Disclaimer: Not mine.

Notes: Well, uh, this is now an AU future series type thing. I swear, on my mother's grave... Yeah. Anyway. Daniel Jackson is a rat bastard. This loosely follows 'Lovefool' and 'Wanting the Dream'. You really only have to read the latter to get this. And even then, you can ignore it if you want. Title from Tori's "Marianne".

Rating: R, Warning: Reference to sex, etc. Some vague violence.

Spoils: up to season 7.

Archiving: Whatever.

Thoughts of Marianne

by Ana Lyssie Cotton

How had they come to this?

Seven years of saving the world and they were using tactics their enemies once had. Infiltration. Interrogation. Assassination. Sam had once joked about it. Back when Barrett was around to help balance out the neuroses reducing her brain to spite, hate, anger. Emotions that had molded her again, and now she's a damned resourceful commander, especially when in a fit of rage.

Jack would have been appalled at the changes in her.

But Jack was the crux of the problem. And he was still a time-delayed corpse at the bottom of Antarctica. If there was a bottom to that god-forsaken hell-hole.

Six months on the run had pared them all down. Daniel really wasn't sure how they were surviving in this half-lit world of spying and black ops and decisions that would pale the normal stalwart heart of an American Hero. He really didn't want to know how Teal'c survived on the low doses of tretonin he was forced to take. But he was. And they'd only had to make one raid to procure more.

What they sometimes have to do to survive scares him more and more. Sam has graced half a dozen beds to get her way.

Of course, they won't go to their friends. They can't. Not knowing the system the way they do. Catherine, Earnest (he winces, thinking about Earnest, the kind sweet gentle man), Hammond... Hell, even Thor would be liable for retribution if he tried to stick up for SG-1, the world's pariahs.

Not that Thor is conversing with anyone on Earth, without Jack. Earth hasn't quite realized yet just how much they've fucked themselves up the ass.

It's not just turning SG-1 into a scapegoat, though. The new policies running through the governments of Earth cause concern out there. Even the Nox would probably raise an objection.

Galactic opinion... Doesn't seem to really matter. But everyone out there knows the Tollan gave their lives to protect the Tau'ri. And look what they're doing with that. They're internally fighting and might some day be worse than the goa'uld. But very few voice that opinion out there. And if they are, they certainly aren't saying it to Hayes' face. Or the Pentagon, the UN, or half a dozen other world leaders who might stop it. At least, Daniel doesn't think they do.

Of course, most of the people on Earth still think the stargate is a hoax (staged, like the moon landing). Even after months of de-classified screenings of SG team off-world missions, people don't believe.

Daniel has caught a few of the televised ones. And he kind of envies the teams shown--most of it was boring as hell. SG-1, of course, was never boring. Or simple. Or run-of-the-mill. And never broadcast. Can't have their records shine through. Not the people who make a mockery of life on Earth.

Lifestyles of the hunted and famous.

Can't have it be shown as one big manufactured lie. The truth shining out starkly against the mud they're coated in.

Hundreds of missions to choose from, of course.

What would he show, if he could? The quiet moments? Stories around campfires, Star Gazing: 101 with Jack "I'm stupid, really" O'Neill, Look What Rock Jack Broke, or Alien Tech for Dummies (courtesy of Sam "I'm perky!" Carter). Jaffa fighting.

Or the aftermath of Netuu. Sam killing Martouf, her heart and soul shattering on-camera in front of ten security monitors. Horrors, they could show the records of every za'tarc test. Jack and Sam's would be lost within the dross of nearly 100 people being forced to reveal intimate mission details (Sergeant Maeve Carruthers would never look him in the face again). Janet Frasier's death. His own ascendance -- or Shifu's peek-a-boo games.

The Reetou, Nox, Tollan, Asgard -- all encounters by SG-1. All showed the team at their strongest and weakest.

Friends...

They'd sent Catherine an e-mail, long ago. She hadn't listened to their warnings.

Attending Earnest's funeral had been hard. But they'd managed it. From a rooftop with a sniper sight and a parabolic microphone (he hadn't asked Sam where she got it).

Catherine's eulogy hadn't been kind...

His death broke her.

It did something to Sam, too. Daniel had watched as a tiny bit more of her mind disappeared into the ether. Of course, Teal'c had been the one to keep her from turning herself in. Turning himself in was something Daniel could never face, now.

Ironically, with the change in guard at StarGate Command, the Tok'ra were back and talking. Not that Jacob Carter or Selmac were involved. The only intel they'd gotten on them was that they were on a mission.

Sam refused to believe he was alive.

Not that it was logical for the Tok'ra to get rid of one of their best (and wisest) operatives.

But then again, Jacob might have objected to the cloning experiments being conducted (Sam refused to name her source, but he'd gotten the impression he was someone she'd met while he'd been dead. Ascended. Dead. Whatever.) With the Tok'ra dying, what better way to revitalize than with human hosts -- and Earth was so plentiful in human hosts.

Although they still had to work out the incubation thing.

With no jaffa (the one thing still going right, by all accounts, was the alliance of rebel jaffa. They had cut off all contact with everyone and were pulling their own government together. And had taken down at least three minor goa'uld and one system lord. Teal'c was rather proud of them) to use, they were relying on things like human incubating machines.

Bra'tac still knows how to contact them (and he's on his way, because Teal'c needs tretonin, and they need saving. Bra'tac's rather honorable like that). It was one of the last thing Barrett accomplished before the NID took him down.

A bomb had shattered the night air in Budapest. The authorities never could decide if it was deliberate, or a terrorist's accidental death by self. No suicide note, of course. The FBI and CIA had both neglected to comment on it. And the national press didn't give a rat's ass. They were too busy dealing with Charlie Sheen's marriage to Britney Spears and J-Lo's divorce from husband number three.

Demi Moore was reported to have laughed herself sick when Tom Hanks proposed to Christina Aguilera.

And 'Survivor: Hawaii' was rocking the ratings again.

It's been six months since Daniel Jackson watched the woman he considered a sister kill a man in cold blood. Six months since they've become fugitives of the law. Six months of watching a world he's saved at least four times turn its back on him.

He's about ready to let it go to hell.

But Jack wouldn't have liked that.

Jack wouldn't have liked a lot of things. But he's not here to object. He's not here to watch Sam fall into pieces while her soul gets dragged through broken glass because she simply won't give up. And Daniel knows he's going to have a fight on his hands, when Bra'tac arrives. Because Sam won't go (and he can't leave her alone, but Teal'c has to go, and that's going to rip SG-1 to shreds even more). He isn't sure of all of her reasons, but he knows part of it has to be guilt. She thinks Jack did this to himself, and that it should have been her.

Yeah. Sam should have stuck her head in the library and ended up frozen in ice. Jack would have been so much easier to deal with, all right.

He really doesn't want to think about the similarities between the two. Or the fact that Sam's coping mechanisms are a hell of a lot more self-destructive (he refuses to remember fishnets and fuck-me boots and street corners in Chicago). Although he shouldn't be surprised. She always has thrown herself into her work to escape emotions.

-==-

Two days later, and he was right about the fight.

"I'm not going."

"But, Major Carter," Bra'tac began, his eyes taking in her changed appearance. She was worn, older. The look in her eyes was something he had seen in hundreds of elder jaffa warriors as they lay on their death beds.

"No." She straightened, met his eyes. "If I leave, they may begin to consider the possibility of simply destroying Jack--the Colonel. Of pulling him out and letting him rot. Or shooting him or blowing him up. Or a hundred different things, but they might simply do it to get their hands on the technology--"

"If they haven't already," pointed out Daniel.

"No. I would know if they had." Her voice was soft, but completely certain.

"Sam--"

"I don't know how I'd know, Daniel. I just do."

He sighed and pushed his glasses up his nose. "Okay. Fine. Jack's still alive. Why do you have to stay here?"

"Distraction. As long as they focus on me, they ignore him."

It was simple. It had to be flawed. It wasn't logical in any way, shape or form. But Daniel knew he would never change her mind. So did Teal'c. The man smiled softly at her, and touched her head. "Major Carter, Samantha. I wish you luck in your endeavors. You will bring O'Neill back to us. Of this I am certain."

"Thank you, Teal'c." She hugged him tightly, kissing his cheek. "As soon as we know anything, we'll contact you."

"Major Carter." Bra'tac took her arms gently, and looked into her eyes. "Is this worth it?"

"Yes."

Possibly only Daniel heard her unspoken 'it has to be'. Possibly not. Teal'c knew her as well as he did. Possibly better.

Bra'tac nodded once, then released her. "I wish you luck, then. Dr. Jackson, if you are ready?"

"Um... I'm staying here."

"Daniel--"

"Staying." He replied firmly. Stepping up to Teal'c, he exchanged a hug with the other man who was like a brother he'd never known he wanted or needed, but had. "Get those rebels together, Teal'c."

"Indeed, Daniel Jackson."

"Hey, don't I--"

"No, you don't." Daniel glanced at her. "Because if I don't stay, we'll zat you and sort it out later."

"You wouldn't."

"Try us."

The 'us' apparently gave her a momentary distraction, and she stared at the three men for a long moment. Then sighed. "Fine. Stay. But you get in my way and I will leave you to fend for yourself."

Right. He believed that one. "No problem. Teal'c, Bra'tac, you should probably get out of here before someone notices the ship."

"May you die free and with honor, if it comes to that."

"Thanks, Bra'tac."

Sam didn't reply.

-==-

And so it's the same, and different. No Teal'c to be there as the strong silent type. No Jack to wise-crack and keep the tension from exploding. Another week has passed, and they're still alive. And tonight, Sam's going out. He can't stop her even if he wants to. She's got another Pentagon tail to pull and twist. And getting in her way might get them found out.

Doesn't mean he's happy about it.

Certainly doesn't mean he eyes the apparel she's laying out with anything other than sadness and disgust.

"I have to do this." The quiet words fall into the room.

He sighs. "No, you--"

"I do." Blue eyes meet blue eyes.

And he's the first one to look away, the first one to step back. "Be careful, Sam."

"I will." She flashed him a strained smile and began gathering up her shower things. "I always am."

But she wasn't. He'd seen the bruises, more than once. Understood the ligature marks on her wrists, and hoped to god she only did that once or twice. And that it wasn't anything including safe words.

"Good night, Daniel." The business-like bite to her voice now was strange.

"Don't do anything stupid, Sam."

She didn't respond. He didn't press it.

And a day later, he's still kicking himself.

-finis-

(yes. There is another bit coming. But it's going to be a while, I have back-story to nail down and plot out--even if only for my own use.)