Title: "Imitating Normal"

Author: Jackie W.

Email: jackiesfic@aol.com

Sam stood nervously on the front porch with a six pack of beer in one hand and a liter of diet pop tucked under her arm and listened to the laughter coming from inside the house. She really wasn't sure that this was a good idea, but she couldn't sit at home alone and cry forever. If she ever wanted to get her life back she needed to suck it up and get on with it. Besides, this would be a good first step in convincing her CO that she would soon be fit for active duty again, and she desperately wanted to get back in the field with her team. So she reached out and rang the bell.

"Carter, you made it!" Jack O'Neill welcomed her.

When he had called to let her know that SG1 and SG2 were getting together for a poker night he really hadn't expected her to show up, but he was worried that she would feel left out if he didn't at least invite her, so he had made the call. Besides, he hadn't seen her in several days and was understandably anxious to find out how she was doing. He'd been skeptical and a bit hopeful when she'd told him she would try to stop by for a while. Frankly, looking at her as she removed her jacket and hung it on the rack he wondered if she should be out and about yet. She was still pale, and even hidden beneath the baggy sweater she was wearing it was obvious that she had lost weight. He knew better than to comment though, so instead he held up the beer and pop she had handed him and raised an eyebrow.

"The beer is my contribution but I'm still banned from all alcohol and I didn't figure you the type to have diet pop in your fridge," she explained. "I'm supposed to be taking it easy, so I'll probably bug out after a couple of hours," she added.

Actually the time limit was her idea. She figured she could handle the guys and their curiosity while they were relatively sober. This would give her an excuse to leave before too much beer clouded their common sense. She knew that it would only take one thoughtless snake joke to make her carefully erected fa├žade of normalcy crumble.

"Well I'm glad that you came. I'm always looking for another wallet to lighten," Jack quipped, earning a small smile.

It had been three weeks since Jolinar had died within Sam. Three weeks and five days since she had really smiled. Jack would have been concerned that he could remember when the last smile had been down to the second if he hadn't been so occupied with trying to make sure his 2IC was relaxed and enjoying herself. Twice he shot warning glances at one of his other guests as the topic of conversation had started to get too work related and he'd seen Sam start to stiffen up. Both times the conversation had quickly shifted and he'd watched her relax again.

Two hours later Sam had to admit that she was having a good time. Being one of the guys was just what she needed to keep the dark thoughts of what Jolinar had done to her body at bay. Other than the fact that she couldn't go anywhere near the pizza or beer as her system was still trying to adjust to the addition of Naquada and the foreign protein to her body, she felt pretty normal. Being surrounded by the lighthearted fun reminded her that she had a job that she loved, working beside some pretty special people. So what if she would never have a family of her own. (Which had been latest news she had gotten on the 'Ways in which I'm no longer human' front) The Air Force was her family.

Soon enough though she could tell it was time to go. The beer was flowing freely, and the mood getting more raucous. Even Daniel, never a heavy drinker, had consumed enough that he had worked up the Dutch courage to try to corner Sam and question her about her time as a host. Luckily Jack had intercepted him, but Sam took the opportunity to gather her meager winnings and say her good-byes. She assumed that she would be the topic of conversation as soon as she left and she was not mistaken. Ferretti was the first one to break the silence.

"She looks like a good strong wind would blow her away. Is Doc sure she's ok?" he asked in concern.

"She's cleared for light duty starting on Monday," Jack replied, privately wondering himself if that was a good idea.

"She didn't eat anything the entire time she was here either," Ferretti pointed out.

"Hey, but she *came*," Captain Griff the newest member of SG2 commented. When the others looked at him with raised eyebrows he continued. "If it had been me, I don't think I would be able to step outside my door for months. Captain Carter came over and *socialized*. She even seemed to have a good time," he observed, shaking his head in disbelief. "You've got to give her credit. That took guts."

"Sam's tough. She'll be fine," Daniel commented.

There were several grunts of agreement, with only Teal'c and Jack quietly making eye contact to express their concern that it wasn't going to be that easy. Jack knew that Daniel needed to believe that Sam was going to be fine, and this certainly wasn't the time or place to bring up his own doubts. But he privately equated what his Captain was going through with his own experience as a prisoner of war and he knew it was not something that she would get over in a day, or a month. Actually it was not something you ever really got over. It changed you on a deep fundamental level. He was saddened to think that this would be the case for Carter. She was so smart and enthusiastic, her smile when she was making a new discovery made even a battle weary soldier like himself take pause. He hated the thought of her losing any of that vitality.

Meanwhile, Sam had made it home and collapsed in a heap, shaking like a leaf. While the whole excursion had gone much better than she had expected it had taken every ounce of her self control to keep up the appearance of normalcy for that long. She wasn't looking forward to Monday when she would have to keep up the act all day with everyone scrutinizing her. So far she had just been on base for appointments with Dr. McKenzie and Janet, and the few encounters she'd had in the corridors had left her feeling like a specimen in the zoo. Not to mention she would have to endure more frustrating sessions with McKenzie during the upcoming week. The man was determined to get her to talk about her experience, and she was just as determined to keep a lot of her feelings to herself. She needed a game plan if she was going to have a prayer of making it through a day without breaking down into tears.

She decided the best idea was to take it one day at a time. So she prepared for Monday. Since her digestive system was just starting to adjust to the changes in her body chemistry she didn't think commissary food would be a good idea, and so she brought a lunch and some fruit to snack on during the day. Then she holed up in her lab and started to tackle the back load of work, which provided a readymade excuse for working through lunch. Janet was just happy to see that she was eating when she stopped by, and after giving her a stern warning not to plan on working past 1700 she left her alone. Several other people stopped by during the day, but she found that one on one she could deal with them.

And for the first time in a long time, she really was glad to follow Janet's orders. She was exhausted by 1630 and was tempted to call O'Neill and let him know that she was going home early, but the last thing she wanted was for her team to get any clue that she was dealing with physical problems on top of the mental trauma. The Colonel would never let her back on SG1. It was bad enough that Hammond knew. Thank goodness she had talked Janet into not reporting the more embarrassing female problems. She'd vehemently argued that the fact that the doctors didn't think she could have children had no bearing on her fitness for duty, and Janet had agreed.

On Tuesday she followed pretty much the same routine, except that she had a session with McKenzie. She'd been dreading it until she had come up with an idea to appease the doctor. She'd spent a couple of hours the previous night researching PTSD on the internet and had come up with a couple of symptoms that she was actually suffering from that she felt she could discuss comfortably. So during that day's session she admitted that she was restless and feeling nervous and Dr. McKenzie had been happy that they were making progress. She was hoping that if she tossed him a few bones each session he would stay away from the subjects she had no desire to talk about.

Unfortunately the list of things she would need to work through on her own was quite long. For example the way she and Teal'c could now sense each other was disconcerting. She and Cassie had the same issue but she didn't spend days at a time off world with the young girl in situations where other more dangerous Goa'uld could also be sensed. She had talked to Teal'c briefly about it last week, and she was sure they would adapt. It would just take time.

There were also the nightmares to deal with. Not the ones reliving the actual events. Those she knew would eventually go away on their own and in the mean time she would let McKenzie analyze them to death. No it was the other dreams she refused to reveal. The ones of people and places she had never seen. Not all of them were unpleasant. Some of them were quite beautiful. The rest were flashes of torture and events so horrible they left her shaking for hours after she awakened. There was no way she was trusting McKenzie with those.

Eventually she would have to face Daniel as well. She had been avoiding being alone with him for fear that he would ask questions she just couldn't deal with yet. Not only were the memories hard for her to cope with but she knew that they would only bring pain to her friend and burst the bubble of hope that he held for a happy reunion with his wife. That had been part of the reason she'd stated in her formal report that she couldn't remember much of what Jolinar had said or done while joined with her. The other reason had been that despite the Colonel and General's assurance that the NID would not find out about the incident, if anyone ever did get a hold of her report they would be misled into thinking she had no intel to offer. She would tell her team and General Hammond the truth later when things had settled down.

Thank goodness she had no real reason to avoid her CO as she was sure he would catch on to any tricks she tried to pull immediately. But she knew he would never press her to talk and she wasn't getting any strange vibes from him which was surprising considering his hatred of the Goa'uld. If anything he was treating her exactly the same as before the whole incident which was a huge relief. She had been so worried that he wouldn't feel comfortable having her on his team anymore. What she didn't know was that when he was sure he could get away with it unnoticed he was watching her like a hawk. He was all too familiar with the signs of PTSD, and knew that there were probably things she didn't feel comfortable talking to anyone about. Those issues were the ones that were likely to jump out and bite her in the butt when she least expected it, and he was watching for any signs that she wasn't coping.

The week passed slowly for Sam. SG1 had been sent out on a three day mission with a replacement for her and wouldn't be back until late Saturday, so she spent the last two days of the week holed up away from prying eyes. On Friday she gratefully headed home, needing the respite to regroup. McKenzie obviously had informants who had told the psychologist that the Captain was hiding out, and he had called her on it earlier that morning. She had honestly told him that she was tired of everyone watching her. She'd wanted to laugh when he had patiently explained that paranoia was a symptom of PTSD so to prove her point she'd invited him to take a little walk with her to the commissary. By the time they had returned he was apologizing profusely. Obviously she was not paranoid, and he assured her that people would stop staring as soon as the novelty had worn off.

On the plus side, Sam was finally able to eat somewhat normally by the end of the week, and was starting to put back on some of the weight she had lost. And she and Teal'c had spent time together before SG1 went off-world and were both feeling more comfortable with their new awareness of each other. Tomorrow she would go visit Cassie and hopefully the two of them could make up for some of the time they had missed together over the last few weeks. Slowly Sam was putting the pieces of her life back together. It was a different life, it would never be the same as before, but she was slowly learning to deal with the changes.

Her only problem was that she needed to convince everyone that she was back to the same old Sam Carter if she wanted to be cleared for active duty again. Dr. Fraiser would be easy. She just needed to prove that she was healthy again, and she was improving daily. Dr. McKenzie would be happy if he felt that she was dealing with the fallout from the 'incident'. Hammond would be satisfied as long as she continued to be the respectful, competent Air Force officer she'd been before. She could do this. She would make them see the Captain Sam Carter they were comfortable with, and keep the new alien Sam hidden away.

This was bad. This was very, very bad. Sam sat silently as the arguing began. Hammond had just informed them that Dr. McKenzie wanted individual session with her and each of her teammates before he would sign off on her returning to active duty. While the Doctor felt she was making good progress in dealing with the 'incident' he wanted to ensure that her teammates were also dealing with any issues they had before the team went off world together. Needless to say, the Colonel was protesting. Surprisingly, Daniel wasn't thrilled at the prospect of talking to Sam one on one in front of the Doctor either. Jack had explained last week how a bad report from the psychiatrist could slow down Sam's chances of promotion for years, or even force her to be grounded completely. They'd all been happy to learn that McKenzie was satisfied with her sessions to date. Finally Hammond brought the discussion to a close.

"I'm afraid this is not negotiable gentlemen," he commanded.

"I shall be happy to do whatever it takes to allow Captain Carter to re-take her rightful place on SG1," Teal'c announced.

"Thank you Teal'c," the General replied looking pointedly at the other two members of SG1 who were both looking slightly sheepish.

"I sure as heck don't want to have to break in a new 2IC, Carter. But so help me if the man asks me about my mother I'm going to deck him," Jack agreed, earning a small smile from his Captain.

Later at lunch Sam thanked them and apologized. "You know all you have to do is make up something that is believable. As long as Dr. McKenzie feels like he has gotten you to admit a problem he's happy," she advised them.

"Is that what you're doing Captain?" her CO inquired cautiously. He had really been hoping that Sam was getting some help from her sessions despite his low opinion of shrinks in general.

"Of course not, Sir," Sam assured him, eyes wide and innocent.

'Damn, she deserves an Oscar' Jack thought as he watched her chat and laugh over lunch. He noticed that the whole time her left hand was clenched tightly in her lap and he wondered just how long it would be for the cracks in her perfectly erected facade began to show to others. He'd thought last week before they left on their mission that she was doing well. He'd seen her talking privately to Teal'c several times, and he hoped that between that, Doc Fraiser, and her sessions with McKenzie she was dealing with everything. Now looking closely he could see she wasn't. He was also concerned about her health. He'd been keeping track of what actually made it from her plate to her mouth during lunch and it amounted to a few forkfuls of mashed potatoes and a dish of pudding. The meatloaf had been pushed around and basically disintegrated by her fork, but not eaten. He would have to talk to Fraiser to voice concern there.

"So assuming you get the green light from Dr. McKenzie, when does Janet think you will be cleared for active duty?" Daniel was asking when Jack focused back in on the conversation.

"Next week sometime," Sam lied. In reality Janet had left the timeframe open ended, but Sam was determined to get back out with her team and prove she could still do her job. Too much had been taken away from her in the past month. Losing her spot on SG1 was not an option.

She worked hard to ensure she reached her goal. She spent extra time in the gym building back up her stamina, drank protein shakes and ate lots of plain pasta to put back on the weight she had lost and tried to take the sessions with McKenzie seriously so he would have no cause for complaint. Luckily her teammates had agreed amongst themselves that they would take Sam's advice and each picked a fairly safe 'issue' to deal with in their sessions with the shrink. Sam had cheated in her weigh-ins too, secretly adding an extra half pound small weight to the waistband of her BDU's for each of the three times she was put on the scales. By Thursday it appeared that she had gained a full four pounds instead of the two and a half she had actually managed to put on.

By the end of the week she really was looking and feeling much better, so much so that she convinced Hammond, Fraiser and McKenzie to re-assess her the following Monday for the purpose of approving her return to active duty. Her teammates had been surprised to hear that when they returned from a one-day scouting mission on Friday. Jack and Teal'c had secretly exchanged concerned glances, but the Colonel had merely declared that it was cause for celebration, and had invited the team over for pizza and beer at his place on Saturday night. Sam went home with a much lighter heart than she'd had in weeks. If she'd known the true purpose of the get together the next evening she wouldn't have been so confident. O'Neill had decided he was going to do his own team assessment before allowing his 2IC back in the field.

Jack made it clear to Daniel and Teal'c before Sam arrived that they were not to press her to talk about the actual events surrounding Jolinar's possession of her, but rather to sound her out on how she was dealing with the aftermath. And he told them to back off if it seemed like she was getting upset, this wasn't an inquisition, just friends making sure their friend was truly ok. Of course on his part it was more. He needed to know that his 2IC was still capable of carrying out her duties, he told himself. But some small part of him acknowledged that he needed to know that Sam was still Sam, that she hadn't been broken by the whole experience and that she was still the amazing woman he had just come to realize he loved.

That had been an unexpected acknowledgment. Somewhere in the whole sequence of interrogating Jolinar, fearing for Sam's life, watching his 2IC almost die, and seeing her lying there almost catatonic afterwards, he had become aware that he had fallen hard. The knowledge had given him another motive to ensure that Sam recovered from this ordeal fully. He knew that it would not be a simple process but he was determined to be there to prop her up every step of the way.

The evening started off well. Even though she had limited herself to one beer and had requested that half of one of the pizzas be just cheese, she had finished that entire half herself, quieting Jack's concern over her lack of appetite. After they'd all eaten their fill and settled themselves with something to drink, he asked the question that had been hanging in the air.

"So, Carter, how are you really doing?" he ventured, and three sets of concerned eyes turned towards her.

She took a long slow breath. She should have known this was going to happen. And she knew that they deserved some version of the truth. They were her friends, closer to her than her family was. Even so there was only so much she could handle telling them at this point.

"Better," she said with a small smile, "Although since I was pretty bad off after it happened I guess that's not much of a qualifier," she admitted. "I have days when I actually feel like nothing has changed, and days when I realize all too well that I will never be the same again. But I'm slowly coming to terms with the changes. So better, but still very different, does that make sense?" she concluded.

By the time Sam left later that evening she was feeling the strain of trying to allay her teammates concern. The Colonel and Teal'c had been especially insightful in their questioning, probably due to their own experiences. Luckily she had covered most of the ground previously with Dr. McKenzie so she was able to answer using the same strategy she had used then. She gave them just enough truth to convince them that she was dealing with things, confirming that she'd been having nightmares, but they were fading, but not telling them about those that belonged to Jolinar. She certainly wasn't going to volunteer information about things they had no inkling of. She even told them the story about taking McKenzie to the commissary with her to prove she wasn't paranoid. They had laughed at her getting one up on the doctor.

Long after she left, Jack started thinking about some of the things she had said, and realized that it was more what she hadn't said that was telling. She had told that story of McKenzie and the commissary to get them all to laugh. She had never mentioned how it felt to have people staring at her. She said she had experienced nightmares, but didn't mention anything about how that had affected her physically although she had obviously lost weight. She had even said how glad she was that she didn't remember anything that would make the NID want to interrogate her further, but didn't say a word about how frightening that thought must have been. While Sam's whole demeanor that night had put him a lot more at ease, he still wondered just how much she was holding back.

By Monday, Jack was having doubts again about his 2IC being ready to go back out there, but he kept his mouth shut since he didn't have anything concrete to point to, and by the end of day she was officially cleared for active duty. Thanks to the addition of one more half-pound weight hidden in the waistband of her BDU's she had fooled the scales into thinking she had gained six pounds, and Dr. Fraiser could find no other reason for keeping her grounded. This left Jack with a dilemma, which was partially resolved by Hammond suggesting that the Colonel pick a quiet mission to help ease the team back into the swing of things. He spent the evening reviewing all of the reports for each planet on the current mission list and finally found what he was looking for. A follow up mission to P4S-283 had been put on hold for 'when they had a free team' as it just involved sending Daniel or Rothman out to take a closer look at the temple ruins SG5 had found their on first visit. The former inhabitants of the planet were long gone, and there were no minerals the Goa'uld would be interested in, so it would be perfect for SG1 to visit and get back into the routine. Daniel would love studying the rocks and he could keep a close watch on Carter while they babysat.

Jack presented his pick to the General the next morning and the mission was approved for the next day. It would be a four-day mission, as it would take almost a full day of hiking to get to the ruins. Jack had personally handed Carter the reports for her to review, and had been rewarded with a real Carter smile. When they met up at the base of the ramp the next day she looked well rested and was positively bouncing with anticipation. O'Neill led his team through the wormhole with a much lighter heart since it looked like his concerns had been unfounded. He really hoped so. After the last couple of months dealing with alternate realities, Goa'uld attacks on Earth and the trauma of Jolinar's possession of his 2IC they really were due a break.

Who would have guessed that the events that occurred on P4S-283 hundreds of years ago were closely linked to Jolinar's history and would cause Sam to reveal everything she had worked so hard to keep hidden from everyone for the last month?

Their departure late Wednesday morning had coincided with early morning on P4S-283. They would have plenty of daylight to make the almost eight hour hike to the ruins where Daniel would spend the next two days translating and recording. Carter was going to take a few soil samples, but basically the three other members of the team were there to help Daniel and keep him out of trouble. They spent that first day walking through the forest at a pleasant pace. If there ever had been a trail leading from the gate to the temple it was long gone, so they relied heavily on Carter's doohickey's to keep them heading in the correct direction. As the day wore on Jack had to admit that his 2IC was doing well. He could tell she wasn't 100%, but he'd take Carter at 80% over most almost anyone he'd ever worked with, Teal'c being the exception. Especially a Carter who was talking and joking as if nothing had ever happened. She had even laughingly teased him about the trees closing in on him when they'd suddenly found themselves in a particularly thick grove.

They setup camp at twilight in a clearing just outside the temple ruins, and by the time darkness had truly fallen, they had a roaring fire going. The lighthearted mood of the day continued as they heated MRE's and sorted out their watch schedule. Finally Carter, who was pulling second watch, headed off to sleep with a huge yawn that earned her a ribbing from her teammates. The night passed peacefully, with Sam being too tired from her first strenuous hike in months to be bothered by any of Jolinar's dreams.

They spent the next day at the ruins. Sam took a few soil samples from the clearing, the woods nearby and from the foothills that rose on the far side of the temple. Her initial readings showed nothing to get excited about. She spent some time helping Daniel as well, carefully securing some small artifacts that he wanted to take back with him, while the Colonel and Teal'c patrolled the area looking for any danger. Aside from the wildlife that stayed a respectful distance away, the planet was deserted. According to Daniel it had been for several hundred years.

Jack caught Sam looking around with a frown on her face a few times, but other than that she seemed fine. At least she did until that night when her screams were loud enough to wake the dead. By the time he got into her tent she was sitting up, wild eyed, and shaking so hard that her teeth were rattling. He scooped her up, sleeping bag and all, and turned to Teal'c who was holding open the tent flap. As he passed him Jack told him to grab a thermal blanket or another sleeping bag. Then he carried Carter over to the fire, just as Daniel came stumbling out of the other tent.

"Build up the fire Daniel, and put on some water to heat. We need to warm her up," Jack ordered. Then he gratefully took the sleeping bag Teal'c was offering and wrapped Sam up in the extra layer. Even through the double thickness he could still feel her shaking and he was seriously worried that she was going into shock.

"Daniel, as soon as that water is hot enough make a cup of tea with a *lot* of sugar," he instructed his teammate. Then he turned to Sam and started calmly talking. "It's ok, Carter. You're safe. You're here with Daniel and Teal'c and I. You had a nightmare," he said softly.

She seemed to calm a bit at the sound of his voice, so he kept talking, telling her she was safe, until Daniel handed him a mug of tea. He cautiously took a sip to make sure it wasn't too hot, and it was sweet enough, then he held it up for Sam to drink.

"Carter, drink up. This should help stop you from shivering," he insisted.

She wrinkled her nose at the first sweet sip, but then untangled one hand to hold the mug and downed the contents gratefully.

"More Sam?" Daniel asked, taking the empty mug from her.

She nodded. "Not so much sugar this time though," she managed to answer.

"Carter that was some nightmare. Would you care to tell us what it was all about?" the Colonel asked, knowing it would be good for her to talk about it, but not wanting to push.

Sam stared thoughtfully into the fire. How could she tell then that Jolinar had been to this planet before, and that her nightmare had actually been her remembering the massacre that had occurred here hundreds of years ago? They would think she was crazy. She looked at her teammates gathered around her, and saw only concern. Maybe she *was* crazy, she thought, and then gave herself a small scolding. She was perfectly sane, and maybe this was her chance to prove it.

"Not a nightmare, Sir. It was a memory," she said, and looked out at the temple that was barely visible in the moonlight. "Ra was here," she whispered.

"Carter, nobody has been here for hundreds of years. Right, Daniel?" Jack confirmed.

"Uh, right. But Sam is correct also. Ra was here. This was a temple to worship him, and he used to come here to choose new slaves and hosts, just like on Chulak," Daniel explained.

"The people revolted. They started hiding the children whenever Ra arrived, and they led small raids against the Jaffa. Eventually Ra sent an army of Jaffa and wiped them all out," Sam continued with a shiver. "It was a massacre. They found the children hidden in the hills and mowed them down," she concluded with tears in her eyes.

Jack and Teal'c looked at Daniel to confirm the story.

"It's possible. I haven't gotten very far in the translation, but something happened here to cause Ra to abandon the planet," Daniel replied.

Jack shook his head as the real point suddenly occurred to him. "Carter, this would have all happened about two hundred years ago. You can't remember it," he pointed out.

"Not me, Sir. Jolinar. She had been on a mission for the Tok'Ra spying on Ba'al and her host was badly wounded. They made their way into Ra's territory hoping Ba'al's forces wouldn't follow, which worked. Unfortunately, by the time they landed here Joshua, her host, was beyond her help. The people here offered her a new host, a young woman who was dying, in return for information about Ra. She blended with Rosha, who continued as her host until the Ashrak came after them and she was forced jump into the Nasyan man. They returned here often to visit Rosha's family. The last time they came, they found only the remains of the massacre and a handful of survivors. They took them through the Gate to safety," Sam explained calmly, but there was a haunted look in her eyes as she obviously remembered the events in detail.

Her teammates sat in stunned silence. The implications of what Sam had just told them were overwhelming. Finally the Colonel cleared his throat.

"Are you saying that you can remember everything Jolinar has ever done in any of his hosts?" he asked skeptically.

"No, Sir. I've had odd flashes. Mostly when I'm sleeping. But seeing the ruins today must have triggered something. All day long I felt like I'd been here before, but it wasn't until I fell asleep that it all came rushing back," Sam admitted.

"Is that how you remember what happened while Jolinar possessed you, Sam? As odd flashes?" Daniel asked anxiously.

Sam closed her eyes and shook her head, unable to look at her friends. "No, I lied about that. I was afraid the NID would get their hands on the report, and I didn't want to hurt you Daniel. I remember every single second. Everything that he made me say and everything that he made me do," Sam confessed. Then she looked directly at Daniel with eyes full of anguish. "I'm so sorry," she whispered.

Daniel was too overcome by emotion to answer, so he retreated. As Sam watched him head back into his tent, silent tears began to fall. She wiped them away impatiently. Jack and Teal'c looked at each other in dismay. A tearful Sam Carter wasn't something they were equipped to deal with. Jack thought back to the only other time he could remember Carter really crying. He'd hugged her then and told her they would go back and find Daniel. Instinctively he moved to put an arm around her shoulder to comfort her now.

"You have nothing to be sorry for, Carter," he assured her.

To his surprise, she turned her face into his shoulder and wrapped her arms around him and held on for dear life. He automatically brought his other arm up to complete the embrace, and then looked at Teal'c in a panic. There was no help to be found there. Teal'c merely nodded his approval of Jack's handling of the situation and turned his back to keep watch over their surroundings, which were now becoming visible in the early morning light.

Later Sam was sure she would be embarrassed that she had fallen apart. Now though she was overwhelmed by the memories of Rosha's friends and family. She remembered the young woman searching the burned out remains of her home, finding her sister and mother's bodies. One of the survivors told her that a group of men had been tortured for days at the temple as Ra attempted to learn the location of the children. Her father had been among them. They had never given Ra the information. They had been dragged out to the woods and left dead or dying for the wildlife to feed on. A squadron of Jaffa had eventually found the children, herded them into the village hall, and then torched the building.

Through her tears, Sam recounted the story, safe in her CO's arms. When she reached the end she became acutely aware of where she was, and pulled away, making a final swipe at the last of her tears. Jack immediately felt the loss, and chastised himself for actually having enjoyed the last several minutes.

'You are in way over your head, Jack old man,' he thought to himself as he moved off to start breakfast.

Sam in the meantime was relieved to find that they weren't even questioning her version of events, and she relaxed slightly at the realization that they didn't think she was crazy. However a few minutes later the smell of coffee lured Daniel out of is tent, and when she handed him a mug, he thanked her politely but was unable to meet her eyes. It was a quiet somber group that ate, cleaned up, and set about the day's activities. Sam immediately offered to patrol the perimeter, and Jack signaled Teal'c to assist Daniel. He was very troubled by the sudden tension between the two scientists.

After a bit of observation, he realized that Carter was giving Daniel some space to come to terms with the image of being a host that she had portrayed. However as the hours passed, and Daniel continued to distance himself he saw his 2IC begin to withdraw herself. After having made so much progress in the last weeks, and the incredible bravery it had taken to admit everything she had to them today, he refused to let that happen. By the time he decided to take matters into his own hands he was ready to throttle Daniel.

He walked over to where Teal'c and Daniel were working and signaled to Teal'c to join Carter keeping watch. The Jaffa gratefully retreated. Jack didn't waste any time getting to the point.

"You need to go talk to Carter, Daniel," he ordered.

"I'm sorry, Jack. It's just that after what she told us this morning I can't help but think of Sha're every time I look at Sam," Daniel admitted with a sigh.

Jack sighed in frustration and anger. "Get over yourself, Daniel," he demanded. "Look, you know how sorry I am that Sha're was taken. And when we get her back it's going to be incredibly hard for her to get over her experience. But for crying out load, Carter is going through all of that *now*. I thought you cared about her as a friend," he accused.

"I do, Jack. That's not fair," Daniel protested.

"Fair? Your *friend* has been to hell and back, and as if that's not enough, her little trip has left her with a gift that keeps on giving. As if the physical ramifications of having naquada flowing through her veins isn't enough, did you get the fact that she can remember stuff from the snake's past? How the hell is she supposed to deal with that Daniel? Certainly not by herself. She's going to need our total support, and if you're not willing to give that, then I'm going to have to recommend to Hammond that you be reassigned to another team," Jack threatened.

"Jack you don't mean that," Daniel cajoled.

"Well I'm sure as hell not transferring Carter, and I'm not letting you continue treating her as if you find her repulsive, so you'd better deal with your issues quickly," Jack concluded, leaving his friend to think over what he'd said.

Daniel continued working for another 20 minutes while he thought about what Jack had said. He glanced over at Sam a couple of times, and was distressed by what he saw especially the one time he caught her staring at him. The sadness in her eyes just about broke his heart. God, Jack was right. He was being a bastard. He gave her a small encouraging smile and saw an answering one in return. He put down his camera, and journal and started to walk across the alter to get to where Sam was standing looking out at the hillside. Suddenly he heard her shout his name. He barely had time to register the shout when a body flew into him, knocking him to the ground and causing a wrenching pain in his shoulder. He instinctively turned to protect that arm, causing Sam to fly off of him into the wall nearby.

"God, Sam! That really hurt! Have you gone totally crazy?" he demanded.

Sam lay stunned as she had banged her head when she had landed. She managed to get out a warning before the blackness overwhelmed her. "Booby trapped."

Jack ran to her side and checked her pulse. Strong and steady, thank goodness. He glanced at Daniel who was struggling to his feet.

"Are you alright?" he asked, his attention already returning to his 2IC who was attempting to open her eyes. "Just lie still for a minute Carter, you flew into that wall pretty hard," he told her.

Teal'c meanwhile had gone over to inspect the area of the alter that Daniel had been crossing.

"I believe that Captain Carter was trying to warn you that there was a hidden device here that would have harmed you," he informed them. "Stand well back," he warned as he reached out and pressed on a raised tile with the end of his staff weapon.

Immediately, a half dozen small darts flew out of the wall behind him and landed harmlessly on the floor. The Jaffa picked one up and carefully examined it.

"They are poisoned," he confirmed.

"Lovely," Jack stated, as Sam groaned and tried to sit up. "Slowly, Carter," he warned reaching out a hand to assist her.

Daniel was eyeing the darts in dismay. "Wow, that was close," he murmured, then turned to Sam. "Thanks."

Sam tried to give him a smile, but it turned into a grimace as her head throbbed. The Colonel patted her on the shoulder. "Nice job Captain," he acclaimed. "I'll get you some pain killers for that head. You need some too Daniel?"

"Just some Ibuprofen, I only wrenched my shoulder," Daniel accepted. "Sam, how in the world did you see that raised tile from where you were and know what it was?" he queried.

"I didn't Daniel. I just remembered it was rigged from when Rosha and Jolinar were here," Sam confessed.

"So I owe my life to a snake? How ironic is that?" Daniel quipped.

"Only partially, Daniel," Jack corrected him as he handed the two painkillers and water. "The snake may have given Carter the knowledge, but after that is was the Captain's quick thinking and training that saved you," he stated proudly.

Sam actually blushed. "Thank you, Sir," she said with a smile.

"I mean it Carter. Obviously this Goa'uld knowledge isn't something you can just conjure up, but I trust that when you do remember something you'll let us know, or act on it as you did today," the Colonel told her.

"Yes, Sir," she nodded. This was turning out so much better than she had imagined. Not only did they not think she was crazy, or a freak of nature, they trusted her to use these memory flashes as best she could without any pressure to try to draw out the memories.

"And Sam, I really want to apologize for being such a selfish jerk this morning. I can't even begin to imagine how hard it must be for you to have all of these confusing memories in your head. If you ever need to talk it over, don't feel like you have to protect my feelings. It's probably better that I face some of these hard truths now anyway," Daniel admitted.

After rechecking both Daniel and Sam to be sure that they were ok, Jack suggested they make some lunch. Afterwards he insisted that Sam sit and guard Daniel while he worked to be sure he didn't wander into any other traps. He wanted Sam to rest after that bump on the head anyway. A bit later he wandered over to sit with her for a bit.

"How's the head?" he asked.

"Fine, the headache is almost gone," Sam replied with a smile.

Jack paused and then decided there was no use dancing around the subject. "You know we are going to have to tell Hammond everything when we get back, right?" he told her.

"Yes, Sir. Do you think he will take me off of SG1?" she asked quietly.

"Not if he's smart. When we tell him how the extra knowledge in that brain of yours has already come in handy, I think he'll agree that you belong right where you are," he assured her.

"I hope so. And Colonel, thank you," Sam expressed her gratitude with a smile.

"For what?" Jack inquired.

"Well, for not assuming I was losing my mind for starters. But mostly for trusting me to handle this Goa'uld knowledge," she replied.

"Carter, you're the sanest person I know. And I think you've already proved that you can handle all of this better than any of us would have," her CO argued. "I know that there will still be times in the future when you do have a tough time dealing with this. If you don't want to talk to Daniel, you can always come to me. I promise I'll do whatever I can, although you know I'll probably stick my foot in it," he confided.

"Thank you, Sir. I do appreciate the offer, she said, and he sensed her hesitation.

"Come on Carter, spit it out," he commanded.

"This is going to sound like an odd request, but I was wondering if on our way back to the gate tomorrow we could go through the ruins of Rosha's home. It's about 1 klick around the base of the foothills," she explained.

"Are you sure that won't just stir up bad memories?" Jack asked in concern.

Sam shook her head. "I have the memories already. I feel like I need to at least pay my respects to help put those memories in perspective," she confessed.

Jack nodded his understanding. "Well pack up everything tonight so we can get an early start. As long as you and Daniel are both feeling up to it in the morning we will reroute around that way," he agreed.


It wasn't at all surprising that the ruins of the village hadn't shown up on the UAV footage. If you didn't know where you were going you would never notice enough of a difference in the forest to spot anything out of the ordinary. Since most of the buildings had been burned completely to the ground there had been nothing of any significance to impede the growth of the trees. In fact, the ashy conditions had most likely sped up the woodland growth.

Sam however had no problem leading them directly to exact spot. And once there, it was easy to see signs of what once must have been a fairly large village. Bricks from chimneys, and an occasional partial wall bore silent witness to what had happened centuries before. Sam took about five minutes to get her bearings, and then began pointing out landmarks to her teammates. The village hall where the children had been massacred, the school that both Rosha and her sister had attended that had also served as the meeting place for those willing to stand up against Ra and his Jaffa, and finally Rosha's home, where her mother and sister had perished.

As she pointed out the different sites, her teammates fell into a hushed silence, and they each found themselves gathering close to Sam to show their respect and support. As she too fell silent she looked around one last time and then turned to them with a sigh.

"We can go home now," she said. "This was a terrible tragedy, but there is nothing for me to personally grieve over here, and Rosha and Jolinar long ago faced their loss. Oddly enough Colonel, you and Daniel helped them to find closure by killing Ra," she told them.

Jack O'Neill looked around the forest where so much death had occurred.

"Glad we could help."

The end