DISCLAIMER: I don't own Stargate or any of the characters and I'm not getting paid for this, so please don't sue me.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: I wrote this one during the summer – August time, yet I couldn't get it quite right. After a complete rewrite of the ending, I think I've got there. Inspired by Mark Owens' 'Four Minute Warning'. I hope you enjoy this, please read and review.

~Elven~

******

Four minutes to go…

"How long, Lieutenant?" He asks, sighing.

"Four minutes, Sir." He nods and turns away, his mind working overtime, only vaguely aware of his superior officer issuing the orders for the warning to be broadcast across the base.

'Four minutes… ' Abruptly, he turns and races out of the control room, ignoring the surprised calls from his commanding officer and two of his team-mates.

He runs down the silent corridors, where everyone has stopped and are listening to the broadcasted message. A few turn to watch him in surprise and confusion but he ignores them all.

Three minutes to go…

He reaches the elevator, swiping his card to open the door and upon entering, hitting the button to close the doors in impatience.

As he hits the button for the floor he wants, his mind is focused on only one thing. Getting to her. He glares up at the screen that calmly informs him what floor he is on, willing the elevator to move faster. 'Doesn't it know we're on a deadline here? If he didn't reach her in time…'

Two minutes to go…

The silence has taken on a different air now, full of disbelief and hopelessness – the bitter feeling of being powerless. People stand around in the corridors – scientists, technicians and soldiers alike – staring and silent. Some are crying, others praying desperately. The soldiers are trying to raise morale, and move through the crowd, armed, prepared for battle – ready to fight until the last. All around lingers the despair of those who can do nothing to prevent the inevitable. He's moving through the crowds of people, pushing past them, his aim concentrated on reaching his destination. On getting to her.

One minute to go…

He half-collides with a scientist coming the other way and holds out an arm to steady himself. Wheeling around the corner, he reaches her lab, panting for breath. She looks up as he enters, a confused expression on her face.

30 seconds to go…

She opens her mouth to say something but he crosses the room quickly and places a finger on her lips. He speaks softly. "Shh. I just needed you to know…. I love you." She stares up at him, and a solitary tear makes its way down her face.

"I love you too, Jack." His eyes are suspiciously bright. And then he kisses her, and they lose themselves in the feeling, tears running down their cheeks and mingling together, until both their faces are wet and you can no longer tell whose tears are on whose face. Tears brought on by the joy of their first chance and the bitterness of their last chance combined together in one moment. And as they cling together for support and out of the need for contact, the inevitable explosion rocks the base and the darkness of oblivion finally overcomes them both.

******

And in another reality, another possibility out of an infinite number of universes, he looks on (with concealed pride) as she effortlessly directs the numerous scientists, technicians and soldiers to carry out the plan that will save them.

As the image of the last of all the Goa'uld ships explodes on the monitors, he wonders, just for a moment, the result in the millions of other realities. And he knows that not all of them will have survived, and yet, he hopes they were happy.

Now he stands behind her, laying one hand on her shoulder.

"Good work, Carter." He smiles at her, the words a gross understatement of what is deserved, yet all that is needed.

She turns to look at him, smiling in return. The long moment where their gazes' meet says more than words ever could. After a moment, she nods. "Thank you, sir."

The threat is gone, and now only the future lies ahead.

~The final story is one of me, who with four minutes left has used up three. I think of you, I think of me, then I think of nothing, it's the end you see. ~