole time. They hadn't let
her leave their presence for more than a couple of hours. Janet
had noticed her not eating and the signs of fatigue on her face. But no
matter what she couldn't get them to go away and leave her alone. She
knew they meant well, but if she accepted their help and aid, she might
as well close the case so to speak of ever expecting Jack back home. And
she couldn't do that. She couldn't and wouldn't let herself do that.

Janet ignored her snappish comment and stepped into the room. "Oh Sam,
it's freezing in here, why haven't you put the fire on?"

Sam glanced up at her. Janet was standing at arms length, her face etched
with concern. "What are you ... my mother?" she snapped angrily. "I'm not
cold Janet. Why can't you just leave me alone?"

"Because you're not looking after yourself and your baby, Sam. If we
leave you alone who knows what will happen to the two of you. I'm your
doctor and your friend; I can't let anything happen to you. Either of
you."

Janet squatted down in front of her, placing her hand softly on Sam's
knee. "You have to snap out of this Sam. This is no way to live your
live, shutting yourself away and pining for Jack. He wouldn't want to see
you like this any more than we do."

Daniel's head popped around the doorway. "I've got everything Jan," he
said quietly, glancing in Sam's direction. "Hey Sam."

Sam ignored him, focusing instead on Janet. "What does he mean by that?"

Janet stood and took her hand. "You're coming with us even if we have to
drag you out of the house kicking and screaming."

Fixing her sharp gaze on Daniel, she jerked her hand away from Janet. She
couldn't believe this. "No, I'm not going anywhere. Don't you get it? I
just want to be alone."

Janet looked at her with sorrow lighting her eyes. She couldn't stand
seeing Sam like this. "Sam, this isn't healthy for you ... or the baby."

"Why don't you understand? I want ... no ... I *have* to be here. This is
the only place I feel near Jack." Sam said choking on a sob.

Janet gathered Sam into her arms. "Just let it out Sam. Let it all out."

Sam's sobs grew to heart wrenching wails as she finally let the impact of
it all catch up to her. She realized then that she couldn't do it by
herself anymore.

*******************

Daniel carefully deposited Sam's sleeping form on Cassie's bed. When
she'd had her breakdown, she cried so long and hard that she had
exhausted herself.

Janet had been adamant about not leaving Sam there alone again, as they
had for the past two months. Daniel had tucked Sam's bags in Janet's car
and then carried Sam out and made sure she was settled comfortably.

Janet had told him, with this being such a critical time in Sam's
pregnancy, they would have to keep a close eye on her. Though, Janet
didn't have to tell him, he could see for himself. It wasn't a good sign
that she was closing herself off from her friends. Even her work, which
used to be so important to her, was suffering.

Daniel berated himself everyday for not convincing Jack to stay. He knew
it hadn't been such a good idea for Jack to accept the mission so soon
after his injury, and after finding out that Sam was pregnant. He should
have taken more time to recuperate. He should have passed up the
mission. He should have stayed with Sam. No matter how much he told
himself that Jack was a mature adult and could make rational decisions,
Daniel still blamed himself to a degree for letting Jack go.

At first, after they found out Jack had been captured; they all thought
it would only be a matter of time before he was recovered. Jack O'Neill
had been through rough situations before and had always survived. Why
should this time be any different they all thought. The only difference
being that this time he had more at stake--a baby on the way and a
promised marriage.

Janet had come to stand next to Daniel and put her arms around him,
without him realizing it. They looked down at Sam, knowing this had to
be the first decent sleep she had gotten in weeks. Daniel gathered Janet
into his arms, cherishing his own gift.

Janet sighed sorrowfully. "Why is it, that when two people are meant to
be together, they are constantly torn apart?"

"I don't know hon. I can't understand it myself." He said as he pressed a
kiss to her forehead. She leant her head against his chest. He felt a
dampness soaking through his shirt.

"I really thought that with the baby, they would finally have a chance
for true happiness. Lord knows they needed some," Janet said through her
tears.

Daniel knew as well as she did that neither Jack nor Sam had had a
pleasant life. After the initial shock wore off, he was ecstatic for his
friends. If anyone deserved to be together and be happy it was Sam and
Jack. But now, by a twist of fate, their happiness was ripped out from
under them. All of Sam's initial worries about having to raise this
child on her own, all came crashing back to Earth.

When she first found out that she was going to have a baby, she had
convinced herself that Jack wouldn't want anything to do with it, however
untrue that turned out to be. Though they themselves didn't even know
what to expect at the time, they had backed Sam's decision. They had
been fully prepared to help her raise her baby. Then when Jack finally
came to his senses about his whole relationship with Sam, not only was
*he* thrilled but everyone else was too. They had still wanted to be a
part of Jack and Sam's baby's life; they were just overjoyed that the
baby would have its father.

Now though, it was as if their well laid-out plans had suddenly been
erased. Janet and Daniel still planned on giving Sam any support she may
need.

*******************

Jack was thrown bodily into his cell, the air driven from his chest, his
mind a daze of twisted memories and emotions. Gasping, he battled to
drive air back into his lungs, taking huge breaths that only serve to
make his broken ribs protest.

He rolled onto his back, his sweat-soaked stomach covered in dirt from
the ground. Closing his eyes, he fought the pain that the movement
caused, not only from his ribs, but also from the myriad of bruises and
cuts that covered his back and abdomen. His wrist was broken; it had been
for some time.

Blackness floated in front of him. He wasn't sure if it was actually dark
or if he'd lost his vision again. A wave of nausea rolled over him.
Pushing himself onto his side, vision flecking with the pain, he retched
violently, bringing up only bile. He hadn't eaten in days, and had only
been given a tiny mouthful of water several hours ago. If you could even
call it water. It wasn't fit for animals to drink.

He lay back, his energy wasting away, and closed his eyes again. It was
the only way to make the pain fade back to a tolerable level. His head
pounded constantly from the lack of food and water and from the no doubt
multiple concussions he had suffered in the time he had been here.

Here. He didn't even know where here was. Since he had been captured he
had been moved numerous times. No doubt to keep him from memorizing his
surroundings, should he escape. And that had been on his mind constantly.
Escape. Though the thought had dulled to the furthest reaches of his
mind. Ebbing there, should he care to act on it.

Time had lost all meaning to him. He had not slept in weeks, of that he
was certain. A painful cacophony of sounds filled the room from tiny
speakers making it impossible to sleep. He did not know where he was, or
how he had gotten there. He remembered almost nothing of his life before
this misery began only the little images that flashed before him in the
few small moments of sleep he occasionally managed to grab.

He could remember a woman, she was very important to him. Sam. That's
what the little visions told him her name was. She was having his baby.
He saw images of people that he assumed were his friends, but nothing
tangible enough to hold on to. Except for her, he had to live; he had to
get home to her and their baby.

Her smile. He remembered her smile. It kept flashing through his mind.
Sometimes he could almost smile back, but the left side of his face had
been crushed, making it painful to do so. It was beautiful; it made this
wretched life worth living. It helped him hold on to the belief that he
would live to see it again.

The sound of someone outside his door was unmistakable. Please, not
again! With a burst of energy, he pulled himself across to the far corner
of the cell and cowered in the shadows that lay there. The Goa'uld,
Bastet, took great pleasure in torturing people. He could not remember
her or her Jaffa ever asking him any questions; his torture sessions were
silent except for his screams.

//What could they possibly want from me,// he thought. He knew nothing.
Or at least he thought he knew nothing. //Crap!// Now he was confusing
himself.

They normally gave him time to recoup before each session. If they were
coming for him now, did it mean that she had grown tired of him, found a
new subject to torture? He wouldn't let them take him without a fight.
He needed to focus. He couldn't pass out again. If he passed out, he was
afraid he wouldn't wake up the next time. And he had to wake up. He had
to get out of here.

Footsteps approached him quietly, too quietly. Something was wrong. They
were going to kill him. He tried to fight back the panic that was
suddenly growing in him. He had to live! A hand touched his shoulder
gently, something was said to him, but his mind didn't register it.

With a feral growl he grabbed the hand and moved with a speed and agility
that the Jaffa wouldn't have expected. He twisted the arm until he heard
the crack. Dropping it with satisfaction, he stood, driving his fist into
their face. Another satisfying crack sounded as his assailant's nose
broke.

"Jack!" a voice yelled.

Jack stopped suddenly, his fist still raised, his other hand still
gripping the front of his assailant's shirt. Another man stood in the
doorway, too small to be a Jaffa. He was dressed in the robes of a
Goa'uld. Was that his name he was calling? The Jaffa had never called him
anything but human before. He let go of the shirt in his hand, the person
falling to the ground with an agonized moan.

"Jack," the man repeated, raising his hands as if to show he meant no
harm. "We're here to help you Jack. We're here to get you out."

Jack tilted his head, studying the man intensely. He looked familiar, but
this had happened before. He had thought someone had looked familiar and
it had been a trick, a new method of torture. He looked down at the man
on the floor; he was holding his nose, his broken arm held tightly
against his stomach.

"Jack please," the man sounded desperate. "It's me, Jacob."

The name meant nothing to him. He couldn't remember a Jacob. It must be a
trick, they're trying to fool me into believing they're something they
aren't. Placing a swift kick into the stomach of the man on the ground he
rounded on the other one. He crossed the room in two steps, gathering the
front of the man's robes in his fist.

Fear flickered across his face. Jack had nothing to lose; he would kill
him if he had to. He could tell by the other man's face, by Jacob's face
that he saw it too. His other hand groped for Jacob's throat and
squeezed. Jacob's hands wrapped around his wrist, trying to pull them off
as his eyes bulged. Jack only squeezed harder.

"Sam..." Was the only word that managed to escape Jacob's lips.

Jack released his throat and robes in surprise, sending Jacob slumping to
the ground, hands around his throat as he lay gasping for breath. He
studied the man again, feeling that sense of familiarity once again. Jack
had never mentioned Sam during his torture sessions, no one here knew who
she was. Did they manage to get inside his head on top of everything
else? Is that how Jacob knew her name?

Jacob had pushed himself up onto his hands and knees, still gasping. "You
have to trust me Jack. This isn't one of Bastet's tricks. We're here to
take you back to Sam."

Unwillingly, he held his good hand out to the man. He did not trust him,
but something deep down told him to believe him. Jacob took his hand and
stood, his eyes traveling up and down Jack's battered body, before
brushing past him and helping the other man up.

Jack stood rooted in place, trying to get his mind around what was
happening. He was leaving here; he was going home to Sam. It didn't seem
real, none of it did. It seemed like some far-fetched dream. Reality to
him was pain and beatings.

Something brushed his shoulder. He jerked away from it, half-twisting, a
low growl forming in his throat. Jacob was behind him holding up some
dark brown robes. Jack stepped warily away from him.

"Jack you have to put it on or we won't get out of here."

Inching forward he reached out and snatched the robes from Jacob,
wrapping them around his body awkwardly with one hand. It was course,
aggravating the multitude of cuts on his body, but he didn't care.

He was going back to Sam.

*******************

Sam lay on the bed her eyes closed, but not asleep. She had been faking
it for the past few minutes, waiting for Janet and Daniel to leave the
room. They pitied her, she just knew it. She didn't want pity. She
didn't want to be felt sorry for. She just wanted Jack.

I kinda miss those ramblin' conversations
Where we talk about nothin'

She rolled over onto her back and drew her hand up to her swollen
stomach. She felt the baby move, causing her mouth to lift slightly.
The baby started moving around about a month ago. She can't believe that
Jack missed the first kick of their baby. He would have loved to have
felt it. When she had to go to her first ultra sound alone, it nearly
killed her. Jack had been so looking forward to it. He had been talking
of hardly anything else since he found out. Especially after he got the
baby's room all fixed up.

The way you always made me laugh at my frustrations
Baby that was somethin'

She talked to the baby all the time. Mostly about its father. She knew
it probably wasn't doing her any good, to constantly dredge it up, but it
was the only way for her to hang onto Jack. Until she had evidence,
hardcore, able to be touched evidence, she would not believe that Jack
was dead.

I should've been careful what I wished for
Cause I've got my freedom and so much more

When Jack was trapped on Edora all those years ago, for more than three
months, she never gave up the search. No matter what people said, she
hadn't let herself stop until he was found.

I guess you get used to somebody
Kind of like havin' them around

This time though...She shook her head clearing images ingrained in her
mind...she couldn't think about this time. Because Jack was coming back.
Alive.

I guess you get used to the way they make you happy
Bring you up when your feeling down
I never dreamed when I was letting you go
That I would wake up and miss you this much

Sam curled up on her side, the soft light from the hallway leaking in
through the crack in the door. It felt good to lie down at least. She
hadn't allowed herself this comfort for quite a while. She closed her
eyes again, and started singing softly. It was a lullaby that she
remembered her mother singing to her when she was a child. She hadn't
heard it in years, but it somehow came bubbling to the surface. She told
herself she was singing to soothe the baby, but deep down she knew it was
to ease her own troubled soul.

I never dreamed when I was letting you go
That I would wake up and miss you this much

She must have dozed off because the next thing she knew she heard the
blaring ring of the telephone down the hallway. She looked at the
bedside clock. 0230. Who would be calling Janet's at this time of
night. She strained to hear the voices down the hallway. It was Janet
and Daniel talking urgently, but softly. She was curious as to what was
happening. She sat up and prepared to get off the bed to find out, when
Janet rushed into the room in a flurry of motion.

Janet seemed only mildly surprised that Sam was already awake. "Sam we
have to get to the SGC. They've found Jack. And he's alive."

Sam was struck speechless, but she allowed Janet to help her bundle up
for the journey to the mountain. And Jack.

*******************

Sam hurried through the corridors of the SGC, Janet and Daniel trailing
behind in her wake. All her energy was focused on getting down to the
infirmary, going to Jack. She didn't want to think about what she might
find when she got there.

When they reached the Infirmary level Janet took her arm, stopping her.
Her face looked stern and worried. "Sam, he's in the observation room.
The General warned me that he's in bad shape, he won't let anyone near
him and he won't talk. Sam, I don't want him to do anything to harm you
and the baby."

"He won't harm us Janet," Sam scoffed impatiently. She wanted to see
him; she had to see him *now*.

"Sam, I'm only asking you to be careful. You have to calm him down
enough so I can check his injuries."

"I know Janet."

Brushing her hand off, Sam continued down the corridor. A feral kind of
scream was coming from the observation room, echoing up the corridor to
her ears. //That couldn't be Jack, could it?// It sounded more like an
animal than man. She quickened her pace. What was happening to him?

Rounding the corner she ran into her father. He looked tired, but a
relieved smile filled his face when he saw her. "Sammy." He pulled her
into his arms, hugging her tightly to his chest.

"How is he Dad?"

One look at his face told her everything she needed to know. It had been
a long time since she had seen her father look as anguished as he did
now. It took her breath away. "He knows who you are Sammy. That's all
that matters," he replied, brushing his lips across her forehead.

A loud crash from the observation room pulled them apart. There was a
moan of pain and then silence. Jacob cupped her face, looking deep into
her eyes. "Sammy, things might not look so good now, but they will get
better. You have him back now". He pressed another kiss to her
forehead. "Do you want Teal'c to go in with you just in case you need any
help?"

It was only then that Sam noticed Teal'c standing tensely by the doorway,
a zat clutched ready in his hand as he peered through the glass on the
door. Moving away from her father, she stepped up to Teal'c. "It is a
relief that you have finally arrived Samantha Carter," he said in
greeting, his attention not leaving the door.

"Thanks Teal'c," she replied, reaching out to touch his arm. "Will you
stay out here? I'll call out if I need any help." Teal'c simply
inclined his head in acquiescence.

Taking a deep breath, Sam opened the door and took a couple of steps
inside. She heard a scuffling sound and looked in its direction. What
she saw would be etched into her memory forever. Nothing could ever have
prepared her for the sight before her. She stood there for a long time,
rooted in place and helpless.

Jack was crouched in the far corner of the room, watching her warily. He
was almost unrecognizable from the man he had been. His face was partly
in shadow, the left side of his face swollen, his cheek and nose
noticeably broken. His breathing was ragged, frightened.

He was almost naked, clothed only in a loincloth that barely covered his
midsection decently. He was emaciated, his face hollow and drawn.
Almost every visible inch of his body was covered in bruises, cuts and
grime. He was filthy.

Inwardly Sam groaned and fought to stifle the sob that formed in her
throat. What had they done to him? She knew she couldn't let him she
how upset his appearance made her, schooling her expression she took a
cautious step forward.

Jack backed up, somehow managing to squeeze himself deeper into the
corner, flinching away from her. His eyes were wild, searching
everywhere for a means to escape. He grunted in pain.

Sam stopped moving. She was still several feet away from him. Slowly
she squatted down so she was at eye level with him. "Jack, it's me. It's
Sam," she kept her voice quiet, not wanting to startle him any more than
he already was.

He tilted his head, an almost bird-like motion, his eyes looking her up
and down. His body was still except for his eyes. Sam inched forward
slowly, stopping after every foot to make certain she wasn't scaring him.
She had no idea how he might react if he freaked out. //Was Dad wrong?
Did he not recognize me at all?//

She was unaware of the passing of time as she crawled closer to him. She
kept her eyes on his, trying to keep him calm, to show him that she was
no threat to him. Finally she was in front of him, her knees almost
brushing his.

Tentatively, she reached out and touched his knee. His reaction was
instantaneous. He screamed the same animalistic sound she had heard
outside in the corridor. He jerked away from her, standing and pressing
himself against the wall, knocking Sam over in the process. His eyes
were wide, terrified; he was shaking.

Sam stood up facing him, holding her arms out in front of her, trying to
show him that she was no threat. "Jack, it is me. It's Sam," she told
him tenderly. "You're home Jack. Your safe, you're with me now ... and
our baby." She pressed a hand to her belly, attempting to show him the
burgeoning mound that was their unborn child.

Tears were streaming down Jack's cheeks, but his gaze had followed her
hand. He studied it for a long time, confusion creasing the undamaged
side of his face. Slowly, Sam inched closer again, trying to soothe him
with the sound of her voice. "Nothing is going to hurt you again baby. I
promise you, no one will ever hurt you again."

Reaching up, she gently cupped his unmarred cheek with her hand. Jack
flinched, but didn't pull away. A realization seemed to take hold of
him. The uncertainty in his features seemed to ebb away, only to be
replaced by disbelief. His mouth opened, he was saying something, but no
sound came out.

Sam was certain that it was her name that he had mouthed. "Yes, it's me
Jack. I'm real."

Jack's shoulders began shaking forcefully, his face twisting in misery.
Sam stepped forward, pulling him to her. Mindful of his battered body
she wrapped her arms around him and held him as he wept. She could feel
how thin and bony he suddenly was. "Its okay, Jack, let it out."

A sob rose in her throat. They had broken him, broken his mind as well
as his body. Despite all his Black Ops training they had managed to
break him. What had they done to him? He hadn't even known she was
real. She bit the tears back, knowing that she had to be strong for him.
She had to help him get through this.

His sobs subsided quickly and as much as she didn't want to let him go,
she knew that Janet had to check his injuries. Sam had no idea how she
was going to coax Jack into letting Janet examine him. Her hand was
slowly stroking up and down his back, a soothing motion. He was still
tense; his arms still lay stiffly at his side.

Sam didn't hear the low growl forming in his throat, didn't notice the
growing tenseness in his body until it was too late. When he did move it
was with a swiftness that she had never seen before, the speed of a man
acting purely on instinct. One of his arms shot out, wrapping itself
firmly around her throat, his other hand gripping one of her arms firmly
in front of her.

"Trick!" he yelled, the first cognitive thing she had heard from him.
His voice was raw and gravelly from lack of use. His face contorted
angrily as Sam's free hand groped up to grip his wrist futilely. His
grip tightened and she gasped weakly from a combination of lack of oxygen
and pain.

The door burst open behind her and instantly she realized why he had
assumed it was a trick. She couldn't cry out, tell them to go, couldn't
plead to Jack that he was mistaken. She was completely helpless to do
anything.

He had just seen Teal'c.

Her vision was fading; she wasn't going to last much longer if she didn't
do something. Instinctively, she raised her knee forcefully and it
connected with his groin. He groaned, his fingers loosening on her
throat enough for her to push him back.

Sam fell to her knees, drawing deep breaths, trying to force precious
oxygen back into her lungs. Her shocked mind struggled to comprehend
what had just happened. Glancing up at Jack, she saw him looking past
her, rooted in place, a look of betrayal on his face. He was whimpering
softly in fear.

//Oh god, Teal'c!//

Sam stood quickly, ignoring the wave of lightheadedness that washed over
her. Turning to face Teal'c, she made sure her body shielded Jack from
the Jaffa. As she had anticipated Teal'c was standing inside the
doorway, his zat raised and aimed in their direction. Janet stood
anxiously behind him, Jacob next to her, looking ready to do murder.

"Teal'c, get out!" she yelled breathlessly. It hurt to talk. "He doesn't
know you ... he's scared!"

Jack moaned softly behind her, incoherent and terrified. Sam spared a
backward glance at him, forcing a smile to try and placate him. His
moaning stopped; he froze, staring back at her with an intensity she had
never seen before.

Teal'c still had his zat raised. He looked at her pensively. "I am only
trying to protect you and your unborn child Samantha Carter."

"I know that Teal'c, but he doesn't. Please Teal'c," she pleaded. She
started swaying slightly, her throat was throbbing. Jack's grip had done
more damage then simply cutting off her air, but she couldn't let it
show. She had to help him.

Janet stepped forward, forcing Teal'c to lower the zat. "She's right,
Teal'c." She met Sam's eyes. "Are you okay Sam?"

Sam nodded. "I'm fine Janet," she lied, she felt anything but okay. "Can
you get me a sedative? There's no way he's gonna let you examine him."

Janet nodded, and she pushed Teal'c out of the room. Jacob stayed where
he was, concern shining in his eyes. "Are you sure you don't want
somebody to stay in here with you, Sammy?"

"No Dad. I was getting through to him before; we just need to be alone."
Jacob nodded and quietly left the room.

Sam had already turned her attention back to Jack. She wanted to sit
down, she felt dizzy, but she couldn't. She didn't want to do anything to
make him nervous. That same impenetrable gaze was still fixed on her. His
arm drifted out to touch her cheek tentatively, as if he was trying to
assure himself that she was real.

"Sa ... Sammy?" he choked out uncertainly. His eyes drifted down to look
at her lips. "Smile," he muttered dreamily. He closed his eyes, his arm
dropping back to his side, as he seemed to lose himself in a memory.

Sam watched him uncertainly. //Smile? What on Earth did he mean by
that?// She wracked her brain trying to try and work out what he meant
by his comment. She was clueless. "Yeah, Jack, it's me. It's Sammy,"
she replied, forcing a smile.

Jack's eyes opened slowly and he studied her for a moment with that
impenetrable stare. A slow smile spread across the undamaged side of his
face as he reached out and touched her cheek again, his fingers brushing
her lips. "Smile," he whispered.

It dawned on Sam then what he meant. "Is that what you remembered Jack,
my smile?" she asked, taking his hand in hers.

He nodded slightly an almost child-like gesture. "Smile." He squeezed
her hand in his, his eyes drifting down to look at her neck. Horror
filled his features as he looked at it saw the damage he had done. His
face crumpled and tears began to course down his cheeks. He pulled his
hand out of her grip, backing away from her.

His back came into contact with the wall and he slid down it until he was
sitting on the floor. He buried his face in his hands, sobs shaking his
shoulders. Sam squatted down opposite him, touching his knee gently. He
tried to shake her off but she relented, moving her hand up to grip his
shoulder.

"Jack, I know you didn't hurt me intentionally," she whispered, leaning
in closer to him. She gripped his wrists, pulling them away from his
face. He gave a little pained moan before she noticed the swelling of
his left wrist and loosening her grip. "Jack, look at me," she told him
forcefully.

His head snapped up, sad eyes focusing on hers. Letting go of his hands
she reached up to cup his face, wiping the tears away with her thumbs.
She couldn't think of what to say to him that might calm him down. It
felt so good to be touching him, to have him there in front of her, and
not just in her imagination. She said the words that she wanted to say
to him for the last two months, her voice thick with unshed tears.

"I love you Jack. I'm so glad your back with me."

His face lit up; relief flooding his features as a fresh bout of tears
filled his eyes. Sam shifted so she was kneeling in front of him and
pulled him forward into her arms. His arms wrapped around her, and
finally she felt complete. She melted into his arms, sobbing with him as
she released two months worth of pent up grief.

*******************

Janet looked down at the sleeping form of the Colonel, a frown creasing
her forehead. How he had managed to survive his ordeal was beyond her.
She rubbed at her eyes tiredly; it was going to take months for his body
to heal. Who knew how long it would take for his mind to heal too? He
was lucky to be alive.

She slid down in the seat next to his bed warily and closed her eyes. It
was only the beginning, they were still running tests to try and get an
idea of the extent of his injuries. His CAT scan almost made her heart
stop. Apart from the more obvious injuries, the broken wrist, his
shattered face, the CAT scan had shown breaks that were almost healed,
breaks that he had had to cope with without the aid of medicine.

They had to wait for specialists to arrive before they could deal with
most of his injuries. As much as she hated to admit it, some of his
wounds were beyond her skill to heal, so she had commissioned the help of
some of the best orthopedic surgeons in the country.

The hard part was going to be keeping him calm until the specialists
arrived. She didn't want to have to resort to sedating him, but if it
came down to it she might have to. Sam was the only person who seemed to
be able to reach him, but she couldn't be with him all the time.

Janet's eyes opened. //Had they found her yet?// Sam had disappeared
shortly after hearing the results of the CAT scan. Teal'c, Daniel and
Jacob had been scouring the base for more than an hour trying to find
her. Janet was more than a little worried for her friend; her only
relief was she had been able to examine the damage to Sam's throat before
she had disappeared.

She knew this must be hitting Sam hard. After so long waiting for Jack
to be found, seeing the state he was in, his memory loss. They all knew
it was going to be a long, hard road to recovery for him. Janet knew
that Sam had to be scared that Jack would have lost something of himself
as a result.

Janet had high hopes for Jack's recovery though. He was a fighter, he
always had been. She had seen his files, she knew that he had been to
the edge of hell and come back several times. This time was different
too, this time he had motivation and support in the form of Samantha
Carter and their unborn child. He would pull through. He would be back
to himself before they knew it.

A head peeked through the curtain, startling her until she realized it
was Daniel. "Did you find her?" she asked before he had a chance to
speak.

Daniel smiled and stepped into the cubicle, his gaze drifting to Jack's
sleeping form. "Yeah, she was up on the surface. Jacob found her; he's
with her now in her quarters."

Janet let out a let sigh of relief. She watched Daniel as he stepped up
to the bed and looked sadly down at his friend. He reached out
cautiously and touched the undamaged side of Jack's face. "I didn't
believe we would ever get him back alive Janet," he whispered sadly. "Is
he going to be okay?"

Standing, Janet closed the gap between them and wrapped her arms around
his waist. "It's Jack, Daniel, of course he'll be okay. He'll bounce
back just like he always does," she replied optimistically.

"Of course he will," a voice scoffed.

Turning they watched as Sam entered the cubicle, her eyes red and puffy
from crying. Janet's eyes drifted down to the ugly red marks on her
throat, it was just bruising, but it was a frightening sight. Jack had
done that, in a fit of confusion and fear.

Sam's eyes were glued to Jack. She crossed the cubicle and took his hand
in her own, perching herself in the seat next to his bed. "Has there been
any change?"

"No," Janet replied. "But he's exhausted, so there's no telling when he
might wake up."

"Yeah I know," Sam sighed, her gaze never wavering from Jack. "Can we be
alone please?"

"Sure," Janet replied, taking a firm grip of Daniel's arm and pulling him
behind her. "You know where I am if you need me." She called behind her
as she made her way out of the cubicle.

*******************

Jack woke to a sensation that he had not felt for as long as he could
remember ... no pain. The pain was still there, throbbing away but its
intensity had been shaved away so it was no more than a minor annoyance.
For a fleeting moment he wondered if he was dead, then a memory flashed
before him.

Sam. He was back with her. The men at his prison had told him the truth
when they told him they were taking him back to her. He was home now, if
only he could remember what that home was. The faces were all familiar
to him, he felt like he should know them, but he didn't.

He stretched slightly, and regretted the movement. Pain arched through
him for a brief moment before he stilled himself. His movement was
enough to feel something unexpected at his fingertips. Hair. He opened
his eyes, tilting his head to the side enough to find out who it was.

The short blonde hair told him who it was instantly. It was a little
longer than it was in his memories, but it was her all the same. Her
face was looking away from him, but by her breathing he guessed she was
asleep.

His eyes drifted around the room, taking in everything around him. The
room was bare, except for the bed he was laying on, the chair Sam was
sitting on and the strange equipment around his bed. There was only one
wall at his head, and three curtains acting as walls. He wasn't in a
cell. //Where am I?//

There was something familiar about the room; something tickled the back
of his mind, telling him that he knew this place. He couldn't put a name
to it, couldn't remember anything about it. The only thing he knew was
that he felt safe here. Nothing could harm him here.

Sighing, he closed his eyes, he was so tired. The glinting of something
metal flashed through his mind. He could almost feel its startling cold
in contrast to the fire in his body as it scraped threateningly against
his chest. He bit his lip, trying to bit back the frustration that he
felt, trying to prepare himself for the pain that was to follow. A moan
escaped his lips. Something touched his chest, not a knife ... a hand.
He let out a shout, jerking his body away from it.

"Jack!" The voice was urgent and insistent.

His eyes shot open, he was looking up at Sam. Her eyes were wide with
worry and surprise; her hand was on his chest. He lay there gasping for
breath, unwilling to close his eyes. Sam's eyes held him; just looking
at them helped to steady his breathing.

"Are you okay Jack? What happened?"

Jack took her hand in his, more to convince himself that she was actually
there and not just a figment of his imagination. He smiled in relief
when she squeezed his hand comfortingly. "Memories," he replied quietly,
finally finding his voice. It still felt strange to talk.

A clicking sound interrupted his thoughts, it was getting closer. One of
the curtains swung open and a petite brunette in a white overcoat stepped
in. She, like everyone and everything else looked familiar. He had seen
her the night before.

"What happened?" the brunette asked, moving closer to the bed, studying
Jack with concern. Instinctively, Jack shied away from her. "It's okay
Jack, I'm not going to hurt you. Don't you remember me?"

Jack shook his head, glancing up at Sam. "No," he muttered, clutching at
Sam's hand like it was his lifeline.

"That's okay Jack. I'm Dr Fraiser ... Janet," she replied gently, a
smile on her face. "Now, what happened?"

"He said it was memories. I think he was having a flashback or
something," Sam supplied.

"Oh," Janet replied.

Janet's attention shifted back to Jack. She smiled warmly, but he could
see it was forced. A word popped into his head as he shied back further
from her. Needles. He pushed himself back, feeling the edge of the bed
under his palm and unable to explain the sudden, irrational, dislike that
he was feeling.

"No needles ... please."

Janet looked at him, a mildly surprised expression on her face. She
smiled slowly,"Don't worry Jack, no needles." She glanced quickly at
Sam, flashing a quick, almost imperceptible grin. "The specialists will
be arriving within the hour to fix the damage to your face."

Unconsciously, Jack's hand drifted to his cheek. Sometimes he forgot
about it. Pain had been such a constant companion to him that he had
stopped paying attention to each individual ache; it was easier for him
to deal with it all as a whole. He knew he probably would have gone nuts
if he hadn't dealt with it that way. He'd probably have given up and
died.

"How?" he mumbled.

Janet sighed; perching herself down on Sam's vacated seat. Jack didn't
shrink away from her. He lowered his eyes self-consciously. He hadn't
seen his face for a long time, but it felt swollen and bloated with the
numbness.

"I don't exactly know what they'll do Jack," she replied, her voice
drawing his eyes back to her. "We may not know for certain until they
examine you, but depending on the damage to the bone they might have to
insert a plate in your cheek."

Jack didn't understand most of what she had just told him, though one
single thought reverberated through his mind. "Pain."

Janet shifted forward in her seat slightly, her face serious. She
reached out a hand and touched his knee gently. He flinched, but didn't
pull away; Sam seemed to trust her. "I won't lie to you Jack, there will
be pain," she said frankly. "But we have medication that can ease the
pain and it won't be any worse that what you've already suffered."

Jack nodded. If Sam trusted her it was enough for him. He loved her, he
trusted her completely. If she told him that someone was a friend, that
he could trust them, he would believe her, even for that Jaffa that he
had seen when he first got here.

*******************

Sam closed her eyes, resting her head back against the wall. It was
going to be a long wait, she knew that, but she was unwilling to move
from where she was. Everyone had told her to go home, to get some much-
needed rest, but she couldn't. She had to know he was going to be okay.

Of course, she knew he was going to be. He was in the hands of the best
doctors the Air Force had to offer. She was still apprehensive she
couldn't help herself. Jack was vulnerable at the moment, more than she
had ever seen him, so naturally she felt the need to protect him.

She felt like she was a mass of confused and conflicting emotions at the
moment. She was relieved and overjoyed to have Jack back, but she had
never expected him to be in the state he was. Granted, he was improving
rapidly since that first time she had seen him in the Observation Room,
but his memory was still seemed no closer to being restored.

It was flattering and more than a little disconcerting that he could
remember her, remember their baby, and yet could not remember any
specific moments of the five years they had known each other, the four
months that they were together. Would he ever get his memories back?

That was her fear, that he would never remember the key moments that
formed their friendship, molded their feelings into what they were today.
The day she kissed him in the locker room, the time they were stuck in
Antarctica, the Zatarc incident, Jonah and Thera, Jack being forced to
kill her when she was possessed by the entity. They were all integral to
the unique and loving relationship they had formed, yet all he could
remember were his feelings for her and not the moments that had nurtured
those feelings.

Janet had assured her that it was the trauma, the no doubt constant
injuries to his skull that had caused the amnesia. She was confident
that his memories would come back in time, especially after he remembered
his aversion to Janet and needles. Sam wanted to know how long it was
going to take, and if there was anything that she could do to help it
along.

Opening her eyes, she stood as an idea struck her. Maybe she should go
home and rest, and bring back some mementos of Jack's past when she came
back in. Surely they might help bring his memories back. With a sense
of purpose she left the mountain and headed back home.

*******************

The woman was watching him, a cold smile on her beautiful face, and an
evil gleam in her eyes. Her eyes shifted quickly to the huge man
standing next to him and moments later the pain increased a hundredfold.
He gasped; barely managing to keep himself from losing consciousness as
he felt like he was being torn limb from limb.

"Cry out," she taunted cruelly. "Yell. Beg for mercy!" Her eyes flashed
yellow, she laughed malevolently.

It was a trick; he had fallen for it before. He would cry out and the
pain would only increase until he passed out from it. He wasn't going to
fall for it this time. She barked something Goa'uldish in that deep,
unsexy voice and a Jaffa stepped forward carrying the Goa'uld version of
a cattle prod.

Jack could barely bite back the moan of terror that the sight of the
weapon caused in him; sweat broke out all over his body. He already
anticipated the pain he would feel when it was pressed against his bare
flesh – it was like being punched in the gut, only worse, because it felt
like your whole body was on fire, like you were being torn apart with an
electrical shock. Then the convulsions started.

The Jaffa raised the prod, pointing it towards Jack's throat, as he
loomed menacingly closer. His eyes mirrored the sadistic look of his
Queen as he inched ever closer. The prod raised even higher, pressing
against his cheek.

"No!" Jack yelled, thrashing his suddenly unshackled body. He realized
his eyes were closed, and the pain he felt was different from what it
should have been. It was more centralized, and he felt groggy and
nauseous.

He opened his eyes experimentally, expecting to find Bastet's pernicious
face hovering above his gleefully. He sighed gratefully when his eyes
were not met with that, but with the angelic face of the woman he loved.
He sank back into his pillows and closed his eyes trying to calm himself,
trying to control his breathless panting and the terrified shaking of his
body.

A weight settled on the bed, a hand gripped his firmly. "Jack ... honey.
It's okay. It was just a dream baby," her voice told him soothingly. He
could feel her moving, then her other hand started smoothing his hair. A
kiss was pressed to his forehead. "Do you want to tell me what the dream
was about?"

"No," Jack replied shortly, opening his eyes. He vowed to himself that
he would never tell her how he was tortured; it would upset her too much.
It upset him to even think about it.

Sam's expression was laced with concern, but she seemed to understand.
She leaned forward and brushed her lips across his forehead again. "How
are you feeling? Is there any pain?"

Jack closed his eyes, realizing that there was no pain, just the same
numb sensation that he had grown accustomed to. His stomach turned
threateningly. "No pain," he mumbled. "Numb. Feel sick ... sleepy."

He didn't want to sleep again, ever. Sleep only brought with it
nightmares, nightmares of things that he wanted to forget, not to have
them constantly dredged up for him to relive over and over again. He
wanted to fall asleep and dream of his life before the torture, the life
he couldn't remember.

"Why don't you go back to sleep then?" she suggested softly.

Jack shook his head. His eyes slid shut unwillingly and he forced them
back open. "Nightmares," he whispered. He was so tired. //I can't go
back to sleep!//

Sam shifted herself on the bed, barely managing to fit her body on it
next to him. Propping herself against his pillows, she wrapped her arms
around him, drawing him closer, guiding his head against her shoulder.
"Go to sleep, Jack. I'll be right here."

She began humming softly, a tune that he recognized but could not name.
He turned his face into her chest, listening to the sound of her heart
beating, relaxed by the sound of her gentle humming. His eyes slid shut
of their own accord and he drifted into a peaceful, dreamless, slumber.

*******************

Jack sat propped up against the raised bed, the pillow cushioning his
aching back. Sam sat next to him on the bed, holding his hand, as she
cradled the stack of pictures with her other. He was looking at the
photos, or rather the faces in the photos, like it was the first time.

Sam said it should help him remember, but he doubted that. No one looked
familiar. Well except for the few people that kept coming to his room to
check on him. He knew their names, but that was it. Daniel. Janet.
Teal'c. The photos meant nothing to him, the names even less.

He stopped whenever he came across a photo of Sam. The image always took
his breath away. He would then lean over and place a kiss on Sam's lips
to assure himself that she was real. That he wasn't dreaming again.

It was agonizing that he couldn't remember his life. All his memories
were gone. All except Sam. He remembered her. Or rather, he remembered
what he felt for her. His love for her was something he could never
forget. No matter what.

A new face appeared in the next photo. A young girl. She looked vaguely
familiar. Why?

"Who's that?" Jack asked indicating the girl.

Sam's eyes met his, and just a flash of surprise. "You don't remember?"

Jack shook his head sadly as he returned his eyes to the photo. "Is
she...my daughter?" His voice faded into a whisper.

Sam laughed lightly and he jerked his head up. He couldn't resist smiling
in turn.

"Not exactly," she said. "She, ah, we rescued her from a dying planet.
And she really took to you. Janet adopted her. We all had a hand in
raising her though."

"What's her name?" He asked quietly.

"Cassandra. Cassie."

Images flashed through his head.

**

Several hundred feet below ground. A dark, dense, and abandoned missile
silo. He was facing an elevator. Sam was standing there holding a little
girl.

Cassie.

"I can take her from here now, Captain."

"No, sir, it's okay." Sam looked into his eyes.

The elevator doors closed but not before he caught a glimpse of the
sorrow written on Sam's face. The elevator descends further into the
complex.

He sees the elevator stop at the very bottom. Minutes passed. Long
agonizing minutes. She should be done by now, he thought. The light on
the elevator started ascending again. 28...27...26...27...28.... Wait a
minute here. What was going on?

"Jack, she's going back down." He hears someone say beside him.

"The hell she is." He hits the speaker button. "Captain Carter?" No
answer. "Captain Carter!?"

A heavy feeling filled his gut. Something was wrong. Very wrong. He talks
into the speaker again. "Sam, do you read me?"

"Colonel, I'm staying." He hears tears in her voice. What's happened?
Something was terribly wrong.

He couldn't let her do that. She was putting herself in unnecessary
danger. "Negative."

"Colonel, she's awake." He heard her choke on a sob. *Oh God*! His
thoughts were echoed audibly beside him.

Silence again. He had to keep trying. "Captain, Carter. I am ordering you
to get back up here, right now." He had to get her back up here. "Right
now!"

The silence lapses into the deep undulating abyss of nothingness. He
looks at his watch. The time ticks down. 59...58...57. He urges the
people standing next to him to leave while they still can. Daniel?
Teal'c? They refuse to leave. He glances back to the elevator hoping
against hope that the numbers will start moving again. They don't. His
eyes return to his watch. He speaks unconsciously, not even sure what he
is saying. His mind is focused elsewhere. 10...9...8. Oh God! They can't
die. She can't die.

3...2...1.

His watch beeped. And ... nothing.
Maybe they were wrong about the time. Maybe they were wrong about what
would happen. His thoughts are voiced again by Daniel.

He hits the speaker again, his hand shaking, hopefully unnoticeably.
"Captain Carter, can you hear me?" Still no answer. "Sam, can you here
me?" He tried to keep the desperation out of his voice.

"Were okay, nothing happened. Cassandra's fine, I'm fine, it didn't
happen. I just...I couldn't leave her, sir." Sam said through her tears.

She couldn't leave her.

**

Jack was pulled out of his memories like being yanked backwards through a
wormhole. He was drenched in sweat and shivering. His head was exploding.
He heard a voice through the ringing in his ears. Sam.

He opened his eyes that he didn't know were closed and stared into Sam's
face. She looked scared. He couldn't blame her. He was pretty freaked out
himself. He sat there for a moment, unmoving. Only his eyes shifting
amongst his surroundings.

"Jack?" Sam whispered standing in front of her.

Somehow he had managed to get out of bed and was standing on the cold
floor of the private infirmary room. He was in a defensive, yet harmless
stance. Sam had that wide-eyed look on her face. The one he'd seen so
many times since he'd come back. If this was this bad for him, it
couldn't be any better for her.

He stepped backwards and collapsed on the bed. He held his head in his
hands. Too many things were spinning through his head.

"Jack?" Sam's voice was closer, right beside him.

He felt her arms go around him. Her lips were right next to his ear,
whispering consoling and loving words. When his headache subsided, he
removed his hands from his head and put them around Sam's comforting
body.

Touched by Sam's patience with him, he felt she deserved to know what
just happened. Or at least try to tell her. As he was really kind of lost
himself.

"I remembered something." His voice was barely above a whisper.

Sam pulled back slightly and looked at him waiting for his response.
"What did you remember?"

"Cassie. When we took her to that missile silo. And you didn't leave her
behind. I was so scared for both of you. I couldn't lose either of you. I
couldn't lose you." He dropped his eyes from hers as emotion overtook
him.

Sam sat there stunned. She was amazed that that one memory had stuck out
in his mind. That he'd had feelings for her back then was somewhat
surprising. She had only begun to become aware of her attraction to him
at the time, uncertain as to what she did feel. She had only just become
accustomed to his authoritative decisions and strength in the short time
that they had been assigned together. When she had to reject his command
and go with her own instincts, it nearly killed her. But she had to do
it; she couldn't leave Cassie, a sick, scared, lonely little girl,
behind. If she had to make the decision again, she wouldn't do it
differently. If she'd known then what Jack had felt for her the decision
would have been a bit more difficult, however.

She brought her hands to his face to bring his eyes to meet hers. Turmoil
and tears were roiling around inside, fighting for domination.

"But you knew I had to do it. Didn't you, Jack?" she asked, her voice
soft.

"I knew. I would have done the same thing. I just never wanted you put in
danger. I know it sounds stupid. I'm sure when we signed up for this job
we knew there'd be risks, but I just..." Jack drifted off, his eyes
closing momentarily.

"You just felt you should have done more," Sam said finishing his
thought.

Jack opened his eyes meeting hers again, a single tear slid down his
cheek. "Yeah."

Sam gathered him into her arms, cherishing the feel of his own arms
around her. At the moment she didn't care that she was the one offering
comfort. She had been without his embrace for so long that anything was
good enough for her right then. She knew that it would take quite a while
for Jack to heal. His body would be back in shape in no time, but his
mind...that was another story. His mind was in a fragile state. Not only
was he going to have to recover from emotional trauma, but he would have
to regain his memory also. She could only imagine what it was like to
have a jigsaw memory, and having to battle to put everything back into
place.

She was going to be there every step of the way. She would be there for
him as he had been for her when she had lost her vision.

It wasn't because she felt indebted to him, but because she loved him.

*******************

Jack, still confined to bed rest, was starting to get restless. His lunch
tray was sitting in front of him nearly untouched. Occasionally he would
pick at some mystery morsel with his fork, although it never reached his
mouth.

He had urged Sam to go home and get some rest, but she refused. She did
however; concede to going to the commissary to grab a bite to eat.

That left him alone with his thoughts and memories; or lack thereof. He
winced as he thought about it. His head hurt from trying to remember
things. The only solid thing he remembered was of Cassie. Then he
recalled the flashes of Sam he'd gotten while still in Bastet's clutches.
They seemed like memories, but he wasn't sure. He didn't have anything
substantial to rely on. He would have to ask Sam about it, she could tell
him.

He tossed his fork down for the umpteenth time, and this time pushed the
tray and cart out of reach. He leaned back, resting his head against his
pillow and closed his eyes. He had a massive headache. Maybe when that
doctor came back ... What was her name ... Fraiser ... I'll ask her to
give me something for it. Just as long as it isn't a shot, he added as an
afterthought.

The hair on the back of his neck stood up as he was mentally transported
to another place. And another time?

**

A dark room. He tried to move, but his body wasn't cooperating. It was
too hard to move. He dropped his head from pain and fatigue, and saw he
was sitting on a cot.

A noise from the opposite side of the room caught his attention. He
jerked his head up, which turned out to be a bad thing to do. The window
panel in the door was slid open, letting in a small shaft of light. The
door opens shortly thereafter.

A military guard and an infirmary orderly carry in a stocky, bald man in
a straight jacket.

"Sorry Colonel O'Neill, but your private room just became semi-private."

Jack follows the voice in the still somewhat darkened room. A woman is
framed in the doorway, her white lab coat distinguishing her status and
importance.

He remained silent, unsure of what was happening. He couldn't think
straight. His mind was a muddled mess.

"We're running out of places to put all the victims. We've used the
brigs, we've used the temp quarters; some of the storage rooms..." She
spoke, her explanation drifting off into a frustrated sigh. She starts to
walk towards the door, when he tries to speak.

It's so hard to speak. His throat feels dry and constricted and he can't
think.

"Doc...doc..." He finally manages to croak out.

The doctor stops and turns to face him. "Did you say something?"

Feeling confident that he had her attention, he tried once more.

"Give...more..."

Oh, it hurt so badly. Why did he hurt so badly? He dropped his head, once
again overcome with pain. A shadow loomed overhead.

"What? Give more what?" He heard her ask clearly confused. She kneeled
down in front of him.

He looked into her eyes, needing her to understand.

"More..."He held his arm out, gesturing for relief from the pain.

Her eyebrows shot up in surprise. "An injection? You mean you want more
sedative? You've already had more than the maximum safe dosage. Twice as
much as anyone else because you've been more violent."

"Give."

She stood up. "No. It's not safe."

"GIVE," He yelled, but it soon dropped to a whisper.

"Why are you so insistent?"

He can't respond, only to hold out his arm again. The doctor sighs as she
gives in to his request. The orderly steps up with an injection at her
request. She kneels down in front of him again and rolls up the sleeve of
his shirt. She taps her fingers on his arm to find the appropriate place
to insert the needle. He watches as the needle is inserted into his arm.
The sedative was slowly released into his bloodline. He drops his head
again as he loses all control of his senses.

Through the fog in his mind he hears the doctor talking. "...must have
been in a lot of pain."

The fog clears suddenly and he jerks his head up and focuses on the
doctor. "Docccccc......"

The doctor whips around and stares at him. "Colonel O'Neill?"

He moves his head up and down trying to force the words out of his
muddled brain and out of his mouth. Somehow he managed to tell her an
affirmative answer.

The doctor...Doctor Fraiser...kneeled down in front of him. She smiles at
him, realizing that it is indeed him. "So you are still in there
somewhere."

His throat is still constricted, but he can think somewhat better.
"Dream...dream?" He asks, confused.

Fraiser looks at him solemnly. "I'm afraid not, Colonel, it's very real.
This is interesting...sedative must knock back the primitive mind.
Colonel, listen to me. I am not going to be able to keep you at this
level for very long. It is too dangerous. It could cause permanent brain
damage."

He can make out most of what she was saying. "What? Wha-- what is it?"

He can see her mouth moving but he can't hear anything. He mentally pulls
himself together. He strains his ears, so he can concentrate on what she
was saying.

"It's a parasitic virus. All we can tell is that it seems to mess with
body chemicals - all of them. Testosterone levels skyrocket, thus the
aggressive behavior. It's a histamine-alytic, which means it breaks down
histamine."

He got an idea. He really hoped she would take it, because he was going
crazy. "Experiment."

Fraiser looks bewildered and Jack tries to explain the best that he can.
"Experiment. On... me."

"Experiment on you?" Fraiser shakes her head, clearly understanding what
he is talking about now. "No Sir I can't do that." She drops her head.

Jack reaches out his hand and lifts her chin, forcing her eyes to his. He
had to make her understand.

"Use me."

Fraiser drops her head. She reaches her hand out and takes hold of his
hand.

**

Jack flashed out of the memory, shaking and gripping the guardrails. He
gasped for breath; the image had come in such a breathless rush. He
closed his eyes, forcing himself to take deep, shuddering breaths.

"Are you alright Jack?" a woman's voice said from the doorway.

His eyes shot open to find Janet standing framed in the door. She took a
cautious step forward, her expression concerned. Jack couldn't think
straight. He watched her step deeper in the room, moving closer to him.

"I can trust you," he murmured, more to himself than her.

Her brow furrowed with puzzlement. "Jack, what's wrong?" She was
standing at his bedside now. She looked like she was ready to reach out
and touch him, but something held her back at the last instant.

Hesitantly he reached out and touched her hand, the tips of his fingers
brushing the back of her hand. "I...I...remember you. I can trust you."

*******************

Sam made her way to Jack's quarters. Janet had wanted to keep a close eye
on Jack after his surgery, however he was becoming restless. He no longer
wanted to stay in the infirmary, so Janet agreed to partially releasing
him. He still was required to remain on base for observation, but she
permitted him to move to his private quarters, as they were more
comfortable.

His door was closed when Sam reached it, and she didn't want to wake him
if by chance he was asleep. She turned the knob quietly and stepped into
the room.

The soft light of the bedside lamp cast a surreal glow on the room. Her
eyes went immediately to the bed. Not seeing Jack there, she scanned the
room until she spotted him sitting in the chair in the corner.

Jack's eyes were closed, and he was slumped in the chair appearing to be
asleep. In fact he looked quite uncomfortable. But any sleep was better
than no sleep, Sam thought.

She took a blanket off of the bed and draped it across his shoulders. She
kissed him gently on the forehead when he spoke.

"You know, you were with me every night." Sam had to strain to hear him;
he said it so softly.

"What?" She didn't understand what he was talking about.

"When I was ... captured ... you were with me." Jack opened his eyes.
They connected with hers, and it was as if he could see clear to her
soul.

He went on. "I didn't know who you were most of the time. I just knew I
loved you. And that you loved me. Whenever I was...hurting...you were
there with me ... smiling at me ... loving me."

Sam hung his every word. She wasn't sure what to think. Jack hadn't
really talked about the time he was in captivity. He had been avoiding
the entire subject. But this...this was something new. Something that she
didn't know how to take. She was fascinated, yet bemused.

Jack took her hands in his and drew her onto his lap. She was stiff at
first, not wanting to hinder his healing injuries. He wrapped his arms
around her and held her close. Sam remained silent feeling Jack's need to
enlighten her.

"The baby...I felt our baby. When you were with me. I felt it move inside
you. I thought it was just a silly dream, but it wasn't. I knew...somehow
I knew it was real." Jack moved one of his hands under her shirt to rest
on her swollen stomach. He sighed contentedly when the baby moved against
his hand.

Sam went still. She'd had a dream several weeks' back. She dreamt that
Jack was with her and he had felt the first time the baby moved. But she
had pushed it away, dismissing it as nothing more than a grief concocted
dream. But was it really? Jack just described it to her...could it have
been more than a dream? A way they had somehow connected from across the
galaxies?

Just that one gesture moved Sam to tears. She had tried to be strong for
Jack these past couple of weeks, but it was all too much. Just a few
hours ago she didn't know how much longer she could handle it. Seeing
Jack day in and day out, so fragile, so...broken was nearly enough to
cause her to break down herself. But she had held strong, for his sake.
She couldn't let him see how this was affecting her.

Jack reached up and wiped at the tears gathering on her cheeks. "Sam
please don't cry." He whispered.

"I can't...I'm sorry...Jack" She managed between sobs.

"You don't have to be sorry, Sammy. I didn't mean to make you cry." He
said holding her closer.

"You didn't. It's just...everything...so much is happening. I don't know
what to do. I should, but I don't."

"Sam, you shouldn't be worrying about all this. I'm gonna be okay. I know
it will take a while...but...it will happen. What you need to do is
concentrate on this baby. You need to keep your strength up and get
enough rest. You only have four more months till this little one gets
here and you need to take it easy. Don't worry about me so much, I'll be
okay, really." He said smiling down at her.

"Oh, Jack, I just want things to be normal again." Sam said against his
neck, her sobbing having subsided to sniffles.

"Hey now, when has our lives ever been normal, since we met." He ran his
finger under her chin, getting him a smile.

"True." She said around a giggle. "I just want things to go better than
they have been. I would never complain if our lives were ever boring from
now on."

"Boring? You expect to have a boring life with me? I'm hurt!" Jack said
in mock seriousness.

"Okay, let's just say, less eventful then. I guess once we have a baby
though our lives will be anything but that."

"That's for sure. I can't wait to be a Daddy. This baby is going to know
it's loved; I'll make sure of it. It's not every day that a guy gets this
lucky ya know." He commented.

Sam wondered if Jack remembered at all about Charlie. Did he remember
that this wasn't the first time he was a father? Should she tell him? And
if she did, could he handle it, in the precious state of mind he was in
currently. Sam decided not to say anything. Something like that...well,
that was something he should probably remember on his own.

She did remember what she had come to tell Jack about though. It would
lift his spirits no doubt.

"Jack? I have some good news. Janet is releasing you tomorrow. She said
that you have shown incredible improvement with your surgeries and
rehabilitation that she's letting you go home." Sam said hoping Jack
would be pleased.

"Ahh, sweet. I am so ready to get outta here. Any place would be better
than stuck inside these metal walls hundreds of feet below the surface.
And if you're gonna be there...then nothing could be better than that."
Jack placed a kiss on Sam's lips.

*******************

Sam gripped Jack's hand firmly in her own as she led him up the walk to
the front door of their home. She could feel his constant motion, his
head darting from side to side, eyes roaming to take in everything around
him.

She could sense his frustration that he couldn't remember this place any
better than anything else. She knew what he was feeling at the moment,
she knew that whilst everything and everyone had a sense of familiarity
to him, that was all he had. There were no firm, pertinent, memories,
nothing absolute except for the occasional flashes of particularly
poignant moments from his past.

Releasing his hand for a moment, she hastily unlocked and opened the door
before taking it again, offering him a comforting smile at the same time.
She could see him getting increasingly nervous, his grip on her hand
tightening.

Sam stepped inside, pulling him with her. His eyes were darting about
the entranceway, his shoulders slumping slightly. He looked almost
childlike, his eyes wide and inquisitive on his still pale face. She
could see that nothing in the hall was sparking a memory, but she had
expected that.

She led him deeper into the house. She had already formed in her mind
which rooms were most likely to elicit those memories; she planned on
taking him to those rooms first. They stepped down into the living room
and Sam let go of his hand to allow him the chance to move around the
room unhindered and look at the mementos of his past that were gathered
there. She settled into the armchair and watched him.

His movements were slow and deliberate. He edged around the room
quietly, slowly taking in each ornament, each piece of furniture and
adornment. His hands remained at his side, his posture stiff and self-
conscious.

Sam could feel herself tensing more and more the further around the room
he got. She was doing everything she could think of to try and kick-
start his memories; even this didn't seem to be working. She closed her
eyes for a moment, trying to suppress her own frustration at the
situation. She felt so helpless.

A strangled moan tore her eyes back open. Jack had made it to the
hearth; he stood rooted in place, his eyes glued to the photo that they
had argued about so many months before. She didn't know what to do. Was
he remembering something? He was standing so still, so rigid, that if it
wasn't for the movement of his chest you could have taken him for a
statue. She didn't move; she couldn't. She didn't want to risk
interrupting him if he was in fact remembering something.

When he did finally move it was so quick and sudden that he startled her.
Snatching the picture off the wall, he crossed the room in two large
steps. His eyes were wild, his expression furious and hurt, his face was
red and he was shaking with barely suppressed emotion. He towered above
her, forcing her to crane her neck to look up at him and brandishing the
frame in a white knuckled grip.

"How could you not tell me Sam?" he bit out with a ferocity she hadn't
heard from him before. "How could you not have warned me what happened to
my son?"

His voice was strangled; he was fighting back tears. Looking ready to
tear the place apart, he raised his arm and brought it down forcefully,
releasing the frame at the bottom of the arch. It struck the floor with
a resounding crash. She barely flinched, knowing that even in a rage he
wouldn't hurt her. She held his angry gaze, not even glancing at the
shattered picture, though the action had surprised her deeply. Jack was
not a violent man.

Sam couldn't answer him, partly because she couldn't find her voice and
partly because she had no answer for him. How would he feel if she told
him that she didn't tell him because she thought the picture of Charlie
would shock him into remembering something?

Her mouth opened and she snapped it shut again with an audible pop.
Jack's face twisted in an array of emotions – sadness, pain, remorse,
anger. He turned quickly and stalked out of the living room. Sam sat
forward, grasping at the air where he had just been standing. "Jack,
wait!" she called just as the door slammed shut behind him.

*******************

Jack had to get out of the house; he had to get away from the memories
that had suddenly soared up at the sight of the picture of his son. He
had to get away from Sam. He had to sort out the jumble of emotions that
were suddenly roiling through his confused mind.

He had no idea where he was going, but before he knew it he was
scrabbling up a ladder and was standing on a little platform on the roof
of his house. He glanced around, his eyes sliding past the telescope to
the chair, and he settled down in it silently. He did not remember that
he had this up here, but instinctively he had known it was here, that
this was his sanctuary when he wanted to escape.

His body was aching, his cheek throbbing in a slow stabbing pain that was
growing to be nearly unbearable. It would have been, if he didn't have
so much running through his mind distracting him. //How could Sam have
done that? How could she have not told me?//

Unwillingly he closed his eyes and the memories flooded over him in a
rush that left his head spinning. Faces, places, sounds, voices spun
around his mind quickly, with no form and no sequence. He tried to slow
the flow, try and make sense of the puzzle his mind was throwing up in
front of him.

**

Jack walked slowly through the back yard, his eyes darting left to right
searching for any sign of Charlie. Tightening his grip on the baseball
mitt in his hand, he turned his attention to the playhouse that Charlie
lived in most days.

"Charlie?" He called out. "Sorry I'm late ... stopped to get you
something," he explained, banging the mitt against his palm. He knew
Charlie was probably angry with him. He had promised to take him out to
the park to play some ball three hours ago, but as usual Jack had been
held up at the base and was late. "You there?"

Charlie raced out from behind the playhouse in a blur. He raised his
arms in front of him; something green and plastic gripped between his
small hands. "You're dead!"

Jack started when he realized what it was, a tiny ball of dread forming
in his stomach. A gun. Charlie was playing with a gun. "Where'd you get
that?" he asked, surprise making the question a little gruffer than he
had intended.

"Jeff Eisen gave it to me," Charlie answered defensively. "It's just a
water gun."

Jack reached out and took the gun out of Charlie's hands. He wasn't a
strict father, but this was the only thing he and Sara had been adamant
about. They didn't want Charlie playing with guns. "It doesn't matter."

"You have a gun," Charlie argued.

Always the same. Charlie always used this argument when it came down to
guns, almost like he didn't understand that Jack's gun was a lot more
dangerous, that it was a deadly weapon. "That's different," he replied
flatly

"Why?"

Jack shook his head in frustration. They had gone over this time and
time again. Why didn't he just listen? Why didn't he realize that guns
were dangerous?

Charlie's face turned red, as if he knew what his father's answer was
going to be. Again. He brushed past Jack.

"Charlie?" Jack turned in the direction Charlie was heading. "Charlie,
where are you going?"

Charlie turned slowly, angrily. "Inside," he replied bitingly. Turning
on his heel he started running up the back stairs to the house. He
slammed the door shut behind him.

**

Jack gripped his head in his hands, fighting back the tears that were
suddenly threatening. They had argued about guns two weeks before the
accident. He remembered that now. He remembered how Charlie had avoided
him angrily for the rest of the evening, and whenever he had tried to
bring the issue up Charlie would walk away.

Oh god. Tears began to flow down his cheeks as he remembered how rotten
he had felt after that argument. But even in retrospect he knew that he
wouldn't have handled it any differently.

Another, more vibrant memory stuck in his mind.

**

Pulling his jeep up in the driveway, Jack quickly put it in park and
hopped out, relieved to finally be home. He had just been given a weeks
leave, a week to spend with Sara and Charlie, doing all the family things
that he always missed out on because of his work.

Sara was sitting on the front steps, pruning back a potted rose, basking
in the last of the afternoon sunlight. She looked radiant, she looked
beautiful. God he'd missed her. Breaking into a jog he crossed the
front yard and sat on the step next to her. She was grinning at him; he
couldn't help smiling back. He pulled her into his arms and brushed a
quick kiss across her lips.

"How was your day?"

Sara smiled one of her priceless smiles. "Fine," she replied, she reached
behind her and picked something up. "Oh, look what came home from school
today."

She handed Jack a photo and he took it. He looked down and smiled.
Charlie had been adamant that he wasn't going to have his photo taken
that day. He had kicked up such a fuss when they told him that he had
to. The photo was great.

"Is Charlie about ready?" he asked. They had an appointment with the
park that he intended to keep today.

"Yeah," Sara replied happily, looking around the yard for him. "He was
running around here a few minutes ago."

The sound echoed through the neighborhood, reverberating in Jack's ears.
It was a distinctive sound, but it took a moment for him to realize what
it was. His gaze shot to the window of his office. The sound had come
from in there. A gun shot.

"Charlie!" Sara yelled, but it was indistinct.

Jack had already stood, automatically racing in the house and up the
stairs as the sound still echoed through his ears. The door to his
office was closed. He forced down the panic that suddenly roared up on
him as he gripped the handle of the door, twisted and pushed.

The sight that confronted him would forever haunt him. Charlie, lying on
the floor, Jack's gun lying inches from his hand. His eyes were drawn to
the blood blossoming on his dying son's torn chest.

**

Jack gasped and opened his eyes. He was unable to stop the tears that
ran down his face, the sobs that shook his shoulders violently. It hurt
so much, like it was happening all over again, like he was experiencing
it for the first time.

Arms slid around his shoulders, pulling him into their warm, comforting
embrace. He hadn't even heard Sam come up. He couldn't be angry with
her anymore; it didn't even seem consequential anymore. He had lost his
son, with his own weapon.

"Ssh baby," she whispered into his ear. "It's okay. I'm so sorry Jack"

He wrapped his arms around her, and allowed himself to do the one thing
that he had been unable to do back then, even with his wife. He let it
all out.

*******************

Sam had lost all track of time as she sat on the rooftop platform holding
Jack in her arms. She tried to fight back the nagging, pervading guilt
that she felt. She had caused this, by not telling him about Charlie she
had caused him this pain. She was also aware that he was allowing
himself to release the feelings that he had kept pent up since Charlie
had died.

Jack had been sobbing for what seemed like hours, though he had not
spoken a word. She knew that he needed to get it out, that he was
releasing seven years worth of pain and heartache, and that it was only
the beginning of mending the rift in his heart. If he was finally
willing to confront his demons now, she knew it would take time for him
to heal. She would be there for him through it.

She closed her eyes and held him tighter in her arms. She could only
begin to imagine what it must have been like. To outlive your own child,
no parent should ever have to deal with a burden as great as that. To
have lost that child in such a senseless and tragic way ... she wasn't at
all certain that she would be able to cope if it had happened to her
child.

Jack gave a shuddering breath and pulled back slightly, enough to meet
her eyes. Her breath was taken away by the pain she saw shining in the
depths of his eyes. Her heart went out to him. He looked so powerless
and vulnerable. She had never seen him look this way before.

Cupping his cheek with her hand, she caressed it slightly. "Do you want
to tell me about what happened?" she whispered, leaning forward and
brushing the lightest of kisses on his forehead.

His shoulders began shaking slightly. She enveloped him in her arms; it
was so hard seeing him like this and being completely unable to help him.
He buried his face in her neck. "I've never told you about it, have I?"
he asked, his voice slightly muffled.

Sam shook her head. "No. I don't think you've really talked to anyone
about what happened, Jack," she replied quietly. "But I knew you would
tell me about it in your own time."

She could feel his lips move across her collarbone in a tiny smile. "Even
if my own time meant years ... or never?"

"Yeah."

"It's just ... it hurts so much to even think about it," he told her,
pulling away from her slightly.

"I know it does Jack," she responded,"but it helps to talk about it."

Sam moved away from him, wanting to give him space, to show him that she
wasn't about to pressure him into talking to her- to show him that she
was willing to listen whenever he was willing to talk to her. She held
his hand, though, tightly in her own, hoping to offer comfort in that
small way.

She watched him as he closed his eyes. His face looked tormented, like
he was reliving the moment again. Fresh tears trailed down his cheeks.
He opened them again, his dark eyes catching hers. "I killed him. I
killed my son."

The pain in his voice tore at her heart. Holding his gaze, she gave his
hand a little squeeze. "It was an accident, Jack. You didn't kill him."

"It was an accident that shouldn't have happened," he grated angrily,
tearing his hand out of hers. "I should have locked my gun away. I
shouldn't have even had one in the house!"

"Why? I'll always have one in mine ... in ours."

"No you won't," he snapped coldly.

Sam could feel him withdrawing from her, drawing back into himself. She
couldn't let him do it. It was what he had always done, shut the pain
away to be dealt with later. To never be dealt with. "Yes," she replied
firmly. "I will. I want my family to be safe. I want to be able to
defend myself if we're threatened."

"How can they be safe with a weapon in the house, Sam?" he asked his
voice thick with disbelief. "I thought the same thing when Charlie was
born and look what happened! He found it ... he thought it was a toy,
despite me and Sara telling him time and time again that guns were
dangerous!"

"You weren't to know that he was going to find it," Sam said quietly.

Jack stood quickly, startling her. Recrimination and anger flashed
through his features. "I should have, Sam. Two weeks before I told him
off for playing with a stupid plastic water gun. He didn't understand
why he wasn't allowed to play with them. We argued about it, but I
couldn't make him understand."

His face crumpled and he turned away from her, his shoulders shaking
slightly. Sam was about to stand, was about to reach out to him when he
spoke again. "If I had been home more, maybe I could have made him
understand, but I wasn't. He idolized me, not because I was his dad, but
because I got to run around with a gun. He wanted to be just like me."

His voice was quiet, the anger faded away and replaced by dejection. Sam
wanted so much to reach out and touch him, to try and take away the pain,
but she knew she couldn't, that he wouldn't want her to. "But I never
once thought that he would find my gun. I had it hidden away up in my
closet; I thought he would never be able to reach it up there. I just
didn't see it coming."

"That picture downstairs on the wall ... we got that that day. Sara was
showing it to me when we heard the gunshot. I didn't even know what the
sound was; it took me a while to realize. When I got upstairs I ... he
was just lying there. He wasn't even crying ... he didn't make a sound,
but his eyes were open, he knew what was happening."

"I couldn't move Sam, for the longest time I stood there trying to
understand what I was seeing. He looked so small; he was just a baby.
When I did finally move, there was nothing I could do. I held him in my
arms. I tried to stop the bleeding, there was just so much of it. I
held him all the way to the hospital. I held him as he took that last
breath and died."

His voice broke with emotion and he began sobbing again. Sam quickly
stood and closed the gap between them. She turned him around and wrapped
her arms around him, feeling her own tears prickling her eyelids. "I'm so
sorry, Jack."

His arms locked behind her and he held her tightly against him like he
never wanted to let her go. She could feel his lips pressed against her
collarbone, he kissed it softly. "Don't be sorry ... don't pity me, Sam,"
he murmured, his lips still brushing against her collarbone. "Parents
aren't supposed to outlive their kids, but there's nothing you and I can
do to change what happened to Charlie. I have a second chance now Sam,
and I'm not going to blow it."

Sam flushed slightly, trying to ignore the feelings that Jack's lips were
inciting in her. The fire in his voice offered her a small measure of
relief, demolishing the small glimmer of fear that she felt that he might
have given up on them. She closed her eyes and let out the breath she
hadn't realized she was holding. "I'll always be here for you Jack,
whether you want to talk about it or just want me to hold you."

"I know that baby," he replied huskily, his hand drifting up to settle on
the back of her neck.

She felt herself melting. He hadn't called her that since he had gotten
back. Breaking the embrace she silently took his hand and led him down
off the roof. Maybe things were going to work out okay after all.

*******************

Jack's eyes burned. He had been staring at the ceiling for what felt
like hours, fighting a battle with eyelids that were growing heavier and
heavier with each passing moment. Sam's soft breathing was tickling his
shoulder. He could feel the soft swell of her belly pressed against his
side, moving slightly as she breathed. He ran his fingers in soft
circles around the small of her back. He loved touching her.

She muttered something unintelligible and rolled onto her back. His eyes
followed her, naked and exposed to him from the waist up. He moved onto
his side so he could look at her without having to worry about her
getting self-conscious at the attention he was paying her. Her growing
belly; smooth, flawless skin; her perfect, pert breasts. She was the
most beautiful woman he had ever seen, and she was his.

He sighed, suddenly feeling the need to be doing something. Sitting up
slightly, Jack slid out of the bed, unable and unwilling to sleep, and
careful not to wake the sleeping woman next to him. Leaning across the
bed, he brushed a kiss onto her cheek and tucked the blankets up to her
chin. She sighed softly and rolled over onto her side.

Tugging on a shirt and tracksuit pants, he padded quietly out of the
bedroom. He was exhausted, but he couldn't bring himself to let his eyes
slide shut. Sleeping meant dreams; it meant being painfully reminded of
the atrocities that Bastet and her loyal Jaffa had done to him. He never
wanted to relive that again, he didn't even want to be reminded of it.

At least by not sleeping he had the opportunity to explore the house at
his own pace, to see if anything triggered a memory. If he wasn't going
to sleep he might as well be doing something useful with his time.
Stepping into the hall, he pulled the bedroom door shut behind him.

Glancing around him he slid a hand along the wall, instinctively seeking
out the switch he knew was nestled there. He flicked the switch,
squinting as light suddenly flooded the hall. He quickly turned the
dimmer down, enough to illuminate the hall, without being blinded
himself.

His gaze flickered around the hallway as he tried to decide where to
begin his exploration. His eyes were drawn to the closed door directly
opposite their bedroom. Something was tickling at the back of his mind;
a thought niggling at him that he should know what this room was.
Something told him that it was important.

The feeling spurring him on, he took a couple of steps across the hall
and gripped the handle, wracking his brain to try and remember why this
particular room felt so important to him. When he realized that the
answer wasn't just going to pop into his head, he turned the handle and
pushed the door open.

Sliding his hand along the wall, he switched on the light and stood
studying the room for a long time. A wealth of images flashed into his
mind in a breathless blur, confirming that his feeling had been right,
that this room was important, not only to him but to Sam as well.

It was the baby's room, but not only that. He had proposed to Sam in
this room, the same night that he, Daniel and Teal'c had finished
decorating it. He closed his eyes, immersing himself in the memories.
His search for the perfect ring and subsequently finding it, the very one
that was now prominently displayed on her ring finger. Decorating the
room with Teal'c and Daniel. His nervousness that night when he asked
her to marry him.

Jack smiled at the memories. He had known during his captivity that his
feelings were very real, but with the lack of a specific memory to base
them on he had wondered whether it was something his mind had conjured up
to give him a reason to live. He had returned to have the feelings
validated, but still have no memory of their life together. It was nice,
though, to now remember some of the events that formed their
relationship.

He loved her. He loved their unborn child.

A soft knock at the door startled him, and the memories fled. Who the
hell was that? Quickly, he left the room and rushed to the door before
the person could knock on the door again, waking Sam. He didn't want
that, she needed the rest. He pulled the door open and stopped a biting
remark ready on his tongue.

"Uh ... Hi Jack."

"Daniel?" Jack asked uncertainly. A visit from the younger man had been
the last thing he had been expecting, especially at two o'clock in the
morning. He could see the hesitation in Daniel's youthful face, and he
could read him enough to see that something was bothering him. Why else
would he be here now? "Bit late for a social call isn't it?"

Daniel flashed him a quick smile that didn't reach his eyes. He
shrugged,"Yeah I guess it is, but it looked like you were still up. The
lights were on."

Jack nodded as he stepped out of the doorway to let Daniel in. "Yeah,
havin' trouble sleeping," he replied. "Coffee?"

He saw Daniel's eyes light up as he stepped into the hall and pulled the
door shut behind him. "Please."

Leaving Daniel to remove his coat in the hall, Jack moved into the
kitchen and started to prepare the coffees. Somehow he had known that
coffee was Daniel's vice. He walked back into the living room shortly
carrying two steaming mugs. He handed one to Daniel before he sat in his
chair opposite the sofa. Daniel took a careful swig of the hot liquid
then placed the mug on the coffee table in front of him. He leaned back
against the sofa and exhaled deeply.

"So what brings you here so late Daniel?" Jack asked, naturally intrigued
by the late call. "I mean, is this normal? You coming around at some
ungodly hour?"

Daniel smiled the first genuine smile Jack had seen from him tonight.
"I've done it occasionally, you have too. Besides, you were up anyway."

"Yeah I was." Jack replied quietly, lapsing into silence. He could tell
that Daniel had obviously come to talk to him about something, but he
didn't feel right asking him what it was. It seemed to him that Daniel
wasn't ready to talk about what was bothering him anyway.

"You still don't remember me, do you Jack?" Daniel asked, breaking the
silence, frustration lacing the disappointed tone in his voice. He stood
up from his seat and began pacing the length of the living room. "You
don't remember the first Abydos mission, our first meeting. Me staying
behind on Abydos to be with Sha're?"

"Who's Sha're?"

Daniel stopped in mid-step, his eyes wide with surprise. "My wife Jack."

"Oh," Jack responded stupidly, his mind working overtime to process this
new information. "Wife? But what about Janet?"

Jack didn't miss the sad look that flittered across Daniel's face. "She's
dead Jack," he muttered darkly,"but that's not the point. The point is
that we've been friends for years. You've saved my life hundreds of
times. You've trusted me with your life..."

//You've trusted me with your life.// He didn't hear the rest of what
Daniel said. The line struck a cord with him. It sparked a memory.

**

He was hiding in the shadows, hoping that it would provide him enough
cover. A tenseness filled the temple grounds, he could feel it from
Carter, could feel it in Teal'c's and Bratac's readiness. They were
outgunned and outnumbered, surprise was their only chance.

The footsteps echoed in the grounds as the Jaffa stepped through the
entranceway to the Temple. Jack watched from his vantage point as they
walked straight down the main path, filled with their own sense of self-
importance.

It was then Jack noticed the Monk standing in front of the main door to
the temple. This was not going to be good. With a nagging sense of
dread he watched as the Jaffa approached the monk, helpless to do
anything to help. He couldn't give up his position; it would risk the
rest of the team.

"You are not welcome here," the young monk told them innocently.

Jack flinched. They didn't care about that; all they cared about was
getting the Harcesis for their snakehead god.

"In the name of the god Apophis we've come for a young boy," the Jaffa
told him.

"You will leave now."

Jack shook his head. //Don't be stupid!// Didn't he realize how
ruthless and dangerous these men are, or did he think his little trick
with the flame might scare them away?

"We will not," the Jaffa responded, inching closer to the Monk. "Stand
aside."

A sudden crash of thunder drew Jack's attention from the scene in front
of him to the sky. It had been crystal clear moments before, but now he
could see a massive storm front rolling in, fast. He glanced quickly at
Sam and found she was looking at the same thing. She met his eyes, her
expression mirroring his own. Things were rapidly going from bad to
worse.

Jack tightened his grip on his P-90 as he turned his attention back on
the Jaffa in time to see him charge his staff and fire one shot. The
monk fell back as the blast went clear through his chest, dead before he
even hit the ground.

"No!" Daniel's yell echoed through the grounds. He raced out of the main
doors in a blur, still barefoot and seemingly unaware of the danger he
had just run into. He stopped next to the Monk's body, oblivious to the
fact that five staff weapons were now fixed in his direction.

Jack had to act. He stood quickly, aiming his P-90 at the head Jaffa's
chest. "Drop your weapons!"

The Jaffas' attention, and their staffs, turn on Jack and he wonders if
his decision to come out of cover was wise, but it was Daniel's life at
stake here after all. He can hear Sam moving next to him, though not
standing, as well as Teal'c and Bra'tac and the familiar sounds of their
staffs charging. His finger tightens slightly over the trigger of his
gun. //Oh this is SO not good!// "Do it!"

The Jaffa looks at him scornfully. "Kreel sekh," he spits.

//Like I'm supposed to know what that means!// Trying to keep one eye on
Daniel and the other on the Jaffa, Jack watches as the Archeologist
stands from the Monk's side, sadness written clear on his face. He
raises his hands above his head and starts moving closer to the Jaffa.
"Drop your weapons!"

They weren't moving. The Jaffa's attention turned back to Daniel. Jack
went back on guard. // Don't do anything stupid Danny! Don't draw
attention to yourself!// "You heard him!" Jack yelled in an attempt to
divert their attention from Daniel.

"I was talking to you Jack," his voice was quiet, but deadly serious.

"Wha...", Jack stopped, almost lowering the P-90. He couldn't believe
what he was hearing. "What?" he asked in disbelief.

"Do it now, all of you." He was still moving forward slowly. His arms
were still raised above his head. Purposefully, he seemed to stop once
he was standing almost directly in between the Jaffa and the rest of his
team.

"Daniel?" Jack asked sharply. This was crazy, completely and utterly,
totally insane. Daniel was overstepping the mark now. That bloody monk
had gotten to him. He was certain that Daniel was going to start talking
in proverbs soon.

"Jack I was wrong," his voice had taken on an almost pleading tone. "I
was very wrong. One of those aliens I thought was long gone is still
here."

//So?// Jack almost snapped at him. What difference does that make? He
bit his lip, knowing that his decision could mean the difference between
life and death for all of them.

"Sir, we put our guns down and we're dead," Sam stated the same thought
that was occupying his mind.

"You are outnumbered and surrounded. You will die if you do not," the
Jaffa spat haughtily.

"Jack, if you're ever gonna trust me on anything, now is the time,"
Daniel pleaded. His face showed so much. He looked certain that they
had to do this, his belief that they would be all right seemed to be
resolute. "The alien is the one with all the powers and she is not
someone you want to fool with, if you get my drift."

Jack was pretty sure he had never been in this sort of quandary before.
His instincts screamed to trust Daniel, but his years in the military
told him that it was going to make them exposed, that it was an
unnecessary risk.

"You must do it," Bra'tac whispered urgently.

His decision was made, not without the sinking feel of dread in his
stomach as he dropped the gun to the ground by his feet. He held
Daniel's eyes, showing him that he did trust him. If he thought this was
the right move then he had to believe him. He was relieved to hear Sam's
gun clatter to the ground, followed quickly by the sounds of the two
Staff weapons being dropped.

"Kill them."

Instantly he regretted the decision. Was this how it was supposed to be,
they show an ounce of valor and it gets thrown in their face. They were
about to die. He kept his eyes open; if he was going to die he wanted to
face the snakey bastard as he took his life.

He flinched as the Staff's charged again and two shots were fired. He
couldn't help the feeling of horror he felt as he watched the two
fireballs speed towards him and Carter. There was so much they all had
left to say and do, and now they weren't going to get the opportunity.

Jack was about to close his eyes, when a cloud shot in front of them,
absorbing the energy of the blasts moments before they would have struck
them. He didn't think he would ever comprehend what had just happened,
nor could he comprehend the two shots that were fired at Teal's and
Bra'tac that were absorbed in a similar way.

He glanced at Sam, catching her eye and her slight shrug that she, too,
had no explanation. Out of the corner of his eye he sees Daniel raise a
hand and wave at the Jaffa. He mutters something that Jack was pretty
sure was 'Bye'. //What the hell is going on?//

A massive clap of thunder almost drives him to his knees with its
intensity, and with a sudden flash the temple grounds fill up with bright
light. Lightning, Jack suddenly realizes as he makes out five distinct
bolts shooting out of the sky and into the bodies of the Jaffa. They
scream in agony for a few moments, their screams accentuated by an
explosion in the distance that could only be a ship exploding.

Jack stood rooted in place, watching the Jaffa writhe in agony as the
lightning slowly cooked them from the inside. In a matter of moments the
show is over, the lightning disappearing as suddenly as it appeared and
the Jaffa slump to the ground in five separate smoking heaps.

**

Jack gasped and opened his eyes before the memory overwhelmed him. He
looked up to find Daniel standing over him, a hand gripping his shoulder
gently, his eyes wide and face pale.

"Jack, are you alright?"

Running a hand over his face, Jack found that he'd been sweating. Damn.
"Yeah I'm fine Daniel. I just remembered something."

"Oh," Daniel replied. "What?"

"I don't know, Danny." Jack sighed. "We were in a temple, surrounded by
Jaffa. You asked me to trust you and drop my gun. I did and the Jaffa
died."

"Oh that. You mean when Oma Desala saved us when we were trying to find
the Harcesis?"

"I don't really remember the specifics Danny," Jack muttered. He didn't
want to talk about it. It just made him feel rotten that he still
couldn't remember much. "You still haven't told me why you've come around
so late."

Daniel smiled before moving and resuming his seat. He seemed to have
relaxed a little. "No I haven't, have I?" Pulling off his glasses he
rubbed at his eyes tiredly. "But now that I'm here it doesn't feel as
important as it did when I left home."

"Daniel," Jack admonished him sharply,"you didn't turn up here at two
o'clock in the morning to suddenly change your mind about why you came
here. It was important then, it must still be important now."

He offered a brief laugh. "You'll never change Jack," he responded. He
sighed loudly, putting his glasses back on. "Now I feel stupid. I'm ...
it's gonna sound stupid and petty to you Jack."

"Maybe a beer will help loosen up your tongue a bit?" Jack suggested
semi-jokingly. It had been quite a while since he'd had a beer.

"You're offering me a beer at two o'clock in the morning?"

Jack shrugged, feigning innocence. "Sure, why not?" He stood quickly and
headed into the kitchen before Daniel had a chance to reply and quickly
snagged two beers from the fridge. Walking back into the living room, he
found Daniel settled back in his seat, the amused look on his face barely
covering the trepidation. He took the proffered bottle with a word-less
thanks.

Settling back into his armchair, Jack popped the cap off his bottle and
took a deep draught, studying Daniel the whole time, marveling at how
easy it was to read him.

They lapsed into a companionable silence, quietly enjoying their beers.
Jack could see Daniel about to speak several times, before changing his
mind. He smiled to himself. "Just spit it out Danny."

Daniel flushed with frustration and slight embarrassment. He set his beer
down; knowing that he shouldn't have drank it in the first place. It was
affecting him in a major way. He scrubbed a hand over his face. "I've
just ... I dunno. I've had a lot on my mind lately."

"Are you and Janet having problems?"

"No!" Daniel replied defensively, straightening in his seat. "I came over
because I wanted some advice." He was looking more awkward and
uncomfortable with each passing moment.

Jack felt his eyebrows rise. "Advice? From me?" he asked with surprise
and a touch of humor in his voice.

A sheepish look crossed Daniel's face. Leaning forward he picked up the
bottle again and took another mouthful. "Yeah."

Jack shook his head in amazement. "Wow," he murmured. "Are you sure I'm
the right person to give you advice?" he joked.

Daniel's lips formed a tight line. Banging the bottle down on the table,
he stood up, his face red with anger. "You're right. I should've known
better." Turning, he began to stalk swiftly up the stairs to the door.

"Daniel, wait," Jack called after him. "I was kidding!" He stood
quickly, racing after the younger man, catching him before he managed to
open the front door. "Daniel, stop!"

Daniel turned, looking more and more irritated. "Jack, this isn't
something to joke about. I've been doing some real serious thinking, and
I wanted to get your advice about it, not be ridiculed."

Jack reached out and grabbed his arm. Turning him he led him back down
to the lounge. "I'm sorry Daniel. You know me; I always say the wrong
thing at the wrong time."

Daniel snorted; letting himself be guided back to his seat. "Yeah you
do."

Jack snatched up his beer and settled back in his armchair. "So what did
you want my advice about?"

Daniel sighed, nervousness tingeing his face making him look even
younger. "I've been thinking about asking Janet to marry me. I want to
have a family with her, I want kids."

Jack couldn't help the smile that spread across his face. Daniel and
Janet made such a cute couple. He could see how deeply they felt about
each other; feel the love so to speak. He might not remember how long
they had been together, but it didn't matter. "That's great, Daniel!"

Shifting in his seat, Daniel forced a smile. "Yeah I guess. I just ... I
don't know if it's the right time, or even if it's what she wants. I
don't want anything to go wrong."

Jack sat forward in his seat. "Why wouldn't she want to marry you Daniel?
You're a great guy and I can see how much she loves you."

"How do you know I'm a great guy?" Daniel muttered under his breath, but
Jack still caught the words.

He knew he would be lying to himself if he tried to believe they didn't
sting a little. "Daniel, just because I can't remember much doesn't mean
I don't know. We wouldn't be friends if you weren't would we?"

"No, we wouldn't," Daniel replied despondently, flushing with
embarrassment. "The thing is I don't want her to feel pressured, to feel
like I'm rushing things with her."

Jack watched as Daniel stood and started pacing again. He settled back
in his seat, sensing that Daniel could probably pace restlessly for quite
a while. "How long has this been on your mind?"

Daniel paused, glancing back at him with chagrin. "Umm ... actually when
you and Sam ... when I found out you were having a baby," he replied
quietly.

He sank back down on the sofa, studiously avoiding meeting Jack's eyes.
A silence developed between them, thick, though not uncomfortable. Jack
searched his muddled mind to try and find something motivational to say
to Daniel. What would I have told him in the past?

"Look, Daniel," he said, breaking the silence. "All I can say is that you
have to do what feels right to you. If you feel in your gut that you
want to spend the rest of your life with her, tell her that."

Daniel studied him for a long time, his face unreadable. Jack could see
the thoughts ticking over in those intelligent eyes. A smile slid
leisurely over the younger man's face. "Thanks Jack. I knew you'd be
able to help."

He jumped up, moving fast towards the steps, obviously intending on
leaving. Jack reached out his arm as he moved past, stopping him. "Where
are you going?"

"Home."

Jack stood up, still gripping his arm. "No your not, I know what you and
alcohol are like," he told him, somehow knowing that Daniel and alcohol
did not mix well at all. "You can crash in the spare room, the beds
already made up."

Daniel smiled at him. "You're right about that," he laughed. "But I'm not
actually that tired."

Jack clapped him on the back. "Another beer then?" he asked, taking his
arm and leading him back towards the kitchen. He had missed beer, more
than he thought possible. //Beer and hockey.// The thought popped into
his head and his smile widened.

Daniel shot him a wary look. "You trying to get me drunk, Jack?"

"Who me?" he replied innocently. "No! No reason why we can't enjoy
another though is there? We're just two friends kicking back, enjoying a
drink, reminiscing..." He drifted off for a moment. "Well you'll be the
doing the reminiscing for the moment."

Daniel laughed softly and something in it told Jack that this was
something the younger man needed, something they hadn't done for a long
time. "Sounds good, Jack. Sounds real good."

*******************

Janet rolled over onto her side, stretching her arm out across her bed to
find it disconcertingly empty and cold. She opened her eyes with a sigh
as she attempted to quell the nagging worry that she was beginning to
feel.

This was the first night in months that they hadn't been together, apart
from the times Daniel had been off world on a mission. Every night he
was Earth-side they were together, except for tonight. In fact, she
hadn't seen or heard from him since lunch at the base, which was unusual
in itself. Where was he?

Now that she thought about it, he had been acting strangely lately. He'd
grown quiet and distant, more so once Jack had been found and returned.
She had just assumed it was out of concern for his friend, then later
because of Jack's inability to remember anything. Jack was his best
friend, she knew it chafed at Daniel that he didn't even remember him.

Maybe she had been wrong. Maybe it wasn't Jack that had been bothering
him after all, not totally. Which only left one thing that it could
possibly be. Her ... them ... their relationship. She tried to dismiss
the thought. If there was anything wrong between them she would know.
If Daniel was bothered by something between them he would have talked to
her.

//Stop being silly!// She berated herself. Tossing the bedclothes back,
she crawled out of bed knowing she wasn't going to be getting anymore
sleep tonight. She was too worked up, she was too worried. This was so
unlike Daniel.

She padded quietly out of the bedroom, almost tiptoeing down the hallway
past Cassie's room. The last thing she wanted was a grumpy teenager on
her hands. She made her way downstairs and into the kitchen. She needed
coffee, lots and lots of coffee.

As she pottered around the kitchen, she risked a glance at the clock on
the microwave. She hadn't slept a wink all night, but had been curiously
reluctant to check the time. That would just make her seem possessive.
Something must have come up, that's all; she tried to reassure herself.

He probably got busy translating some amazingly ancient message on a
stone slab stuck in a dark corner of his office, or he was evaluating
some video feedback on their latest mission trying to decipher some
glyphs that hadn't been seen in millennia. He'd done that before. But
he normally phoned at some stage, just for a chat. No matter how much he
got tied up in his artifacts he always seemed to find the time to pick up
the phone and chat, no matter how fascinating the item was.

Janet poured herself a cup of coffee as soon as it finished brewing. She
relocated herself to the living room, where she could be more comfortable
while she waited. She knew that Daniel would be home any time. He would
walk through the door carry his tote with his arms full of books and
papers like he always did. Then she would go over and help relieve him of
his self-made burden and they would make their way upstairs to their
bedroom like they always did.

Janet looked at the phone sitting on the coffee table, willing it to
ring. Any minute it would ring and Daniel would tell her he was sorry for
being late and he would be home soon. She sat ... and waited ... and it
still didn't ring. 0345. I can't take it anymore. She picked up the phone
and dialed the number to Daniel's office. It rang once ... she was being
silly ... it rang twice ... he was going tell her that she was silly for
worrying ... it rang three times ... four times ... five ... six ...

Janet sat there listening to the hollow ringing for what seemed forever.
Finally she hung up the phone. Where could he be?

A thought struck her and she smiled. Sometimes Daniel would use Sam's lab
for research. So he wouldn't be within hearing distance of his phone. She
dialed the number to Sam's lab, and waited. After waiting for another
five minutes she hung up the phone, frustrated and experiencing the
beginning stages of concern.

The dark was starting to close in on her, making her feel claustrophobic.
Her worry was increasing with each passing moment as she sat in the
darkened room searching her mind for some reason that Daniel wasn't at
home, and where the hell he might be at this time in the morning.

0400.

She dialed the number to the only other place Daniel could be. Sam and
Jack's. Flinching, she hoped that they wouldn't be too upset at this
late night ... //early morning// ... intrusion. She felt herself tensing
as the phone rang once ... twice ...

"O'Neill's House of Madness," a voice slurred over the phone, followed by
a series of very unmasculine giggles. Jack, a very inebriated Jack by
the sound of it. The doctor in her felt its hackles rise, and she bit
down the urge to berate him for drinking alcohol whilst on pain killers,
but he of all people deserved it at the moment.

She could hear muffled giggles in the background, a male by the sounds of
it. It couldn't be, she thought, not Daniel. "Jack? It's Janet."
"Jannie!!" Jack squealed down the line a strangely girlie sound coming
from the Air Force Colonel, forcing her to pull the phone away from her
ear. "How are you, baby?"

//Baby?// She had never, in all the years she had known Jack, been
referred to by him as baby. He must be drunk, very *very* drunk. If she
hadn't been so uptight, she might actually have laughed; it was a sweet
thing to hear coming from Jack O'Neill's mouth.

"Jack ... is Daniel there?" she asked shortly.

"I'm disappointed Janet," he slurred. "That you don't want to talk to me.
I am, after all, your number one patient."

"Second, Jack," she responded, unable to prevent the small smile that
formed on her face. "Daniel is still my number one patient."

Jack groaned loudly, even that sound seemed slurred to her ears. How
much had he had to drink? "I see," he moaned,"I see ... a bit of
favoritism goin' on here do we Doc?"

"Of course Jack. At least Daniel doesn't moan and groan every five
minutes in my infirmary," she retorted.
Jack burst out laughing. "No, he just moans and groans in a different way
when he gets the Doctors *special* treatment."

Janet felt herself blushing. Jack was definitely not a crude person,
most of the time. She couldn't help laughing though. "Very funny Jack,"
she said, trying to keep the humor out of her voice. "Now I'm going to
ask you again, is Daniel there?"

"He sure is. You wanna talk to him?"

"That's why I phoned Jack," she bit out sarcastically.

Jack grunted inarticulately, and Janet could hear him saying something to
Daniel, his voice muffled. He must have had his hand over the receiver.
There was a crash, forcing Janet to pull the phone away from her ear,
then the sound of the phone being fumbled. He must have dropped the
phone.
"Janet?" Daniel's voice slurred over the line. "I'm sorry ... it slipped
outta my hand."

"That's ok hon," Janet replied, forcing the happy tone in her voice. "How
much have you had to drink Daniel?"

He was silent for a moment, she guessed he must be trying to count how
much he'd had. "Ummm ... two bottles ... and a half," he added for
posterity's sake

This time Janet did laugh out loud. He was such a cheap drunk. She
tried to stop the giggles but ended up snorting with the effort. It was
one thing that always made her chortle, his complete inability to handle
alcohol. It was cute.

"What?" he asked her defensively. She could almost picture the offended
look on his face, which made her giggle again.

Janet became serious again, she couldn't help it, she had worked herself
up too much tonight. "Is everything okay Daniel?" she asked quietly.

"Okay?" he repeated sounding surprised. "Yeah, yeah, yeah ...
everything's great baby."

//Baby?// Inwardly she groaned. She was going to have to jab a needle
extra hard into Jack's butt for teaching Daniel that particular term of
endearment. "It's just ... you didn't call Daniel, I was worried that
something might have happened to you."

Daniel moaned. "Oh, I'm so sorry baby. It just ... it slipped my mind.
I've been preoccupied, I needed to talk to Jack..." he trailed off,
sounded embarrassed and unhappy.

Why did he need to talk to Jack? Her curiosity was piqued now. What was
going on? "Daniel, is everything okay?" she asked, hoping that she was
just jumping to all the wrong conclusions. "With us?" She flinched at
how needy she sounded. //Was I ever like this before?//

Daniel made a strangled sound that sounded curiously to Janet like a low,
pained, moan. "Oh, Janet," he breathed quietly, his voice suddenly
sounding almost completely sober. "Everything is fine, perfect." He
paused for a moment. "I love you so much Janet."

Janet melted, she couldn't help it. Even knowing that he was drunk, the
honesty in his voice was overwhelming, and imminently reassuring. "I love
you too, Daniel," she breathed.

"Come and pick me up Janet," he breathed, a hint of something in his
voice.

She couldn't say no, there was something in his voice that made it
impossible. Besides, she really did want to see him. "I'll be there in
twenty minutes," she breathed, hanging up the phone and quickly racing
upstairs to get dressed.

*******************

Daniel groaned and rolled onto his back, torn from the arms of sleep by
the violent churning of his belly. He could feel Janet moving next to
him, the subtle movement on the bed enough to send a wave of nausea
through him. He opened his eyes to try and dispel the spinning sensation
he was experiencing.

It only made things worse. The room twisted like it was being turned on
its side, and then quickly flipped back in the opposite direction.
Clapping a hand over his mouth he bolted out of the bed with a strangled
groan and raced into the bathroom, followed by a sound that he was pretty
certain was Janet stifling a giggle.

He barely made it into the bathroom in time, pushing the door closed
behind him with his foot and flicking the toilet seat up. Falling to his
knees he emptied the contents of his stomach into the bowl, retching
violently.

After a few moments the door squeaked open and a hand gently began
rubbing his back, soothing him. He settled back on his heels, wiping his
mouth and trying to ignore the headache that was beginning to grip his
skull. He was never going to drink again.

He heard another stifled giggle behind him. "You're not even feeling
remotely sorry for me are you?" he wined.

This time she did laugh out loud, curt and brash. "No, I'm not. You know
what happens to you when you drink Daniel. Besides, that's what you get
when you keep me up most of the night worrying."

Daniel groaned again, trying to ignore the pervading guilt he felt. He
hadn't meant to make her worry about him. He had just been so
preoccupied that he hadn't stopped to think. "I'm so sorry Janet."

"I know," she responded, standing up behind him and helping him stand.
With an arm wrapped securely around his waist, she guided him back into
the bedroom. "And when you're feeling a little better I think we should
both sit down and talk."

Daniel glanced down at her; the sudden movements making his brain feel
like it was being squeezed in a vice. "Yes we do," he murmured in reply,
his voice filled with more meaning than she might have realized.

She helped him into bed, tugging the blankets up to his chin. Leaning
over she pressed a kiss to his forehead. "Don't move," she whispered,
"I'll go and get you something to drink and something for the headache
and nausea."

"Hmm ... okay," Daniel murmured, his eyes sliding shut as he tried his
hardest not to move as it only made him feel like he was going to be sick
again. Yep, he was never going to drink again. At least he was
fortunate enough to fall in love with a doctor.

He listened as her footfalls left the bedroom, presumably to go down to
the kitchen. He snuggled a little deeper under the covers feeling ice
cold all of a sudden. He was getting nervous. He knew he would once he
had made his decision, but he wasn't going to back down on it now. He
was going to ask Janet to marry him.

He wanted it to be perfect, but he had no idea how he was going to ask.
He wasn't a particularly romantic person; it just didn't come naturally
to him like it did to people like Jack, people who were so confident and
sure of themselves. Other than on the site of an archeological dig or in
his lab, he just wasn't that sort of person.

Jack had offered some suggestions to him, but he had dismissed them all,
they just weren't his style. He wasn't even sure what his style was.
Then they had gotten sidetracked and the topic was forgotten. They had
made a lot of progress though; Daniel had inadvertently helped Jack
remember some events, most of which Daniel would have preferred him never
to remember.

Rolling onto his side, he pulled his knees up to his chest as his stomach
cramped with another wave of nausea. He squeezed his eyes closed even
harder, willing this all to stop. "This was not how I expected *this* day
to go," he muttered groggily to himself.

"How did you expect it to go then Daniel?" Janet's voice filtered across
the room.
"I expected you to squeal that you would, then we'd spend the rest of the
afternoon celebrating and making love because Cassie wouldn't be home
from school till after four," he murmured sleepily, not realizing until
it was already out of his mouth what he had just said.

//Damn it!// He berated himself, knowing that the residual alcohol in his
system had fueled his tongue.

"What would we be celebrating?" he felt Janet's weight perching on the
bed next to him.

He wracked his brain, trying to find some way to extricate himself from
this situation with some dignity left intact. Nothing came to him, so he
opted for the easy way out, pretend to fall asleep. At least then she
might just assume he was talking nonsense.

He forced his body to relax, to give the impression he was drifting off
to sleep. "Celebrating?" he asked, his voice barely loud enough to hear,
the kind of tone that a person half-asleep would use.

Daniel could almost feel her willingness for him to continue, her
curiosity naturally piqued. She was almost quivering with anticipation
next to him. Did she have any inkling of what he was going on about? He
hoped not, and he was not going to give anything else away now.

After what felt like an eternity he heard her sigh softly and stand from
the bed, her disappointment obvious. Daniel's heart sank, he hadn't
intended on upsetting her. He opened his eyes, reaching out and taking
her hand. "Janet," he whispered, pulling her back to the bed.

She let herself be pulled back to the bed, her eyes wide with curiosity
as she settled back onto the bed. "What's up Daniel?"

He couldn't believe it was going to happen like this, but the alcohol
still in his system had taken what was left of his commonsense and
rationality and tossed it aside. Reaching passed her he pulled open the
top drawer of his bedside table and fumbled around inside, his fingers
finally brushing the small felt box he had tucked in the back of the
drawer.

He took a deep breath, the small box fitting perfectly in his palm so
Janet couldn't see it and pulling it back under the sheets. He took her
hand in his, met eyes that were looking down at him in concern. "I ... ah
... I've been thinking a lot lately, about where I want my life to go,
what I want to change about my life ... and what I don't want to change."

"Daniel?" Janet asked uncertainly as he paused, fear crossing her face.

He smiled nervously, his hands shaking. "After Sha're I didn't think I
would ever find anyone ever again, I never thought I would fall in love
again, but I did. Janet, I never want to let you go," he reached under
the sheets, pulling out the box and opening it. Janet's eyes grew, her
mouth opened with surprise. "Will you marry me, Janet?"

Her eyes drifted from the ring, to Daniel's face and back again, her
mouth opening and closing like she wanted to say something and couldn't
articulate the words. Tears began to stream down her cheeks as she
nodded her yes.

Daniel grinned, pulling the ring out of the box and sliding it onto her
finger. The ring had belonged to his mother, one of the few items from
his parents that he had ever received. It seemed fitting now that he
gave it to the woman that was going to be his wife.

He sat up, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her close to his
chest. This was only the beginning, he knew, of the life they were going
to share together.

*******************

Sam and Jack sat in the small exam room waiting for Janet to arrive for
Sam's ultrasound. Sam smiled as she watched Jack pace the room, randomly
[investigating] various pieces of equipment. Jack was not a patient
waiter, and today was no different. He picked up an accessory from the
ultrasound machine, seeming to find it rather interesting.

"Jack, honey, should you be touching that?" Sam asked, amusement lacing
her voice.

Jack's head jerked up and he looked all the while like the guilty child
with his hand caught in the cookie jar. Sam burst out laughing, causing
Jack to do the same. "I'm sorry, Sam. I just hate waiting." He said
coming over to her.

"I know you do," Sam said trying not to laugh again.

He sat down in the chair next to her. He put his arm around her and she
leaned her head on his shoulder. They sat in silence, just listening to
each other breathing softly. Jack was starting to shift anxiously again
when Janet walked in.

"Sorry I'm late guys. SG-10 just got back. They all fell down an
embankment on the way back to the gate fleeing from Jaffa. I just
finished setting and casting three broken legs, four broken arms, ten
fractured ribs and a fractured [sternum?]." She explained in a rush of
words.

"And a partridge in a pear tree?" Jack asked throwing in his jab with a
smile.

"Yeah something like that," Janet chuckled. "Needless to say, they're
going to have a lot of fun in the coming weeks."

Janet moved over to set up her equipment in a flurry of motion. "Sam if I
could just have you change into this gown and hop up onto the bed, we can
get started."

Sam quickly shed her clothes and donned the lovely infirmary gown behind
the screen provided. Jack helped her onto the examination bed, as it was
getting more difficult for her to do such things of late. Once Sam was
settled back against the bed, Janet covered her lower torso with a sheet
and lifted her gown above her growing stomach.

Janet applied a thin layer of lubricating gel to Sam's stomach, and
pressed the transducer against her skin, moving it along the surface.

"Since you're far enough along now, you're able to have a 3-D ultrasound.
In fact you are the first person to get to use this," Janet grinned. "We
get all the great toys in the Air Force."

"Sweet!" Jack commented and he and Sam both smiled.

Janet angled the monitor so they could see it better from their position.
Suddenly the sensor detected a form and placed it on the screen. A few
seconds passed and it was soon replaced by a face.

"Oh wow!" Jack breathed through a suddenly constricted throat.

"Oh Jack look! That's our baby." Sam said through her tears.

Jack leaned over and placed a loving kiss on her lips, telling her
without words how much he loved her.

"Do you want to know what it is?" Janet questioned the couple. Jack met
Sam's eyes and they turned to Janet, smiling their answer.

"You're going to have...a little girl." Janet grinned at the look on
Jack's face.

"A girl! Sam were gonna have a girl." He said in amazement. Sam couldn't
speak around the tears of happiness that had formed.

The baby's face turned away from them, bobbing on the screen. More
indiscernible images appeared, moving and bouncing across the screen.

"What's that?" Jack asked, his attention fully focused on the screen.

"It may be just a reflection. Let me change angles here," Janet explained
as she moved the device to another section of Sam's stomach.

"I may have been wrong guys," Janet looked closer at the screen.

"What? Is it a boy instead," Jack asked, though not in disappointment.
He would be happy with either a boy or a girl, son or daughter, his baby
would be perfect either way.

"Well..."

"Janet? What's wrong," Sam asked with a degree of panic lacing her voice.

As if the baby could sense the tension, it flip-flopped on the screen.
Sam's eyes flew from the screen to her stomach and back again.

"Nothing's wrong, per say," Janet said, a ghost of a smile playing across
her lips.

"Well, is it a boy or a girl?" Jack asked as he took Sam's hand
reassuringly in his.

"Umm...well. It could be both."

"Huh? Janet what are you talking about?" Jack sat up tensely in his
chair.
Janet's finger pointed to a spot on the screen. "You see that? That's a
heartbeat." She looked at Sam and Jack for confirmation that they were
following along. She turned back to the monitor, moving her finger to
another point on the screen.

"And you see that? That's a second heartbeat." She faced Jack and Sam
again, as she waited for realization to dawn on them.

"You mean..." Sam stopped short.

"We're gonna have..." Jack drifted off.

"Twins?!" Sam and Jack looked at each other, echoing the other.

"That would be an affirmative," Janet answered them, smiling broadly at
the expressions on their faces.

Jack looked over at Sam, stunned beyond belief. The look on her face
mirrored his own.

"Twins?! As in ... that means ... more than one! Two! We're gonna have
... twins." Jack couldn't form a coherent sentence for the life of him.
All Sam could do was smile a silly grin through the tears rolling down
her face. Jack leaned over Sam and embraced her, and then kissed her
breathless.

A knock sounded at the door. The interruption didn't even faze the happy
couple by the look of the dazed expressions still lingering on their
faces. Janet smiled as she opened the door. Her smile increased as she
saw who stood behind it. Daniel smiled back at her, silently questioning
her with his eyes, wanting to know what was happening. She opened the
door wider to allow him to enter. However, she didn't say a word to him,
only smiled; sure he would find out soon enough the unexpected, but good
news. Daniel just glanced at her strangely, smiling in return.

"Sam, Jack. So how's it going? Ultrasound went well I assume?" He said
greeting the soon-to-be parents.

Jack swung his head around to face Daniel, smiling from ear to ear.
"Danny-Boy!" Jack cleared his chair and wrapped his arms around Daniel in
what had to be the biggest bear hug anyone had ever received from Jack
O'Neill.

Daniel stood there, his arms sticking out like a scarecrow, his eyes
darting between Janet, Sam and Jack. "It's good to see you, too, Jack.
Umm ... Jack," He said through clenched teeth, "you're breaking my ribs
here."

Jack released Daniel quickly, apologizing and having the grace to look
mildly embarrassed. Daniel just shrugged it off with a smile as he
stepped over to Janet and put his arm around her.

"So I'll take that as a "yes" that everything is going well," he said
with a light chuckle.

"Better than well," Jack said with one of the hugest grins that Daniel
had ever seen. "You're going to be an uncle..."

"Well I knew that Jack," Daniel commented as Jack turned back to Sam. He
grasped her hand and turned back to Daniel, smile still in place.

"You're going to be an uncle ... twice over."

Daniel stood there, a blank expression on his face as he processed the
new information. Everyone could nearly hear the wheels turning in his
head, when Daniel's eyes bulged and he looked and he looked down at Janet
then towards Jack and Sam. His mouth was opening and closing but nothing
was coming out.

"You mean ... two ... you're gonna have ... two ... babies ... twins?!"
Daniel stuttered, his face turning a nice shade of red, or at least Janet
thought so. She loved when that happened. He looked so adorable when he
tried to comprehend the simplest of information. Jack only nodded happily
in response before turning back to his beaming and beautifully pregnant
fiancé.

Daniel continued to stand there in what appeared to be shock. Janet
smirked as she elbowed him softly in the ribs. She looked up at him in
mock consternation. "By your reaction you'd think you were having the
babies, not Sam and Jack."

Daniel smiled tenderly before leaning down and placing a gentle kiss on
her lips. He pulled back slightly, just enough to look into her fluid
brown eyes and whispered. "I've been thinking ... would that be such a
bad thing?"

Janet's brow creased momentarily before she grasped the meaning of his
words. Her lips curved upward as she pulled his head down for another,
longer, life-changing kiss.

*******************

Sam sat in front of the roaring fire flipping through the books that they
had picked up on the way home. After Jack had recovered from his fleeting
lapse of shock, he had insisted that they go by the local bookstore and
buy every single book on babies, twins, and pregnancy in general. Though
they didn't clean out the entire store, they came close. In fact, half of
Jack's truck bed was packed with bags and boxes of books. The clerk at
the store had to rummage through the stockroom for boxes because they ran
out of bags big enough. The thought made Sam laugh. She had never seen
Jack so excited as he was that day. In her heart, she knew that their
babies were healing him. She knew then and there that Jack was going to
be all right.

He may never forget what happened to him when he was imprisoned, but he
wasn't going to let it keep him down.

Sam was awakened out of her reverie when Jack sat down beside her on the
floor. He handed her a mug of hot chocolate, earning him a smile and a
kiss.

"Wow! If I knew that's what hot chocolate got me, I'd give it to ya more
often." Jack said grinning, and earning him a playful slap to the arm.

"Hey now!" Jack laughed nonchalantly.

"We have work to do mister," Sam said eyeing him with a mock glare.
"After spending all that money on books, we shouldn't waste them, now
should we."

"No I guess not." He said as he leaned over her to pull a stack of books
to him. He looked at the top book and read the title out loud. "'What To
Expect When You're Expecting.' Sam I think this one is more for you." He
put the book on the stack she had accumulated then glanced down at the
next book. Jack smiled. "Now this is more my style. 'Daddy's Little
Fishing Buddy'." Jack looked over at Sam, having achieved making her
smile at him. His one major goal in life, keeping his soon-to-be wife
happy.

"Jack, you're incorrigible you know."

"I know." He grinned.

Sam discarded the book she had been looking at and went on to another. A
book of baby names. She had seen three of those books in the many stacks
they had started all over the floor. She began flipping through it
randomly when an idea struck her. She smiled hoping Jack would go along
with her.

"Jack, honey, could you go get a couple of tablets of paper and some
pens." She said, still looking at the book.

Jack glanced over at her briefly before looking back at his own book,
clearly caught up in it. "Sure, sweetie, what for?"

"Just an idea. I'll tell you when you come back." Sam said keeping her
voice neutral.

Jack got to his feet and stretched his legs and tried to get the kinks
out of his back, then made his way over to the desk in the corner. He
rifled through the drawers until he found what Sam was wanting. He walked
back over to her, handing her the tablets and pens as he sat back down.

"So what's this all about, sweetheart." Jack asked curiously.

Sam looked over at Jack a sweet smile lighting her face. "I was thinking
... since we just found out we're going to have not one, but two babies,
we should probably start thinking about names."

Jack took one of the books and tablets from her and grinned. "So do I get
to name our boy?"

Sam smiled in turn, but shook her head. "Actually I was thinking that we
could both write down girls and boys names, and then we can compare lists
to see which ones we like the best."

"Hmm ... okay." Jack agreed opening his book. He stuck the pen between
his teeth chewing on the end as he thought.

Sam grinned; glad Jack wanted to be involved in this. She ducked her head
and opened her book. She scanned names at random, sometimes unsure
whether or not they were really names at all. She sneaked a peak at
Jack's paper, but when he noticed her looking he smiled and covered his
paper with his hand. She smirked and went back to writing names down.
Jack eventually moved to the sofa claiming his knees were hurting. He
still continued to work on his list. Sam was just about finished. As soon
as she wrote down the last name she got up and rushed to the bathroom.
She now understood why her bladder could hold less and less, what with
two babies putting pressure against it.

Sam walked back into the living room fully relieved, and watched Jack, as
he was still completely involved with his project. She sat down in his
favorite chair and just watched him. The man she loved. The father of her
baby ... babies. She was going to have to get used to that. As Jack had
put it ... more than one. Sam smiled.

"Are you about done, hon?" She asked Jack.

He glanced up briefly and nodded. He continued on for a few more minutes,
when he closed his book and looked at her smiling, pleased with himself.

Sam rose and made her way to sit next to Jack on the sofa. He put his arm
around her and presented his list to her. She was amazed; he had found
more names than she had. In fact, he had names from every letter of the
alphabet. She had really underestimated him. Then she read off his
choices aloud, making comments on some of them.

"Alison ... Angel, oh I like that one. Aroha?! Jack what the heck is
Aroha." She gave him a look of utter puzzlement.

Jack had a wounded look on his face, but she could she the sparkle in his
eyes. "It means 'love' in New Zealand. I thought it was cute ... kinda."

"Oh, okay ...," Sam bowed her head again, and continued reading. "Bethany
... Brittany ... Calista ... Calista?! As in Calista Flockhart!? Jack, no
way!" She laughed at the look on his face.

"Well, I uh ... didn't think of that." He mumbled.

Sam chuckled again. "Catrina ... that's cute. Chloe is pretty. Colleen
... Dakota ...? Dakota ... hmm that doesn't sound too bad. Destiny..."
Sam looked up into Jack's eyes and he smiled so sweetly.

"I think it's a pretty name ... Destiny ... Destiny O'Neill?" Jack said
trying it out on his tongue.

Sam merely smiled back at him, and kept on reading, wanting to know all
his choices. "Ellie ... Erin ... Esmeralda ... Jack, have you been
watching Disney movies with Teal'c again?"

"Uh ... no." He answered not knowing what she was talking about.

Her laughter filled the air and she went on. "Farrah ... Felicity ...
Jack you really do watch too much TV you know."

"Huh ... oh ... uh ... sorry." Jack blushed.

"Gabrielle ... Gianna ... that's interesting. Gracie ... oh Jack I love
that name." Sam smiled up at Jack. He didn't respond, except with a smile
of his own.

"Holly ... Hope ... that's a beautiful name too. Isabelle ... Jade
...Jewel..." Sam did a perfect imitation of Teal'c on the last one.

"What?!" Jack defended himself. "She's got a great voice..."

Sam continued to look at him, she was having too much fun with this.

"What?!!" Jack said again.

Sam laughed and returned to the list.

"Kailey ... Kendra ... those are nice. Keziah ... okay I don't even wanna
go there. Laney ... Laurie ... Lili ... oh how pretty! Mackenzie ...
that's a good one. Jack these are really good." She glanced up at Jack.

"Keep reading, sweetheart. They get better."

Sam leaned over and kissed Jack lovingly on the lips. She pulled away
before he could do much, because she knew if she didn't they wouldn't get
anything done.

"Malorie ... Meghan ... Natalie ... Nicholette ... wow that's a mouthful.
Olivia ... Paige ... Quinn ... how nice. Raine ... Regan....oh I like
those. Sabrina ... Sidney... Sierra ... Tabitha. Jack these are just
wonderful. Trinity ... Valerie ... Whitney ... Zoe."

Sam just sat there in amazement. She couldn't believe how many Jack came
up with. So many more than she did. And that was just the girls.

"Sam ... sweetie. You okay?" Jack asked, a little worried.

"Yeah I'm fine." At Jack's look she continued. "Really Jack I am."

"Okay. If you insist. Hey do I get to read your list?" Jack asked
anxiously.

Sam handed hers to Jack, blushing slightly. "Okay, but it's not nearly as
good as yours."

"Oh Sammy I'm sure it is better." Jack told her reassuringly.

Jack cleared his throat and flicked the paper, showing off, and making
her giggle. "All right now. Alexandra ... Avery ... Bailey ...Brianna ...
Caitlin ... Charity ... Dawn ... Elizabeth ... Emma ... Evie ... Gracie.
Sweet! I like that one ... Hunter ... Jamie ... Josie ... Kelsey ...
Lacey ... Lexie ... Lynsey ... Maisie ... Melissa ... Rachel ... that's a
cool one. Reanna ... Sarina ... Skye ... Taylor." Jack looked at Sam. She
was biting her lip, obviously worried about what he would think about her
choices.

"Sam! These are great. I love them all." Jack assured her with a kiss.

"Do you really think so? Now we just have to decide on one." Sam worried
her lip again.

Jack chuckled. "You're right, but we really shouldn't rush these things.
We have to find just the right one. How about we take a look at the boys'
names." Jack suggested.

"Okay. Here's mine." Sam handed the list of the boys' names she had
comprised.

Jack attentively began reading them off as before. "Aaron ... Blake ...
Braden ... Caleb ... Dalton ... Evan ... Grant ... Gregory ... Ian ...
Jacob..." A slight smile lit Jack's face, but he quickly hid it, and read
on. "Kyle ... Lance ... Matthew ... Nathan ... Paul ... Riley ... Stuart
... Trent." Jack finished and looked over at Sam. She was hesitant to
look at him, shy even. He didn't know why. She picked some great names.
But only one would do.

"Here. Look at mine." He held out his paper to her. She took it from her.
He knew the moment her eyes absorbed his choice, because her face lit up
so beautifully. He would remember her look from that moment on. Sam threw
her arms around his neck, hugging him close. She was laughing and crying
at the same time. Jack joined in with her happiness, not able to contain
his own laughter from erupting.

"So I take it you like what I chose?" Jack pulled back and looked at
Sam's face. She was still smiling brightly.

"Jack! You couldn't have chosen anything better. Oh Jack!" Sam buried her
face against his neck when he pulled her in for another hug.

"So Jacob it is then."

*******************

Janet lay on her side in bed next to Daniel. She was resting her head on
his chest and he was casually running his fingers up and down her back.
He was quickly on his way to distracting her again, she thought with a
smile. She'd been thinking about some things tonight, and one in
particular she wanted to run by him. She was sure he would go along with
it, especially considering the developments of the evening.

"Daniel?" She asked hesitantly.

"Hmm?"

"I've got an idea."

"What is it, sweetheart?" Daniel queried looking down at her.

"What would you think of throwing a baby shower for Sam and Jack?"

"I think that's a wonderful idea." Daniel commented, as he kissed her.

"We could have it here and invite everyone from the SGC. Do you think we
should wait until after Christmas to have it?" She asked, though she went
on quickly. "Probably so since Christmas is in two weeks. Maybe mid-
January? That should give people time enough to recover from the
Christmas season."

Daniel smiled at her exuberance. He'd never seen Janet so excited before.
He could only imagine what she would be like when they had a baby of
their own.

"Oh Daniel, we have so much to organize and plan. I want this to be the
best baby shower for Sam and Jack."

Daniel chuckled. "I know you do. But can it wait until morning, Jan? I'm
pretty tired. You sure know how to wear a guy out," He teased.

"Well if you're so tired I can leave you here to get your beauty sleep,
while I go sleep on the sofa, then." She said poking him in the ribs,
giving him a taste of his own medicine.

"Don't you dare," He growled in her ear sensuously as he pulled her
closer.

He began kissing his way along her neck and she was responding in kind,
when they heard a crash down the hall. They both pulled apart
simultaneously.

"What was that?" Janet asked in a now whisper.

"I don't know," Daniel whispered back.

They were both frozen in place staring at the other, their ears straining
to hear any other noises. Another crash sounded, this time louder. Daniel
jumped out of bed quickly pulling on a pair of sweats and a t-shirt.
Janet sat in bed clutching the sheet around her body. Her face was a
reflection of shock and something else ... fear maybe?

Janet was shaken out of her stupor long enough to react. She leaned down
over the edge of the bed and came back up clutching a baseball bat.
Daniel looked at her, surprise written on his face.

"I'll explain to you later." Janet said abruptly.

Daniel grabbed the bat out of her hand and rushed to the door and eased
it open willing it not to squeak. When he got it open, he poked his head
around the doorjamb, looking both ways for plausible danger. Seeing no
obvious signs, he edged out of the room slinking along the wall, bat held
tightly in both hands. He heard something hitting glass, but not a
breaking sound. And it was coming from Cassie's room. His heartbeat
increased. He hoped against hope that someone hadn't broken into Cassie's
room, but he couldn't squelch thinking the worst.

He now stood in front of her closed door. His hand reached out for the
knob of its own accord, like he was trapped in a dream. A bad dream. He
eased the door open, not making a sound. He stepped into the still
darkened room. He raised the bat above his head with one hand, and went
for the light switch with his other.

And he yelled.

*******************

Janet was still sitting up in bed, as though frozen. Sure she was an
officer in the USAF, and a doctor ... but she could still be scared out
of her mind. The noises had been coming from the vicinity of her
daughter's room. That in itself was frightening, but so was the fact that
she couldn't make herself move. Daniel had been gone for what seemed like
forever, even though she knew it was merely seconds. Not remembering when
or how, she found herself standing in her doorway, straining to hear
anything, and debating whether to follow after Daniel.

That's when she heard it.

A masculine yell ... and a feminine scream.

Janet clutched the sheet tighter around her as she raced out of her room
and down the hall to her daughter's room. She came to a skidding halt in
the doorway, scared witless. And then she started laughing. Hysterically.

Daniel was standing barely inside the room, holding the bat above his
head in a somewhat threatening manner. Cassie was hanging halfway in her
room, her feet hanging outside the window. They both had shocked
expressions pasted on their faces, reflecting that they'd each found
something they hadn't expected.

"Janet you are not helping the situation." Daniel commented.

His statement lacked the sobering effect he had expected; it only
resulted in making her laugh harder. "I'm ... sor...sorry....Daniel...I
... can't help ... it.

Daniel glanced at her behind him, his expression bland, and his face pale
and drawn. Cassie still had not moved from her current position.

Janet realized at some point in her maniacal outburst, that she needed to
stop and reassess the situation. She stopped laughing albeit not
gracefully.

However, it seems that she didn't stop soon enough, as Daniel and Cassie
had already achieved arguing with the other.

"What on Earth do you think you were doing? It's 3:00 in the morning, for
crying out loud." Daniel raised his voice. It seems that Jack had rubbed
off on more than just a few people. Janet would have laughed, if not for
the seriousness of the situation.

"I went out." Cassie had climbed entirely through the window by this
point.

"Not in the get-up I hope!" Daniel exclaimed, his eyes nearly popping out
of his head. And he didn't even have his glasses on.

"What's wrong with it?" Cassie looked down at herself. She was clad in
skin-tight leather pants, with calf-high boots over them, and a flashy
red halter-top, which showed a bit more than Daniel cared to see.

"What's wrong with it? What's WRONG with it!? You're dressed like a
hooker, is what's wrong with it." That little vein in the side of his
neck was nearly popping, his nostrils flaring. Janet had never seen
Daniel this angry ... or was it upset? "Where did you go anyway to even
dress this absurdly?"

"I like it, thank you very much, and so does Mick." Realizing she'd said
too much, Cassie clamed up. But not before she got her jab in. "What do
you care? You're not my father."

Uh oh! Janet thought.

Daniel's face went a shade of red darker. "By God, if I'm gonna marry
your mother, I will be."
Daniel shocked everyone with his declaration, himself included. They had
decided to tell Cassie the next morning ... well it was morning now ...
that was beside the point now though. Janet just didn't picture it to go
this way. She mentally slapped her head and emitted a 'doh' borrowed from
Jack O'Neill's vocabulary.

"What?" Cassie couldn't believe what she just heard. She had withdrawn
several weeks ago, when she saw what was happening to her mom. Sure she'd
displayed all the signs of happiness, but she was told it couldn't last
forever. Many of her friends' parents were in similar relationships, some
that had gone sour. She didn't want to stand by and watch her mom be
hurt. She had heard too much of nasty breakups. Sure Daniel was great,
and they both loved him, but could their happiness last forever. She'd
already lost one set of parents to death. She didn't want to lose her
surrogate mother to heartbreak.

Daniel stood there, suddenly finding the bat very intriguing. He knew his
mouth had run away with itself ... again. Luckily for him, Janet stepped
in at that point.

"You heard Daniel. We're getting married." She looped her arm around his
waist and he held her closer to his side. He still didn't raise his eyes,
embarrassment setting in.

Cassie crossed her arms over her chest, her lips pinched into a tight
line. She knew she should be happy for them ... but she couldn't dispel a
sense of uneasiness. Was Daniel good enough for her mother, or would he
hurt her like her first husband had? Though now that Cassie got to
thinking back ... she had never seen her mother so happy, or at peace. In
fact, though she didn't want to admit it, Cassie had felt safe since
Daniel moved in with them. She missed her biological parents so much, and
being told she was going to have that stability and love again, was ...
well ... great. She tried to remain impassive, but failed as a smile
creased her features. She rushed into her mom's arms giving her unspoken
blessing.

Daniel was hesitant to hug Cassie at first, after what had happened
shortly before. But his mind was put at ease when she went into his arms,
her head against his chest. He felt a sudden dampness on his shirt and
looked down. She had tears coursing down her cheeks.

"I'm sorry. I promise I won't do it again." Cassie hiccupped around a
sob.

Daniel brought his hand up to her hair, running his hand over it
comfortingly. He felt Janet put her arms around both of them. Eventually
Cassie's sobs subsided enough for her to speak. "So does this mean I get
to call you Dad now?" Ducking her head shyly.

"Uh ... " Daniel, for once in his life, was at a loss for a reply. But
not for long. "Yeah. I'd like that."

*******************

~One month later~

Sam stood before the mirror just looking at herself. It was getting to
where she thought she wouldn't be able to fit into anything soon. If it
wasn't for the new outfits that Jack had gotten her for Christmas, she
wouldn't have much. She should really go shopping again, she thought
smiling.

The dark burgundy button-up top looked good with her skin tone. She
really hated how the black stretch pants looked on her, though that was
about the only pants she could wear these days. She heard the door open
and turned to see Jack walk in. She looked in the mirror once more
frowning. Jack noticed and came to stand behind her, wrapping his arms
around her.

"What's wrong, baby?"

Sam's frown got deeper. "I look horrible. Nothing fits, and I hate these
pants." Luckily enough for Jack, she wasn't on the verge of tears this
time. The incident a day before the base Christmas party instigated him
into buying Sam a half a wardrobe, so she would have something that would
fit. She wasn't fat by any means; in fact Jack loved the way she had
filled out, making her body curvier in all the right places.

"Oh I dunno. Those pants look real sexy on ya." He pinched her rear
jokingly getting a small squeal out of her. "In fact, I may not want to
let the guys see ya in them, they might drool all over the floor. And you
know how I hate cleaning up messes."

"Jack!" Sam reprimanded with a broad grin. He knew he could make her
smile. He always could.

"Hey I can't help it if my fiancé is hot!"

"Hot and sexy is definitely NOT what I am feeling right now." She said
turning her head, though still smiling.

"Well I say you are so you are, okay sweetheart?" Jack lowered his head
for a kiss. Sam moaned and turned in his arms. It had been awkward of
late, to get intimate, because of Sam's growing form. But Jack didn't let
that stop him. If anything it made him want her more.

Grudgingly though, Jack brought the kiss to and end. He knew that if they
didn't leave then, they never would. And they would have a lot of people
to explain to later.

"Sweetheart, we need to go. Janet will jab me extra hard with a needle
next mission if I don't get us there on time." Jack said, as he saw the
passion slowly drain from Sam's eyes. But a spark remained, telling him
he would pay later for stopping abruptly. Not that he minded any. Uh uh,
no way. He smiled deviously

"Jack..." Sam warned, knowing the look in his eyes.

"What ... I didn't say anything." Jack defended himself.

"You didn't have to say anything." Sam smiled in turn.

Jack led her downstairs and bundled her into her coat. If anything
January was more frigid than December had been. Sam had lucked out and
not been sick all winter, aside from morning sickness, that is. The drive
to Janet and Daniel's house was uneventful, and was made in a comfortable
silence. Sam managed not to fall asleep this time, as she had started
doing on any car trip, however short they may be.

They pulled into the driveway, seeing it was close to filling up already
as was the sides of the street. Jack helped Sam out of his truck. They
trudged up to the front porch and knocked. They heard laughter and
talking behind the door, before it was opened. Daniel welcomed them and
shuffled them into the house, taking their coats.

Sam looked around amazed at the wonderful decorations. Janet really did
outdo herself. Janet walked out of the family room to welcome Sam. Sam
was looking around with amazement at the wonderful decorations. The look
on Sam's face was enough thanks for Janet. They hugged then Janet went
into the kitchen to retrieve beverages for the guests of honor.

Daniel led Jack and Sam into the family room and a chorus of hellos and
well wishes were sent their way. Sam thankfully sat down on the sofa,
after Major Louis Ferretti offered her his seat. He moved to the floor
not far from her and carried on a conversation with her, while Jack was
engaged in conversation with General Hammond on the other side.

"Major, I owe you and the Colonel big time." Sam looked at him surprised.

"Why's that Ferretti?" Sam asked.

"Well if it wasn't for your resignation, Major, I wouldn't have got my
transfer back to Cheyenne Mountain."

"Oh. Well glad I could help." Sam laughed in return. "And you can forgo
the 'Major', it's just Doctor now. Or Sam."

"Then it's Louis." Ferretti commented.

"Sure thing, Louis."

Janet came in with their drinks then. As it was a baby shower, and the
mother-to-be couldn't enjoy any alcoholic beverages, only lemonade and
coffee were being served.

"So are you ready to get this show on the road?" Janet whispered to Sam.
Sam smiled her answer.

"All right everyone. It's time to shower the new mommy and daddy-to-be
with gifts." Janet proclaimed enthusiastically.

A hush fell over the room as all attention fell on Sam and Jack. Soon
enough an excited buzz filled the room as the anticipation grew. The sofa
was cleared, leaving the couple sitting there to await their gifts.

Cassie being the youngest person in attendance requested the important
job of presenting the gifts to the new parents. Everyone gathered around
the room, whether it be sitting or standing, to gain a better view of the
couple.

The first gift was placed on Sam's lap. Sam read the card aloud. "Jack
and Sam. Congrats on the babies. Good to know the world will be safe with
little astrophysicists with bad senses of humor running around.
Ferretti." Laughter rang around the room. "Well I know who the
astrophysicist is, so I guess that leaves the 'bad sense of humor' to
you, honey." Sam directed her comment jokingly to Jack, and more laughter
erupted.

She tore into the shiny pink and blue package ... and a huge smile lit
her face. She held up the items. Two, tiny, matching camouflage onesies.
Laughter went up from the women in the room; the men let out grunts of
approval, and the Marines, of course, their common 'Oorahs'.

"Training them awful young, aren't ya Colonel?" Someone in the back of
the room asked.

"Heck yeah! Never too young to train 'em." Jack called back, smiling.

"Sweetie, can we at least wait till they're out of diapers?" Sam threw at
him good-naturedly.

Sam sent her thank-you's towards Ferretti as she laid his gift aside.
Cassie handed more her way. Sam gave a couple to Jack to open, "oohing"
and "ahhing" over them as he did so.

The next one, from General Hammond, was a thin, rectangular box covered
in silver wrapping with iridescent bows. Careful to not rip the paper,
Sam eased the box out of the wrapping. When she'd succeeded she lifted
the top off the box and parted the tissue paper. She gasped in
wonderment.

"Oh, Sir! These are beautiful." She breathed. She lifted the contents out
of the box still inspecting them. Attached to cards, were Wish and
Remembrance bracelets for the baby's mother. They were both made of
Sterling Silver, but one bracelet had blue crystal beads and the other
had pink. Sam was moved to tears as she thanked the General for his
thoughtful gifts.

The next gift was from Janet and Daniel. Daniel was nearly on the edge of
his seat; Janet had to practically hold him back as both Sam and Jack
opened their gift. As soon as the items were revealed, Daniel started
rattling off energetically what was enclosed in the neatly boxed newborn
sets.

"See one's blue and one's pink. And they both have receiving blankets ...
and ... and ... burp pads and flannel bibs. And wash cloths." Daniel
stuttered through his description. "Oh and no-scratch mittens." He said
with eyes wide open, as though the concept was brilliant.

Barely able to contain her excitement, Cassie handed her gifts, a
tallish, square package to Sam and a flat, rectangle box to Jack. Not
able to keep the smiles off their faces, they tore off the paper after
Cassie gave them the permission to 'rip into them'. She was practically
bouncing up and down in anticipation. They got the paper off and smiled
as they saw what was pictured on the boxes.

"Open them up and I'll show ya how they work." Cassie said as she knelt
down in front of them.

Sam opened her box and pulled out a weighty brown teddy bear. Cassie
spoke up again. "It's called a Mommy Bear. If you turn the dial on its
back it makes noises that sound like the womb. It's supposed to soothe
babies, since it sounds like what it was like when they were inside their
mom."

"Cassie this the best gift that the babies will have. Thank you so much
sweetie." Sam said as she bestowed a hug on Cassie. The crowd in the room
'aww'd at the display.

In the meantime Jack had taken his gift out of the box and was fiddling
with it. "Sweet!"

"Ain't it cool?" Cassie asked as she moved over in front of him. She
reached out and turned the knob on the back of the toy. A soft, soothing
water sound was emitted.

"Whatcha got there, Colonel?" Siler asked from the back of the room.

"It's uh..." Jack looked down at the box so he could get the name right.
"It's the Peaceful Planet Aquarium. And watch yourself Siler. Keep your
tools *away* from it ... I see that spark in your eyes."

The room was running rampant with laughter, having Jack O'Neill with tons
of attention paid him. More gifts soon followed. The entire SGC gave Sam
and Jack a double sport stroller. They all knew how Sam liked to run and
with two babies to keep up with, what better way to exercise than with
them.

Daniel stood up then and nodded towards Teal'c. "And last but certainly
not least... We had to save the biggest for last since we could barely
fit it in the house."

Teal'c, or who they thought was Teal'c, for he was hidden by two VERY
large fuzzy teddy bears. In fact they were nearly as tall as Teal'c
himself, which was saying a lot, because he usually towered over
everyone.

"Teal'c, buddy, you shouldn't have." Jack said barely containing his
laughter.

Teal'c's head appeared in between the two bears, which made for quite a
humorous picture. Puzzlement lit his face as he lifted his brow. "I had
been informed that stuffed bears were an appropriate gift for infants. Is
it not customary to give a gift for each child?"

No one in the room dared to laugh at Teal'c as they knew that if they
were ever in the ring with him, they would get their butts royally
whooped.

"They are quite ... big ... aren't they?" Jack asked looking at Sam with
all the seriousness his tone could muster. Sam had a slight grin on her
face and her eyes were shining.

"Thanks Teal'c. They're great. It's the perfect gift for the babies." Sam
said as she sent a genuine smile his way.

"Well everyone, I guess that's it. You are all welcome to stay and visit.
We would all like to thank you for showing up ... and I am sure Sam and
Jack are grateful for you coming ..."

Jack stood up then. "Actually there is one more gift. Two to be precise."

Sam glanced up at Jack, confused. Daniel handed him two flat packages,
and Jack sat on the edge of the sofa facing Sam. "Sweetheart, I've been
trying to think of the best gift to give our babies. It took me quite
awhile to decide on this. But I think it is the best choice. I hope you
like it." Jack took her hands and turned her palms facing upward and
placed the packages in her hands.

She looked at him uncomprehendingly. She unwrapped the packages, pulling
a picture frame out of each of them. She lifted the first one up and read
it. Her eyes got blurry as she tried to focus on the words she was
reading. Not trusting what she just read she lifted the second one. When
she had finished reading she looked at Jack with tears in her eyes. "Oh
Jack ... I ... I ..."

"Is that a good 'I' or a bad 'I'?" Jack smiled at her gauging her
reaction.

"Good. Very good."

"Well are you going to keep us in suspense forever?" Janet asked
anxiously.

Sam gave a little giggle as she pulled back from Jack wiping her eyes.
She cleared the lump in her throat and began to read from the frames she
held. "Star Registry. This certificate states that a star was officially
registered in the Universal Star Catalog's database designated by the
world renowned Smithsonian Astrophysical Institute in honor of Jacob
Daniel O'Neill."

"Ohh"s went up around the room, and a hush soon covered the room. "What
does the second one say?" Janet asked in a near whisper.

"This certificate states that a star was officially registered in the
Universal Star Catalog's database designated by the world renowned
Smithsonian Astrophysical Institute in honor of Rachel Mackenzie
O'Neill."

"Ahh"s echoed in the air as finally the names of Sam and Jack's babies
were revealed.

*******************

Sam stood from her stool and tried to stretch her back out. It seemed
like it constantly ached at the moment, the weight of two babies causing
havoc with her spine. She frowned, she missed Jack deeply, he normally
seemed to sense when she was uncomfortable and turned up to rub her back
just as she needed it. But he was offworld now, on some sort of training
mission that just happened to come up two days before the babies were
due.

She seemed to be able to sit for ten minutes, and then have to stand for
another ten. She felt like a damn yo-yo, up down, up down, waddle down
the corridor to the bathroom, and then up-down again in a vicious
repeating cycle. She couldn't wait for this to all be over, for the
constant discomfort she was currently feeling to end.

Waddling over to her shelves, she stood there for a moment wondering how
she was going to get the book she needed down, and why the hell she had
put it that high up in the first place. She knew why, of course, because
a couple of weeks ago she would have been able to get at it with no
trouble standing on her tiptoes, but now she couldn't be bothered
exerting that much effort for a stupid book.

So she shuffled back to her seat and flopped back down on it with a
frustrated growl. Okay, so she was angry, she couldn't help herself, but
the one time she really needed Jack to be around he wasn't. He wasn't
supposed to go on this mission at all, or any, they had arranged with the
General that he have a month off in and around the time the babies were
due. That was until this mission came up and everyone that could do it
was either injured or offworld.

Even knowing that it was a routine training mission, that he could be
contacted as soon as something happened, it did nothing to make her feel
better. She wanted him here, now. It had only been a day, but she
missed him. She had a nagging, irrational fear that he was somehow going
to miss the birth.

She gasped as she felt a little twinge in her lower belly, but it was
gone almost as quick as it came, so she dismissed it as another false
contraction. She'd had a false labor less than a week ago and ever since
had felt the occasional twinge, that she was at the point that she could
almost ignore them completely.

A soft knock on the door startled her, though she knew it shouldn't,
someone had been checking up on every half hour. She looked up to find
her father standing in the doorway, an enormous grin on his face. She
was pleasantly surprised; she hadn't heard the activation alert, then
again, now that she was no longer an 'active' member if an SG team she
had begun to tune out the alerts.

"Dad!" she gave him an answering grin and stood from her stool with all
the elegance her bloated form could muster.

Jacob had already crossed the room and pulled her into his arms before
she was fully standing. "Sammy. You look radiant baby." He said in her
ear, squeezing her tightly. He pulled away to look her up and down. "Oh,
now I'm really sorry I haven't been around more!"

Sam would have laughed at his last comment if his compliment hadn't
flustered her. Jacob had spent every spare moment he had on Earth with
them. It equated to a couple of days every few weeks. It seemed he
hadn't wanted to miss a single moment of her pregnancy. She had loved
the fact that she had been able to spend so much time with him.

Sam flushed, and gave her father a shy grin. "What are you doing back so
soon? I thought you had to go on another mission?"

Jacob laughed and let go of her, guiding her back down onto the stool.
"And miss my baby girl having her babies? I didn't want to miss this
Sammy; I wanted to be here for you and Jack. Where is he anyway?"

Sam's happiness that her father was going to be there for the birth
quickly faded away into anger again. "He's off on a training mission.
Major Griff was supposed to be doing it, but he was injured during SG-2's
last mission, and no one else could do it, except for Jack," she sighed.

Jacob pursed his lips, looking mildly annoyed himself. "He'll be back in
time won't he?" he asked sounding concerned.

"Of course he will," Sam scoffed,"And the only reason he agreed to go was
that he would be recalled if I went into labor early."

Her father looked relieved. "That's good then, otherwise I would've had
to kick his butt."

Sam smiled, "*That* I would like to see."

Jacob chuckled, his eyes dipping down to her belly. "You really do look
wonderful, you know," he told her, a hint of sadness touching his face.
"My baby girl is all grown up."

Sam flushed again and glanced down at the table, a frown creasing her
brow. She was going to get all emotional again soon, especially if he
kept that up.

"I'm so proud of you Sam."

It was too much; no matter how hard she tried she couldn't stop the tears
that were now flowing down her cheeks. Nor could she prevent the sobs
that shook her shoulders a moment later. This was all too much,
everything was too much. She wasn't ready for any of this; she wasn't
ready for the fact that in a couple of days her life was going to change
completely.

She could hear her fathers chair scraping across the floor as he stood,
then felt his arms wrap comfortingly around her shoulders. "What's wrong
baby?"

The feel of her father's arms around her calmed her almost instantly.
She buried her face in his chest, feeling like she was seven years old
again. "I'm scared Dad," she sobbed, admitting to something that had
always tried not to. "I don't think I'm ready for this yet. I'm gonna
mess this up, I just know it."

Jacob pulled back from her slightly; cupping her chin and tilting her
face up to look at him. He had a small smile on his face. "Sammy, you
know your mother said exactly the same thing to me too?" he whispered,
his voice infinitely comforting. "And look how you and Mark both turned
out. Your mother would have been so proud of both of you."

His words only prompted a fresh bout of tears. She wished her mom was
here. She buried her face back into his chest, gripping his shirt
tightly in her fists. He began to stroke her back slowly, humming
gently, soothingly. "I'm worried that Jack's not going to make it back in
time- that something's going to go wrong, with him or me and the babies.
I just want this to be over!" she wailed.

"Baby," Jacob said softly, stroking her hair. "I think every woman goes
through this so close to their due date. Don't worry; everything is
going to be fine, you'll see."

Sam looked up at her father, her tears gone. His words made perfect
sense, naturally, and she cursed the raging hormones and the irrational
outbursts that they caused. She pulled out of the embrace and looked
down at her hands feeling embarrassed and foolish.

Jacob took her hands, holding them tightly in his own. "Sam, do you
realize how lucky you are?" he asked her softly. "You're engaged to a
great guy who would move heaven and earth to make sure you're happy.
You're about to have two beautiful and healthy babies. You have great
friends that are there for you when you need them. What more do you
need?"

She flushed again and looked down at her hands as she tried to dispel the
first thought that his question had raised. My fiancé here with me now.
But her dad was right, yet again. She was lucky, hell extremely lucky,
to have all that in her live. She took several deep breaths to try and
steady her erratic breathing. "Thanks, Dad."

His arms snaked around her again and he gave her a brief hug. "You don't
need to thank me baby," he responded. He pulled back once again, looking
down into her eyes, searching for something. "Is there anything else?"

Sam shook her head no, aware that Jacob would know if she was lying
anyway. "No that's about it, Dad."

"Good," he replied standing up; his eyes still full of concern. "Are you
sure you're okay?"

Sam smiled. "Yes, Dad."

He stepped forward and brushed a kiss on his forehead. "I'm just going to
go and change into some 'human' clothes," he said with a wry twist of his
lips. It was only then that Sam noticed he was still in his Tok'ra get
up. "Page me if you have any problems okay?"

Sam smiled warmly, feeling better now that she had gotten her worries off
her chest, now that she knew that he father was going to be here for the
long haul. "Of course I will."

Brushing another kiss on her cheek, he turned and left her lab. She
watched him leave listlessly; missing Jack all the more now that she was
alone. She twisted her attention back to the artifact in front of her,
trying hard to ignore the second little twinge in her belly. Now it was
just becoming a damned nuisance.

Grabbing a couple of tools off the bench she proceeded to attempt to
dismantle it. She had no idea what it was, and quite frankly she didn't
really care at this point in time, she just needed something that would
distract her. It wasn't working very well at all. Oh who am I kidding?

She tossed the tools down, disgusted with herself. By all rights she
should be at home resting, as Janet had told her many times. But she
couldn't stay away, she was bored at home and at least here she could
find something to do. At least here she had company nearby since Jack
was off world.

"Is everything okay Samantha Carter?"

Again, she felt herself jump in surprise, though to his credit if Teal'c
noticed he didn't let on as she turned to face him. "Oh, Teal'c!" she
gasped, trying desperately to recompose herself. "Everything's fine
Teal'c."

He inclined his head, seemingly satisfied with her answer, though with
Teal'c you could never tell. He stepped into the room, Daniel close on
his heels.

"Hey Sam."

Sam nodded. "Daniel." It had only been the fifteenth time today they had
said hello to each other.

"Are you ready to join us for the noon meal?" Teal'c asked her. He was
watching her like a hawk, she noticed, or more like an overprotective
protector.

Her stomach churned nauseatingly at the mention of food. "Why don't you
go on without me? I'm not really that hungry."

She could already tell by the look on Daniel's face that he wasn't going
to take no for an answer. His arms crossed over his chest and he looked
down his nose at her. "You know you have to eat Sam," he said
patronizingly.

Sam sighed, knowing that he was right, but still not feeling up to
actually eating anything. It would be nice to have a change of scenery
though. "Fine, I'll go with you then," she muttered as she stood up. Her
stomach cramped violently, and she doubled over from the pain with a
small moan.

She heard a shuffling of feet and a strong hand wrapped around her arm.
"Are you alright, Samantha Carter?"

The pain was so intense that it almost had her on the verge of tears.
She took several deep breaths and the pain faded away. It was then she
noticed the wetness between her legs that confirmed everything. It was
time.

She straightened up and caught the concerned eyes of both Daniel and
Teal'c. Daniel was looking wide-eyed at the now-wet floor under her
feet. "I think I need to get down to the infirmary," she replied quietly,
her words quickly spurring them into action.

*******************

Daniel burst into the control room, his heart in his throat with a
combination of adrenaline and excitement. Everyone turned to look at his
as he clattered his way breathlessly into the room, having run from the
Infirmary. The General turned, his eyes wide, and fastened a glare on
Daniel. It wasn't really good decorum to run around like a child when
there wasn't an emergency.

"Need ... to ... contact ... Jack," he gasped at Sergeant Davis.

Davis glanced up at the General. "Why don't you catch your breath and
then tell me what's going on son," the General told him, though he
already had an idea what the urgency was.

Daniel didn't bother paying attention to what the General had said. He
had to get Jack back now, or they were going to have one angry woman on
their hands really soon. "Sam," he breathed. "Her water broke ... we have
to ... get Jack back ... NOW."

He knew it wasn't good protocol to boss Hammond around, but right now he
didn't care, but if the General was bothered by it he didn't show it. "Do
it Sergeant."

Impatiently shifting from foot to foot Daniel waiting as the address to
the planet Jack was on was dialed up. //Did it always take this damn
long?// He wondered impatiently. He was desperate to get back and see
how Sam was doing.

It felt like an eternity had passed when the wormhole finally engaged and
Davis raised the Colonel on the radio. Daniel paced in oblivion until
Jack's voice piped over the radio. "What's the problem General?" he
asked, sounding irritated.

Daniel jumped forward, butting in before the General had a chance to get
the words out. "You gotta come back Jack," he blurted.

There was a moment of silence. "What's wrong?"

The General brushed past Daniel, nudging him out of the way of the
microphone. "There's nothing wrong, son, but you do need to get back.
Sam's just gone into labor."

There was another long silence, as Jack seemed to absorb the news. "Shut
the gate down, I'm coming back now," he said quickly, cutting the
transmission.

*******************

Jack was sure he had never moved so quickly in his life. He had managed
to get the trainees regrouped and packed in less than ten minutes; it was
almost like they had sensed his urgency. Half an hour later they had
reached the gate and without sparing a backward glance at the trainees he
was off running through the corridors of the SGC.

The moment he had been waiting for the last seven months was finally
here. Soon, very soon, he was going to be a father again. It was
suddenly scaring the crap out of him. After seven months of preparation
and waiting, why did this have to happen to him now? It wasn't second
thoughts, definitely not, but a nagging dread that he was going to do
something to screw it all up.

He knew it was irrational, but he couldn't help it. After Charlie, he
guessed he couldn't blame himself. But Sam needed him to be composed at
the moment; he couldn't let his doubts plague him. He vowed that he
would never go down the same path he had in the past, where his work was
more important than family. He would never do that again.

Nothing was going to come between him and his family. He'd been blessed
with this second chance and he wasn't going to blow it. Third chance, he
realized, all too aware of how close he had come losing everything at the
hands of Bastet. But he hadn't, he'd survived his memory almost
completely restored, his injuries healed the scar on his face fading
slowly.

He was the luckiest man alive.

He skidded to a halt just inside the doors of the Infirmary, receiving
several curious looks as a result. Okay, so he had forgotten to stow his
gear in his hurry to get to the Infirmary, but so what? His eyes darted
around in room, looking for a familiar face.

"Would you quit following me around?" an angry, and very familiar, female
voice yelled in the corridor behind him.

Jack felt a smile tug at his lips as he turned around to find Sam walk
slowly past the Infirmary door in a hospital gown, Daniel and Teal'c
walking slowly behind her attempting to obscure the gap in the back of
her gown from any prying eyes.

Grinning to himself, he quickly pulled off all his gear and dropped it on
the Infirmary floor. Stepping back into the corridor, he walked quietly
up behind his two friends and tapped them on their shoulders. He held a
finger to his lips as they turned, then leaned his head in to them,
whispering quietly,"My gear's in the Infirmary, can you move it? I'll
take over here."

Daniel nodded eagerly; seemingly keen to be away from Sam's scathing
tongue. Teal'c inclined his head and they both moved into the Infirmary.
Jack couldn't help his eyes roaming up and down the gap in her gown.
//Nine months pregnant and still sexy as hell,// he smiled to himself.
She continued walking up the corridor, oblivious to the changing of the
guard, so to speak.

Unable to contain his grin, he reached out and touched her shoulder, and
felt her almost bristling under his touch. Her head jerked around
angrily. "What?"

Jack stood there watching her silently as her expression changed. Her
face, flushed red with irritation, looked at him wide-eyed for a moment,
then realization seemed to dawn on her. She threw her arms around him,
pulling him tightly into her embrace. He wrapped his arms around her
waist, a small laugh rising in his throat. He had missed her so much.
"Hello to you to, baby."

Pushing him back, she swung out and punched his shoulder, hard. Her face
held a combination of anger and melancholy. "What the hell took you so
long?" she cried, smacking him in the shoulder again for posterity.

Jack had to smile; knowing it was just the stress winding her up. "I came
as quick as I could, baby," he responded quietly, grabbing her hands and
holding them tightly in his. Sara had been like this when she had gone
into labor with Charlie; he'd been told then that it was pretty normal
for the mother to be to fly off the handle a little. "But I'm here now,
and I'm not gonna leave your side without a fight."

Sam flushed and looked away from him. "You leave my side and I'll break
your arm. This is all your ..." She stopped, her face contorting in
agony, her hands squeezing his hard enough to produce a small cracking
sound.

Jack ignored the sudden pain as he wrapped his arms around her waist in
time to prevent her falling as her knees gave way with the force of the
contraction. "Ssh," he said soothingly. "It's okay, Sammy, it'll pass."

Sam sucked in a deep breath and straightened as the contraction stopped.
As she released his hand, he quickly stretched it out; relieved to find
that it still had movement, that it wasn't broken.

"How about we get you back to the Infirmary?" Jack suggested quietly,
seeing that the contraction had taken a bit out of her. He felt her nod
her head against his shoulder and turned them, guiding Sam slowly back
down the corridor to her private room.

*******************

Jack quickly donned the scrubs that Janet had provided for him, as he
couldn't get to the locker room to change out of his fatigues. He quickly
moved back to Sam's side. She was lying in the bed now, truly exhausted
after a rather long contraction. They were getting much more painful to
her and shorter apart, meaning that the time was near.

He could barely grasp the irony of it all. Several years ago he'd had his
entire life and everything he loved ripped from him. And here he was
being given it all back. The woman he loved and that loved him back
unconditionally. Two new lives that they created out of their love for
each other. A brand new start. He should be ecstatic ... but he was
scared to death.

His palms were sweating and he felt like he'd caught Sam's morning
sickness. He was light-headed and was sure he was sheet white. He willed
himself not to faint. That would be so not good. He had to be here for
Sam. Her strength was draining quickly. Having a baby was hard work, but
having twins was ... well ... harder work.

He brushed his hand across Sam's forehead. Her eyes opened and she
focused on him. He could see that the epidural was having its full effect
on her now; her eyes were slightly glazed over, though she was still
somewhat lucid.

"Jack?" She breathed.

"What is it baby?" Jack leaned in closer.

"I can't do this. I'm so tired. I can't ..."

"Sam don't you dare say that. You are the strongest person I know. If
anyone can do this, you can. You have been through much worse than this,
and this time around you get something good out of it. You get two
beautiful and healthy babies." Jack said running his hand over her hair
in a calming gesture.

Fresh tears formed in Sam's eyes. Jack could see her struggling to hold
them back. "I love you." She said as the tears slipped down her face.

He wiped them away with the tips of his fingers. "I love you too,
sweetheart."

He felt Sam tense beside him. Her eyes snapped shut and she held her
breath. Another contraction. Her mouth was clenched in a tight line. A
low guttural growl emitted through the slight gap of her lips.

"Breathe baby breathe." Jack urged softly beside her.

Sam reached up and grasped the edge of Jack's shirt, yanking him down to
her. "I am breathing!!" She fairly yelled at him.

"I can see that, hon. And you're doing such a good job, too." Jack gasped
out, as he was practically being strangled.

Sam released his shirt, sitting nearly upright and grabbed hold of the
bed rails to ride out the contraction. Jack smoothed his hand over Sam's
hair and down her back in a comforting motion. At that moment Janet
walked into the room, and he was glad to say the least.

"How are we doing?" Janet asked taking a peek at the latest on Sam's
chart.

Sam slumped back against the bed, breathing hard, sweat beads having
formed on her forehead. "How does it look like I am doing?!" Sam snapped.

"Oh, I'd say it shouldn't be much longer." Janet smiled, not at all
offended by Sam's outburst, though Jack did smile sheepishly.

Janet put the clipboard back down, and raised the sheet covering the
lower half of Sam's body. Jack watched as Janet ducked her head to
examine Sam's current status. "Hmm..."

"What is it?" Jack asked curiously.

"Shouldn't be much longer at all. You're eight centimeters dilated, Sam."
Janet smiled reassuringly.

"Good because ... HOLY CRAP!!!" Sam jerked upward again grasping the
railings again, her face contorted in pain and concentration.

Jack reached over to rub her back again to try to ease her suffering, and
was rewarded with a right hook to his chin. The impact knocked him
backwards, though not off his feet. He could swear he saw stars floating
in front of him.

"This is all your fault." Sam yelled at him her fist still raised.

Jack had a dazed expression on his face and Janet took pity on him, and
drew Sam's attention away from him. "Sam are the meds still working?"

Sam swung her head around her face reflecting the pain she was in, her
eyes flashing with anger. "They wore off three hours ago. So no they
aren't still working."

Janet frowned. "I'm sorry Sam, but I can't give you anymore, without
them affecting the babies. It would be too much of a risk."

Sam leaned back against the bed again in defeat. "I know," She
whispered, her anger diminishing as quickly as it appeared.

Jack eased his way back over to her, and took her hand into his
reassuringly. Janet smiled at the couple, as she got one last idea.

"There is one more option. I could give you the gas..."

Jack's brows nearly reached his hairline. "Doc? Is that such a good idea
... I mean, doesn't Sam have enough to worry about now without adding ...
errr ... gas to the equation?"

Heedless of her pain, Sam let a giggle escape. "Not that kind of gas,
Jack."

"The local anesthetic type ... you know ... gas mask?" Janet offered
forcing down a laugh.

"Well of course. I knew that." Jack mumbled ducking his head and fiddling
with Sam's delicate looking fingers.

Sam smiled at him sincerely before turning her attention back to Janet.
"No I want to be conscious for this. I want to know when my babies are
born."

Janet smiled softly. "Okay Sam. It won't be much longer before you won't
even have that option. Are you sure this is how you want to do this?"

"Yes, I'm sure." Sam smiled through the tears slipping down her face.

Sam barely noticed when Janet left the room. Her head was lying on the
small cushion behind her. Maybe she should have considered Janet's
option. No, she thought. I made the right decision. What was a little
discomfort, when in the end the results would be so good? Two little
miracles. Two miracles that were her very own. Hers and Jack's. The
thought made her pain shrink in comparison. She could handle the pain.

Not realizing she had been crying until Jack was wiping the tears away
with his fingers. "Sammy, it'll be over soon. I promise. And then we can
start our lives together. All four of us." He choked on the last.

Sam opened her eyes and saw Jack had tears running down his face. She
reached up as in a trance and brushed them away lightly with her
fingertips.

"I love you." She mouthed, not able to speak.

"I love you too." Jack's lips moved in the same fashion as hers. They
were both too overcome with emotion to manage to speak. But they didn't
have to. They could see the feelings emanating from the others' eyes. In
a blink of an eye their lives flashed before them.

"I love you too." Jack's lips moved in the same fashion as hers. They
were both too overcome with emotion to manage to speak. But they didn't
have to. They could see the feelings emanating from the others' eyes. In
a blink of an eye their lives flashed before them.

The day they met in that briefing room, challenging the other.

I recognize the way you make me feel

Stranded in a frozen cave, in the realms of a frigid desert of ice.

It's hard to think that
You might not be real

Bars separating them. One possessed by a symbiote. The other looking on
in pain, struggling to ignore his feelings.

I sense it now, the water's getting deep
I try to wash the pain away from me

One gripped by the devices of the Ancients, losing the ability to
function normally. The other helplessly unable to do anything.

'Cause you're everywhere to me

One implanted with a symbiote. The other watching as he is frozen to
prevent attachment.

And when I close my eyes it's you I see

One watching distantly as the other kisses her alternate self, a
dimension separating them. Pain ripping through her. Sadness engulfing
him.

You're everything I know
That makes me believe

Both being tortured by a satanic being. Stripped from the other. Holding
onto their sanity.

I'm not alone

One abandoned on a planet. One fighting to get the other home.

I'm not alone

One walking away shouting; angry. Hurt radiating from the other. Regret
and pain evident on both faces.

And when I touch your hand
It's then I understand

One inviting the other to go fishing. Hesitation. Hope. Anticipation.
Then a beam of light and he is gone.

The beauty that's within
It's now that we begin

A force field separating each other. Panic. Anguish. They each fear for
the other's life. One urges the other to leave, the other refuses. They
remain together.

You always light my way
I hope there never comes a day

Hundreds of feet below the surface, unaware of whom they really are,
unaware of where they belong. Trust in the other their only lifeline.

No matter where I go
I always feel you so

Cold vastness of space. One delirious and losing oxygen in a glider. The
other staring out a ship's window, unsure how to save him. So close, yet
so far away.

'Cause you're everywhere to me

One lying on an infirmary bed. Lifeless. Machines the only thing keeping
her alive. The other sitting by her bedside, powerless to do anything.
Dying inside himself.

And when I catch my breath
It's you I breathe

One searching for the other in a cavernous complex; desperation rising to
find her in time. The other hoping ... knowing he will come for her.

You're everything I know
That makes me believe
I'm not alone

One blind and dependent. The other guilty and caring. Coming together for
the first time in each other's arms. Their love for the other finally
expressed fully.

I'm not alone

Sam and Jack held each other's gaze for what seemed an eternity.
Clutching onto the other; seeing the memories flash through the other's
eyes. Emotions flitting across their faces. Sam's face was wet from tears
falling unbidden from her vivid blue eyes. Jack tried to suppress the
tears threatening to fall from his own eyes, however failing. Their tears
mingled on their joined hands. A sign of their past. A symbol of their
strong love.

Sam cringed as another contraction hit her full force. She gasped,
sobbing. It was the most painful she'd had. Jack was holding one of her
hands as he supported her back with her other. She breathed and gasped.
She flung her head back, after the wave had passed. Physically and
emotionally drained, she lay staring up at Jack.

"Jack. I want my Dad. I want you both here with me." Sam's face was pale
and drawn. But her eyes were aware.

Leaning down, he ran his hand down the side of her face, cupping her
cheek. He brought his lips to meet hers. He kissed her as though if he
stayed there long enough, he could take away her pain. Or maybe give her
his strength. He lifted his head opening his eyes to look at her. Her
face was still pale, but she was more peaceful.

"Okay. I'll get him for you. I'll be right back." He said softly.

Before he made his way to the door, he ran the backs of his hands over
his eyes, wiping the lingering tears from his face. He smiled.

*******************

Jacob Carter felt like he must have worn massive grooves into the floor
of the corridor from pacing up and down for the past several hours. How
long had it been now? Ten? Eleven? He had completely lost track of
time. Now he was thankful that he had stopped wearing a watch, otherwise
the wait would have driven him insane.

Every time he heard Sam cry out the sound tore at his heart. He had to
fight back the urge to race into that room, to take his daughters hand
and help coach her through the birth. It was out of his hands, though,
she wasn't his baby girl any longer and it was her husband-to-be in there
in his rightful place, waiting for his children to be born.

He hated waiting. In fact, he was beginning to hate it with a vengeance.
He spared a glance at Daniel, who seemed to be sleeping at the moment.
Jacob knew he wasn't, if anything the younger man was coiled tighter than
he was. Whenever Sam yelled out he was up out of his seat and pacing
again in a heartbeat, just like a brother would.

The thought brought a pang of guilt to Jacob's heart. Mark should be
here for this; he should be here for his sister. He wondered if anyone
had even contacted Mark to tell him. He knew that he should, right this
minute, but things still weren't great between them, and he didn't want
to move from this spot in case he missed something.

He sighed, forcing himself not to think about it. This was Sam's day,
Sam and Jack's, and he wasn't going to ruin it by regretted the mistakes
he had made in the past.

A strangled yell yanked his attention back to the door to Sam's room just
as it was yanked open. Jack's head appeared around the door, wide-eyed
and anxious and a vivid purple bruise blossoming on his cheek. "Jacob!
There you are!" he said, his voice strained, but cheerful. "Get in here
will ya!"

Jacob glanced down at Daniel, who had twisted in his chair to look up at
Jack, as his mind fought to comprehend that his wishes had just been
answered. "Are you sure?"

Jack's arm snaked around to doorframe, gripping Jacob's arm firmly. "Of
course I am. We both want you in here."

He didn't need to think twice about it. He was in the room before Jack
had a chance to step back completely. It was a shock at first, to see
his daughter like that, legs up in the stirrups, sweat pouring down her
face, her eyes glazed with pain. As horrifying as it looked, it was a
good thing. He was going to be a grandfather again.

He made it to her bedside in one large step and gathered her hand in his
as he brushed a kiss across her forehead. Her head turned in his
direction and she smiled pitifully as she caught his eye. She looked
exhausted. "Dad," she panted, still struggled to recover from her last
contraction. "I'm glad you're here."

Jacob patted her hand and grinned down at her. "Me too, baby."

Out of the corner of his eye he saw Jack moving back to Sam's other side
and pick up a plastic cup. He picked out a piece of ice and gently hold
it against Sam's lips. It still amazed Jacob, the amount of tenderness
that Jack showed towards Sam.

"How far along is she?"

Jack tore his eyes from Sam. "She's fully dilated. We're in the home
stretch now," he replied quietly, placing the cup back on the backside
table and brushing Sam's hair from her forehead.

Jacob felt her tense for a moment before the next contraction hit, then
the room burst into action as she cried out, squeezing his hand tightly
in hers at the same moment. He stifled the small groan growing in his
throat. He hadn't realized that Sam was so strong.

"It's okay, Sam," Jack told her soothingly. "Just breathe."

"Would you QUIT telling me to breathe! I know what I HAVE to do Jack!"
she snapped loudly, squeezing Jacob's hand even harder.

"Sam," Janet spoke softly, the first thing she had said since Jacob had
entered the room. "The baby's head is starting to crown, I need you to
push."

"I can't," Sam breathed, her voice twisted with agony as she flopped back
down on the bed, the contraction over for the moment.

Her eyes slid shut as she panted, trying to recover herself before the
next contraction hit. It wouldn't take long either. Jacob watched her,
his chest bursting with pride. She looked haggard and exhausted, yet her
face still carried a look of grim determination. //That's my Sammy.//

Jacob caught Jack's eyes long enough to shoot him a smile. Jack grinned
back, showing that Sam's outbursts were not bothering him in the least.
He had been through this before, after all, he must have expected the
irritability. Jack broke the contact and leaned over Sam, kissing her
forehead tenderly.

"You're doing so well, honey," he whispered to her, his lips still
brushing the skin of her face. "It's nearly over ... you'll be holding
our babies in no time." Sam's eyes opened slightly and she smiled
tiredly in response, her fingers tightening slightly on Jacob's hand.

Then too soon the moment was over. Her eyes widened and a moan of pain
tore from her throat. She sat up, tightening her grip on Jacob's hand
again. He ignored it as he leaned closer and echoed Jack's words.
"Breathe, Sammy," he told her, the Lamaze training he had had all those
years before coming back to him.

"Push Sam," Janet grated, sounding like she was talking through clenched
teeth. "Push, you can do it!"

Sam's face scrunched up, her face a mask of agony as she tried her best
to comply with Janet's orders. Her gripped tightened on his hand, as she
pushed with all her might. He leaned closer to her and could see Jack
was doing the same. "Come on Sam, your doing so well," he whispered
encouragingly. "Push!"

"The baby's head is out hon ... just one more push!" Janet told her.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw Jack dart off to stand behind Janet,
excitement shining in his face. Janet glanced back at him, a smile
tugging at her lips. "Do you want to do the honors Dad?"

Sam's eyes shot open, Jacob twisted to look at the doctor and his future
son-in-law. His mouth was agape with surprise. "What?" Jack asked
stupidly. "I ... I don't know anything about delivering babies!"

Janet laughed and stood quickly; guiding Jack into her vacated seat as a
nurse shoved a pair of latex gloves into his hands. "Don't worry Jack,
I'll be right here. All you have to do is support the baby as it comes
out."

Jacob watched the scene before him with amazement then he saw the look on
Janet's face and the glance she sent in Sam's direction. They had
planned this; they had planned for Jack to deliver the babies. He smiled
to himself as he turned his attention back to his daughter. He leaned in
closer to her. "Come on baby ... push ... let's give Jack the thrill of
his life."

"Okay Sam. We need one more big push." Janet urged hovering over Jack's
shoulder.

Sam inhaled deeply and gripped Jacob's hand with sudden strength. She
clenched her eyes closed as she pushed her firstborn into the world. She
fell back against the pillows in sheer exhaustion, her breath coming in
ragged gasps.

A thick silence descended on the room for a brief moment, before a tiny
but harsh cry echoed around the room. Jacob felt the small fear
clutching at his heart disappear at the sound. "It's Rachel," Jack
replied, his voice choked with more emotion than Jacob had ever heard.

*******************

Janet wasn't a hundred percent certain, but the more she watched Jack the
more she thought that he might be crying. Rachel's wails still filled
the room, but he hadn't made a move since. The only movement he seemed
to be making was a subtle shaking of his shoulders, the movement making
her think that maybe, just maybe, the rough tough Colonel was crying.

She glanced at Sam, to find her sagged back against her pillows, Jacob's
arms wrapped protectively around her. Her eyes were focused on Jack
though, like she was trying to see through all the obstacles that lay
between them to see their new baby.

Janet moved then, touching Jack gently on the shoulder. There were no
tears in his eyes as he looked up at her, but a look of profound joy that
she had never seen in his face before. He grinned and looked down at his
daughter again, her tiny form cradled in arms that suddenly looked
massive in comparison.

He seemed to know Janet's intent without her having to utter a word. He
raised Rachel up slightly, offering her to Janet, but she quickly shook
her head as the nurse handed her the instruments she needed. She could
feel Jack's eyes on her as she quickly and expertly clamped and cut the
umbilical cord and moved away again.

She tried to fight back the irrational pang of jealousy she felt as she
watched Jack stand, clutching Rachel protectively in his arms, gathering
the towel tighter around her. He moved around the bedside and perched
himself next to Sam, placing the baby gently into her outstretched arms.
Tears flowed down her friend's cheeks, her face lit with joy.

Jack leaned his head in close to her and whispered something that made
her smile grow and a small chuckle left her throat. Janet couldn't help
herself; she could feel her own tears building in her throat, tears of
happiness for this couple who had both suffered through so much. She
swatted the errant things from her cheeks, not willing to let on to her
staff that this was affecting her.

But Sam glanced at her then, and Janet knew that Sam was one of the few
people that could read her like a book. Her eyes pleaded at Janet to
come over, and she couldn't help herself, her feet moving with her own
accord. She couldn't help grinning at the tiny form lying there, now
silent, in her mother's arms. What she didn't expect was Sam to hold
Rachel up to her, offering her a hold of her baby even before her own
father.

Janet glanced quickly at Jacob, feeling guilty that she'd get to hold his
granddaughter before him. If he was bothered by it he didn't show it.
His grin was nearly as large as the proud parent's, as he nodded to her
happily. Carefully, she gathered the precious little life into her arms,
careful not to jostle her too much.
No sooner had Sam released Rachel than another contraction struck her.
She cried out tiredly, arching her back and sitting forward on the bed
again. Handing the baby to the nurse so she could clean her up, Janet
sprang into action, resuming the stool that Jack had just vacated to
examine the progress.

Janet could hear both Jack and Jacob whispering to her, trying to get Sam
to breathe again. Janet's heart went out to her, she was exhausted, and
now she had to go through it all again. A quick glance told Janet all
she needed to know. Baby Jacob was ready to come into the world.

She stood and caught Jack's eye. His eyes were wide. He looked like the
happiest man alive. "Ready to do the honors?" she asked him. His grin
widened more than she thought was possible and he practically bounded
back to the stool.

Janet stepped back, and once more surveyed the scene before her. She
still could not rid herself of the nagging jealousy she felt. Jack was
perched on the stool, his head popping up and down as he murmured
encouragement to Sam. Jacob had his arms wrapped firmly around her
shoulders, almost like he was trying to give his strength to her.

You could almost feel the love in the room. The corniness of the thought
made Janet smile, but it was the only way to describe it, and she felt
left out. It was silly, she knew that, but she couldn't help herself.
The worst thing was she wished it was her on that bed, that it was
Daniel's arms wrapped around her, supporting her as she brought their
baby into the world.

She groaned inwardly and opened eyes she hadn't realized she had closed.
That was corny, and stupid. But the more she watched Sam and Jack in the
last couple of months, the more the thought appealed to her. She wanted
to have a baby; she wanted to have a baby with Daniel. She knew he
wanted to, he had told her several times, in fact, that he wanted to
start a family.

Now, she was ready, her decision was firm. She only hoped that Cassie
would support this decision with the same fervor that she had when she
found out that they were engaged. Janet knew she would support the
decision, she would have to, otherwise she might find herself just having
to accept it.

"Push Sammy, he's almost out!"

Jack's raised voice drew her out of her musings. She moved closer to
Jack, ready to jump in if there was the slightest hint of something
wrong. The baby's head was out, and one push was all he needed. She
could hear Sam straining, the gently murmur of Jacob's voice as he
encouraged her, Janet found herself adding her own voice to his.

Then it was over. Sam gave a great gasping breath and fell back against
the pillows, panting heavily, as baby Jacob's cries filled the room.
Janet moved as before, quickly clamping and cutting the umbilical cord.
She glanced quickly at Jack, and stopped in surprise.

He was crying, his normally unreadable face a swirl of emotions as tears
made silent tracks down his face. Janet could not even begin to
understand what must be going through his mind, though she was pretty
certain the events of the last few months must be pretty predominant in
them. He had been to hell and back and he's survived, hell, he'd
flourished.

Janet reached out her hand and touched his shoulder, drawing his gaze
from his newborn son to herself. His face lit up with elation, his grin
so contagious that Janet had to smile back. If she had any doubts that
he was still suffering from what Bastet had done to him they were gone
now.

"He's beautiful, isn't he?" he whispered, his eyes drifting back down to
his son. "Jacob and Rachel, they're both as beautiful as their mother."

Janet smiled warmly, savoring the moment. Jack O'Neill never expressed
emotion like he was right now. She squeezed his shoulder gently and took
her first good look at Jacob. He was gorgeous; he had all the best
attributes of both his parents.

"He's gorgeous Jack," she whispered back. "How about we let mom take a
look at her son?"

He nodded and stood, cradling Jacob against his chest and moving slowly,
as if afraid that he might break him. He turned back to her, his face
serious. "Thank you Janet."

"You don't need to thank me Jack," she responded quietly.

"Yeah I do, you've done so much for me and Sam in the last few months. I
don't think we could ever make it up to you ... and Daniel."

He had made it to Sam's side, gently handing Jacob to her. Janet watched
with amusement as he leant over and pulled a little face at the baby and
made a little cooing sound before straightening up and meeting her eyes
again. Would Daniel be like this with their babies if they had any?

"You don't need to make anything up to us Jack," she scoffed, craning her
neck to look up at him.

"Yeah I do," he grinned.

Before she had a chance to react he reached out and pulled her into his
arms, lifting her off the ground in a fierce bear hug. He pressed a kiss
to her forehead. She flushed bright red and he put her back down and
stepped away from her, leaving her completely flustered.

"How about we go and make an announcement to everyone waiting out there?"

Janet nodded dully, her mind still reeling from Jack's exuberant mood.
He took her hand and pulled her after him. A small smile grew on her
face as she thought of Daniel acting like this, completely and utterly
overjoyed at the life he had helped create coming into the world. Yes,
she was definitely ready for her life to move in that direction.

As she watched Daniel's reaction to Jack's joyous news, as she felt
herself smothered again in Daniel's embrace she resolved that she would
tell him, tonight, that she was ready to take the next, major, step in
their relationship.

*******************

Sam and Jack pulled up in front of their house in Janet's car. They'd
decided that it wasn't such a good idea to use Jack's truck, as it wasn't
child-safe. And Sam's Volvo was out of the question. So Janet had
insisted they use her car until they got a family car of their own.

"Besides," Janet had told them, "I always have wanted to drive Jack's
truck." They'd all laughed over that and had agreed to the proffered
arrangements.

Jack got out of the car and rushed to the passenger side to help Sam out
and proceeded to remove the Rachel and Jacob from the back seat.

He unhooked the safety harnesses and lifted first Rachel's car seat out,
handing her to Sam. He then went to work on Jake's. "All right Jake
lil' buddy, we're home."

The infant's mouth lifted in what could be taken for a smile, Jack wasn't
sure, but his caused his heart to constrict nonetheless. As he shut the
car door, he turned and faced his beautiful fiancé ... the mother of his
children.

He could barely believe he was living this. Since Rachel and Jacob were
born a day ago, he'd been pinching himself; sure he'd wake up from this
dream. But it wasn't a dream. This was his life. His and Sam's life.

He had finally managed to do something right in his life, and this time
he wasn't going to take anything for granted. He was going to live each
day as if it were a precious gift.

Sam cocked her head sideways and said something. He shook himself out of
his musings and smiled.

"Something wrong, Jack?" Sam asked a small worried smile on her face.

Jack looked down at Jacob, and to Rachel, and then his gaze shifted to
Sam. "No. Actually everything's right."

Sam's smile melted his heart. Her happiness overwhelmed him; flowing
over him like a blanket of sunshine. If he ever had any doubts that he
was going to fail with his new life, they disappeared. If anyone had
told him a year ago what his life would be like now, he would have
laughed at them. But now ... now he would grab the person and hug them,
and tell them that they should try the happiness thing themselves.

He walked over to Sam and put his free arm around her as they made their
way up to the front door. As soon as they were inside, they quietly
found their way in the nursery. They carefully lay the twins into the
cradle. It had to be an unconscious occurrence, because they weren't old
enough yet to turn on their own, but Rachel turned her head towards
Jacob, and Jacob turned his towards Rachel; the unseen bond already
forming.

Jack brought Sam in front of him, putting his arms around her. He
settled his chin onto the top of her head, holding her close. A sigh of
utter contentment escaped her lips.

Jack leaned down and whispered into her ear. "What are you thinking
about?"

Sam twined her fingers through one of Jack's hands around her waist. She
looked up into his face and smiled. "I was just wondering how we got so
lucky."

Jack's mouth turned up as he stared into the eyes of the woman he loved.
"I don't know. It happened, and I won't question why. I'm just going to
enjoy it and live life to the fullest with you and these little guys by
my side."


~ Finis ~