Spoilers: Picks up right as "Grace" ends. I know there are probably tons of stories about the end of "Grace," but oh well.

A/N: Watching "Grace" and "Chimera" in the same night does not make one a happy camper. As Ricky Ricardo might say, there's some 'splainin to do here. The title is taken from a quote by... someone I can't think of at the moment. I'm almost positive it was Thoreau, but it could have been Emerson.

In Dreams Awake

Sam Carter sighed as her CO left the infirmary. Her head was killing her, and even the thought of moving made her ache. Janet, no doubt alerted to her newly-conscious state by the Colonel, entered, smiling warmly at her.

"Hey, Sam. How are you doing?" Janet asked, checking her vitals.

"Good. Alive," she said with a small smile.

Janet nodded. "Yes, you are. You had us all worried. Except for Cassie."

"Huh?"

"Yeah, it took me two days to get up the courage to tell her you were missing, and when I finally did, she said, 'She'll figure it out and get back in no time.'" Sam smiled and it took all the energy she had. Janet, sensing this, adjusted something on her IV and said, "Go back to sleep, Sam. You'll feel better when you wake up."

---

The next time she awoke, Teal'c was sitting calmly in a chair next to the head of her bed. "Major Carter," he said the second she opened her eyes.

"Hey, Teal'c," she said, trying to swallow. Her throat was so dry.

"I am glad to see you awake." She smiled as she remembered him forcing her to stay awake on the Prometheus. "IS there anything which you require?" he asked politely.

"I'd like some water."

He nodded as he rose. He was back quickly, with a cup of water, a straw, and Janet, who raised her bed up a quarter of the way as Teal'c carefully handed her the small plastic cup of water. She took a few small sips and nodded when Teal'c moved to take the cup back from her. He glanced at Dr. Fraiser, who was checking over Sam carefully once again.

"Teal'c, have you seen Colonel O'Neill recently?" Janet asked casually.

"I have. He stopped by Daniel Jackson's lab several hours ago to inform us Major Carter was awake. He is asleep now."

"Thank God," Janet commented, scribbling in Sam's chart. "If he wasn't I was going to have you help me strap him to a bed and sedate him."

"Then it is fortunate for him that he is already sleeping," Teal'c said with his unique smile. Janet broke into a slow but full-out grin, and it suddenly hit Sam how tired Janet looked as well.

"Looks like you need to take your own advice, Jan," she said, smiling at her friend.

Janet returned the smile and said, "Well, maybe now that you're back in one piece we can all relax a little. I want you laying flat again in ten minutes," she said firmly, turning to Teal'c, who nodded the tiniest bit.

Janet left them alone. Teal'c, standing next to her bed, tucked his hands behind his back and said, "I will not detain you for long, Major Carter. I know you need to rest. I merely wish to speak to you about something. Do you remember last year when Colonel O'Neill was missing and we - spoke - in the locker room?"

"Of course," she said, trying to keep her eyes open.

"I merely wish to inform you that while you were missing I had a similar encounter with Colonel O'Neill."

She shut her eyes wearily and forced them back open. "Thanks, Teal'c."

"You are welcome. We are all relieved to have you back with us. I believe Daniel Jackson and O'Neill are planning a party in your honor." She smiled and would have laughed if she had the energy. Teal'c pressed the button to lower her bed back down. "I will visit you again when you have rested more. Sleep well, Major Carter."

He was almost out the door when Sam said, "Wait." Teal'c turned back to her patiently. "You helped save my life out there. Thank you."

"You saved yourself, Major Carter. With an injury that should have rendered you incapable of doing so."

"You helped too," she said firmly, meeting his eyes calmly.

---

The next time she woke up, she had the sense that she'd been asleep for a long time. "General Hammond said he sent a message to her dad," Daniel's familiar voice was saying quietly.

"Shut up, you'll wake her up!" the Colonel whispered harshly.

Her eyes fluttered open automatically and she said quietly, "I'm already awake sir. But thank you."

All three men were instantly at the left side of her bed. Daniel was grinning broadly at her, the Colonel was doing the very still, teeny tiny fraction of a smile, letting his eyes do the smiling. She wondered if he even knew his eyes always gave him away, or if he really thought he had the poker-face down. And Teal'c had his usual calming, serene smile.

"Hi, guys," she said, trying to sit up.

They all moved to make her stop, but the instant pain shooting through her body beat them to it. She sank back down against her pillow, vaguely aware of somebody gently pushing her shoulder down. She opened her eyes again and now all she could see was the Colonel, leaning over her in concern. "I'm okay," she insisted.

He gave her a 'yeah right' look but sat down on the foot of the bed while Daniel propped her up again, still grinning at her from ear to ear. She laughed as seeing him reminded her of his insistence that the cloud was alive and she should talk to it.

"What's so funny?" he asked, squeezing her hand.

She squeezed back, scared at how weak her grip was, and said, "Just something you said to me on the ship." Daniel waited for the explanation.

The Colonel spoke up: "Let's hear it, Dorothy."

She smiled and was about to reply when Janet entered, clearly in Doctor-mode. "All right, boys. I told you you could all stay if you were silent. Come on, Daniel, Colonel, back up a bit, give her some room. Sam, you should be lying flat," she said, scolding them all collectively, except for Teal'c of course, who never seemed to be on the receiving end of Dr. Fraiser's wrath. Janet made the Colonel and Daniel back up a big, lowered her bed once again, and turned to the rest of the team with her arms crossed.

"Um, Jack, I think that's our subtle cue to go," Daniel said.

"Sure it's safe to leave you with the Wicked Witch?" the Colonel asked her dramatically.

"OUT!" Janet said firmly as Sam laughed so hard she had to grab her head in pain.

"We'll come back later," Daniel promised.

"Not all at once," Janet said firmly, nudging him towards the door. "Wicked witch," she muttered to herself as she scanned Sam's chart after they had all left. She made a couple of quick notes and looked at her friend curiously. "What are you smiling about?"

"There's no place like home," Sam said sincerely.

---

She was dozing lightly when Daniel returned. "Hey. Am I clear?"

"Yeah. Janet's in the Gateroom with Siler."

"Ah. Enough said," Daniel commented, looking at her carefully.

"I'm fine, Daniel," Sam assured him.

"So I can hug you?"

"Yeah."

He hugged her carefully, pulling her up off the mattress a bit, carefully trying to avoid jostling her IV. Releasing her carefully, he sat down next to her on the edge of the bed. "Teal'c and Jack are planning a party for when you're out of here," he said casually.

She rolled her eyes and laughed.

"What?" Daniel asked.

"You guys are just so funny. According to the Colonel, you and Teal'c are planning the party, and according to Teal'c, it's you and the Colonel."

"Oh," Daniel said with a grin. "Well... okay, so we're all happy you're okay. Is that such a terrible thing?"

"Of course not."

"So, tell me what happened. Not the stuff that's going to be in the report, I can read all of that later."

Smiling, Sam told him all about how he and Teal'c had helped her in their own ways. She told him about the conversation with her dad, which was personal in and of itself, but she hesitated when she came to the Colonel's appearance.

"He ah - told me to get up off my ass and save myself, basically. Typical kick in the pants I needed."

"Liar," Daniel said casually. She knew he knew there was more to their conversation, but was surprised when he didn't pursue it. "There's something else, isn't there?" he asked suddenly.

"What? No. There's not."

"Sam. Come on, what else happened?"

"It was nothing, just... a little girl."

"What little girl?" Daniel asked suspiciously.

"I don't know, I never saw her before, she just... showed up every once in a while, asked me questions, told me things..."

"What did she look like?"

"Why?"

"Just tell me. Please."

"She was... I don't know, about six, seven maybe, she still had baby teeth, so I don't know. When do kids lose their baby teeth anyway? Well, whatever, she had long light brown hair, about the color of yours. Curly. Brown eyes, white dress. Just a cute little girl, Daniel, what's the big..."

"What was her name?" he demanded.

"Grace. Daniel, what is the big..."

The man's eyes were wider than she'd ever seen them.

"Sam, you have to tell Jack about this," he said insistently.

"What? Why?" she asked, confused.

"Just..." Daniel started.

They both froze as the Colonel entered, carrying two big helpings of Jell-O, one red, one blue. "What?" he asked defensively as he saw how they were both looking at him.

"Nothing," Daniel said quickly. "I'm going to go... find Teal'c," he added, getting to his feet, squeezing Sam's hand at the same time and looking at her pointedly. He left them alone and Sam decided to think about the blue Jell-O her CO was holding, rather than trying to figure out why Daniel had been so insistent she tell the Colonel about something that really only made her look crazy.

The Colonel pulled the tray that stretched across the beds over to her and positioned it properly, setting her Jell-O down in front of her and taking up Daniel's seat on the bed. He pulled two spoons out of his pocket and stuck one in her Jell-O. "You know, you're getting a reputation around here as the blue Jell-O girl," he commented casually, digging into his.

Sam smiled and took a bite herself, noticing that Janet had made sure, as she always did, to have the IV put in her left hand so that her right hand was free to be used as normal. She stifled a laugh by taking a big bite of Jell-O as she remembered the day Janet had confessed to her that she always did the exact opposite to the Colonel.

"What do you mean, a reputation?" she asked.

"Well, when I went to pick it up, the guy serving looked at it and said, 'Does this mean Major Carter is doing better?'" Carter groaned slightly while he laughed. "So anyway, I told him I'd tell you he hopes you get better soon."

"Thank you, sir."

His eyes darkened somewhat and the mood shifted quickly.

"What?" Sam asked.

"Nothing. I just wish you'd stop thanking me. I did nothing to help you."

"Sir, that's not true," she insisted.

"Yes it is. How many times have I been literally lost or as good as dead? I've lost track. But it's always you who figures it out and gets me back, and when you need help I can't help you and neither can anybody else, and you're still forced to help yourself."

"Because you make me," she interrupted. "Just like this time. Look, Oz jokes aside, you were there. All three of you. I know it wasn't real, I knew it wasn't real while it was happening. But it didn't matter, because I know all of you so well and you're such a part of me that I know exactly what you'd all need and want to tell me. And you calmed me down when I started thinking it couldn't be done, and you pushed me to get up and figure it out. Just like always. I'm sorry if you don't feel like you did enough, but you're wrong. You forced me to save myself..." as she ranted, she gradually became aware of an increasingly annoying beeping sound and all of a sudden she was having trouble breathing and felt like she was about to pass out.

Janet and some nurses rushed in and started fiddling with the devices she was connected to, and the Colonel was pushed out of the way, looking even more guilty than ever. He obviously blamed himself for her mini-freak out.

Janet obviously blamed him as well.

Whether it was with the help of drugs or not, Sam got herself under control again and waved Janet away. "I'm okay. Sorry. Just tried to do too much."

"Right," Janet said sarcastically. "Colonel, you need to leave. I've given her something, she's about to fall asleep again anyway."

"No," he said quietly, in the deadly-calm voice nobody, not even the formidable Dr. Fraiser, would argue with.

Sam's last thought before falling into a deep, heavy sleep was that he'd still be there when she woke up.

---

She was right; he was still there when she woke up. Slouched in a chair next to the bed, he was completely occupied with trying to undo the tangled mess the string of his yo-yo was in. She turned on her side, gratefully realizing that her head was clearer than it had been in a long time. There was still a dull pain, but it was completely manageable.

"Need a hand, sir?" she offered.

He looked at her in surprise, smiling as he saw that she was awake. "You look like you feel better," he commented.

"I do," she said, pushing the button herself this time to raise the bed up to a sitting position. She held out her hand for the yo-yo. He handed it over wordlessly.

"You got a new one," she commented as she started working at the tangled knot. He had brought her tangled yo-yos several times before, usually while she was working in her lab, claiming that his fingers were too big to undo the knots. He had no idea she kind of liked the job, it wasn't hard, just required determination and very little thought. It was always a good distraction when she was in the middle of something. Of course, if he knew it didn't bother her, he probably would stop bringing them to her.

"Yeah, the other one had a tragic demise."

"What?" she asked curiously.

"General Hammond confiscated it."

"That's too bad, sir."

"Yeah. I like this one better though."

She raised an eyebrow at the green alien decal on each side of the yo-yo.

"Just remind me not to whip it out in front of Thor," he said.

She laughed and said, "Yes, sir. Do you think you can get Janet in here? I'm feeling better now, I'd like to get out of here."

"I'm sure you would, but last time I asked her, she was planning on keeping you in here for at least one more night. She said tomorrow evening was the soonest she'd be releasing you."

"But... I want to go. I'm fine. She's let you wander all over the base with a concussion."

"In an emergency situation and she wasn't happy about it then. Just take it eas... uh, just... try to relax," he said quickly, flashing an apologetic smile after his quick-edit. He knew she hated to be told to take it easy.

"You're one to talk, sir, you're never in here as long as she'd like. Can't you help me out?"

"I could, but I don't think that's a good idea. Janet said you need supervision, you can't go home, and I think the past seven years have established that you can't be trusted to remain on base and NOT work."

She sighed, attacking the knot in the yo-yo with unnecessary force.

"Hammond's put the rest of us on stand-down until Janet gives you the all-clear. Maybe she'd let us take you home if we all stayed with you," he suggested, reaching for the yo-yo.

"Not done," she said automatically, swatting absently at his hand. "Do you think she'd go for that?"

"Can't hurt to ask. You'd rather do that than stay here?"

"Are you kidding, of course I would."

"Okay. I'll go talk to the General first and then bring it up with her. That'll give me more influence."

"Good plan, sir. Thanks."

"I'll be back for that yo-yo," he warned, hurrying out the room.

Smiling, she looked back down at the giant mess of string.

Five minutes later, Daniel and Teal'c showed up again. "Hey, you're up," Daniel said with a smile. "We were just looking for Jack."

"He's trying to get me out of here," she explained.

"Well, you're obviously feeling better, but is that a good idea?"

"Yeah... he said you guys would all stay with me if Janet wanted. He didn't ask you about it?"

"No, but of course we will. Actually, I'm kind of glad he's not in here," he said, sitting down in the chair the Colonel had been using. Teal'c pulled up another chair and sat down next to Daniel. "I just wanted to say that I was thinking about what you said earlier," Daniel said. "And I decided to try your trick, and I had an imaginary conversation with you. Well, sort of. And I thought... okay, look, I know you didn't tell me everything that happened between you and Jack on the Prometheus, but I kind of thought about how that conversation might go if it was all taking place in your head..."

"Daniel, you're making my headache come back," she said in a warning tone of voice.

"Sorry. I just meant... Sam, you're one of the only people I know that I can see... trying to reason themselves out of feelings. Please, whatever you do, just... don't let a conversation you had with yourself while you were stranded in space with a massive concussion determine your future. That's all I'm going to say."

Sam stared at him hard. It sounded for all the world like he knew word for word what she and the imaginary Colonel had talked about. Well, she supposed if she could have conversations with the rest of the team while they weren't there, they could probably all do the same thing with her.

Come to think of it, as she met Teal'c's eyes, it occurred to her that he had probably figured out the same thing, which had probably prompted him to tell her about his conversation with the Colonel in the locker room.

"Also, you still need to tell Jack about the girl."

"Why?"

"Just trust me. It's just something that you have to do, when you're ready. When you're feeling better."

Colonel O'Neill, General Hammond, and Janet all entered the room.

"Excellent," the Colonel said as he saw that Sam was winding the untangled string back around the yo-yo. She handed it back to him and he was just itching to give it a try, she could tell. A stern look from the General and the Colonel, no doubt remembering the fate of his last yo-yo, pocketed it quickly.

"Major Carter, I hear you're eager to go home," General Hammond said.

"Yes, sir, I feel fine now," Sam assured him earnestly.

"Glad to hear it. We were all worried about you. Dr. Fraiser has her concerns, but she assures me you are on the road to recovery, and I think if the rest of SG-1 accompanies you home and stays with you, together or in turns, you can go on home. Take Friday, Saturday, and Sunday easy and report back here on Monday for Dr. Fraiser to check you again, and if she thinks you can return to work, you may. LIGHT duty only though, Major, and your report on the incident can be handed in anytime next week. We have enough information from the crew of the Prometheus to sustain us until you're ready to submit your own. No rush."

"Thank you, sir," she said gratefully.

"Also, your father was alerted when you went missing, and I sent him a message when you were found. He said to tell you he's glad you're okay and he'll see you as soon as he can, but it might be a while."

"Yes, sir. Thank you."

He smiled at her, then at everyone else. "Well, I'll let you all go now. Everyone enjoy the down time, and make sure Major Carter follows the doctor's orders."

A chorus of "Yes, sirs" followed him out the room.

Janet, she could tell, was reluctant to let her out of the infirmary, but she did it nonetheless, grumbling under her breath the whole time and sternly telling everyone that if anything happened, they needed to bring Sam straight back. Finally, she removed Sam's IV and shooed everyone out so she could get dressed.

As they all left the infirmary, Daniel said casually, "Teal'c and I have a few things to finish up on the base actually. Jack, maybe you should go ahead and take Sam home and Teal'c and I will come over later and bring dinner."

Sam looked at him seriously, trying to figure out if he really thought he was fooling her. She knew exactly why he was leaving them alone; he wanted her to tell Jack about Grace. Why, she still had no idea.

"Is that a problem, Sam?" Daniel asked sweetly.

"No, of course not, Daniel," she said, returning the nauseatingly sweet smile he was giving her.

"What would you like us to bring you for dinner, Major Carter?" Teal'c asked.

"I probably won't have much of an appetite yet, Teal'c, so I don't care. Whatever you guys want. Pizza would be good."

"We will bring pizza then," he promised.

"Thanks. See you later."

Daniel and Teal'c said goodbye to them as they waited for the elevator. Sam and Colonel O'Neill fell into a comfortable silence all the way up to the surface. "I guess we'll take my truck and I'll have Teal'c drive your car over tonight. Janet said you can't drive until she says so," he said, steering her away from her car and in the direction of his truck.

"Why can't you drive my car now and have Teal'c drive your truck tonight then?" Sam asked, already knowing the answer.

"Because your car scares the crap out of me with all those upgrades you did on it, but Teal'c loves it," he said matter-of-factly, opening the passenger door to his truck for her.

She yawned as he started the car, and the combinations of the painkillers and the rhythm of the car had her asleep in five minutes.

She woke up groggily when they were parked in front of her house. Colonel O'Neill was leaning over her, unbuckling her seat belt. She inhaled deeply, an automatic response she always had when she woke up, this time getting a nose-ful of Colonel-smell. She was so familiar with the way he always smelled that she realized only now that it had even been present during their imaginary conversation, and their imaginary-within-imaginary kiss.

He turned to look at her, his face much closer to hers than was normal, or safe, and smiled. "What? You okay?" he asked, apparently misreading the look on her face.

"Yeah," she said quickly. "Just a little tired."

"I noticed," he said with the smile he always had when he was teasing her about something. "You drooled on my window."

"Sorry, sir," she said, trying to avoid his gaze, mortified.

"It's okay. Are you sure you feel well enough to be here though? You were pretty out of it."

"It's the car ride, it always makes me tired even when I'm perfectly fine. I'm okay," she insisted.

"All right, if you say so," he said, stepping out of the doorway to let her out of the truck. He didn't touch her but he was hovering awfully close, just in case.

She let them both into her house and turned on the lights. It seemed like forever since she had been here, and it had really only been about a week, she realized as she checked on her plants. They were so thirsty. She hurried to the kitchen and fetched the watering can from under the sink and immediately began filling it.

"What are you doing?" her CO asked casually.

"Watering my plants, they're dying of thirst," she said absently.

He reached around her and turned off the faucet. "I busted you out of the infirmary so you could take it easy."

"Yes, sir, I know, but..."

"So go sit down. Or better yet, go lay down. I'll water your plants. But I'm not talking to them," he said with a smirk, making her go red as she remembered how embarrassed she'd been to confess that she talked to her plants.

That was so long ago, she suddenly realized. It was weird, sometimes she could scarcely remember a time when she hadn't been a part of SG-1. Sometimes everything before she had been transferred to the SGC seemed like it was someone else's life she had only read about somewhere.

Maybe it's not the concussion, maybe I'm just going insane, she thought idly as she watched her CO watering the plants in the kitchen. "How many more are there?" he asked as he refilled the watering can.

"Um, five in the living room, three in the..."

"Never mind, I'll find them. Go sit down," he said gruffly, disappearing.

She grabbed herself a bottle of water from the refrigerator and went into the living room, sitting down in a corner of the couch. She slid her shoes off and curled her legs up underneath her, settling back into the cushions and stifling another yawn. She reached back, grabbed the blanket off the back of the couch, and curled up even smaller underneath it.

When the Colonel finished watering her plants and had returned the watering can to its spot under the sink, he flopped down on the other end of the couch, took off his boots, shoved them under the coffee table, and propped his feet up on the coffee table, remote in hand.

"Something you want to watch?" he asked as he turned the television on and started flipping through the channels.

"Not especially," she said, watching him thoughtfully from her corner of the couch. He always did that, she realized. Wherever he was, just made himself right at home. In a lot of ways, they were polar opposites. Then again, they were almost identical in some pretty crucial ways as well.

"Nothing on," he declared ten minutes later, after he'd flipped through all of the channels three times in a row at breakneck speed.

Sam took the remote from him and flipped to a documentary he'd flown past repeatedly. "There," she said with a satisfied smile, handing the remote back to him.

To his credit, he sat through nearly five minutes of the show before crying out, "BOOORING! Want to play chess?"

"Maybe later, after my head is clear," Sam said absently, studying him curiously. The way he had said 'boring' had set off some sort of a flag in her brain, like coming across a highlighted passage in a book you hadn't read in years.

"Ah, but then I won't be assured of a victory," he said with a grin, trying to goad her into proving she could beat him with a concussion. She was too tired to take the bait, although it was tempting.

She shook her head. "Sorry. Nice try though."

"Thanks. Want to watch a movie?"

"Sure," she said, feeling like she was about to fall asleep anyway. He got up and started rummaging through her DVD collection.

"You need some better movies. What's this one about?"

She glanced at the cover. "That's Cassie's. It's about a hockey player and a figure skater. You wouldn't like it."

"Hockey player? Sounds interesting to me."

"You won't like it," she repeated.

"Well, it's better than that documentary you were practically drooling over a couple of minutes ago," he called over his shoulder as he removed the DVD from its case and inserted it into her DVD player.

"All right, but I reserve the right to say 'I told you so' when it's over," Sam said, getting up.

"What are you doing?" he asked immediately.

"Going to the bathroom, then I'm going to put on some comfy clothes." She started to leave and spoke again before he could make a smart comment. "And no thank you, sir, I don't need help with either."

"Hey!" he called indignantly as she disappeared down the hallway.

After going to the bathroom, Sam stared into an open drawer in her bedroom. She really wanted to put on her big comfy pajamas, but the Colonel had seen them once before when he and Daniel had come to pick her up in the middle of the night for a base emergency last year, and he had made fun of them for months. So she settled for a comfy pair of navy yoga pants and a very old, soft gray sweatshirt.

When she went back into the living room, the movie was just starting. Her CO raised both eyebrows at her ensemble but didn't comment, just returned his attention to the movie, where the male lead was playing his one and only hockey match of the movie.

As she sat back down on her end of the couch, she yawned hugely and decided to give up the pretense of trying to remain awake during the movie. Curling up on her side, she adjusted the throw pillow underneath her head and pulled the blanket back over herself.

"Do you miss your cat?" the Colonel asked curiously ten minutes later, as she was just starting to drift off to sleep.

"Hmm? My cat? Sometimes. Why?"

"You're curled up like a cat over there, I was just curious."

"Oh. Well, yeah, I miss him but it's nice not to have to worry about making sure somebody's coming over to feed him and everything when we're gone."

"Yeah, that makes sense. Are you sure you don't want to go lay down in your bed? You look really tired. I'll have to come wake you up in an hour though."

"I'm comfy here."

"Oh. Okay. Sure."

She nodded and lay her head back down, her eyes drifting shut.

The next thing she knew, he was squeezing her calf through the blanket. "Carter? Wake up a little bit so I don't have to lie to the Doc when she calls later to make sure I'm following the rules and waking you up every hour."

"I'm okay," she mumbled, not bothering to open her eyes.

"Do you need anything?"

"Sleep."

"All right, enough said. 'Night."

"'Night, sir."

He mumbled something but she was already nearly out of it again and didn't pick it up.

The next time she woke up, it was on her own. The movie was over and "The Simpsons" was on, so no big surprises there. The only surprising thing was how warm her bare feet were. She blushed slightly as she realized why they were so warm. Apparently in her sleep she had stretched out across the whole couch, and the bottoms of her feet were now pressed up against the outside of her CO's right thigh.

He didn't seem to be minding it, as his fingers were curled lightly around one of her ankles. It was completely innocent, incidental contact that normally would have meant nothing, but in the world of Jack and Sam, where minuscule amounts of contact and silent conversations meant a lot, it felt special.

"So, what's the verdict?" she asked, rolling onto her back and sitting up slowly to keep her head from spinning.

Colonel O'Neill looked over at her in surprise and let go of her ankle, but kept his wrist draped across them, so she didn't move her feet, although she felt a bit awkward sitting sideways on her couch with her legs out straight in front of her.

"What verdict?" he asked, glancing at his watch. "Nice timing by the way, I was just about to wake you up again."

"Thanks. Verdict on the movie. You didn't like it, did you?"

"It was okay... there was barely any hockey in it though. I seriously doubt a real hockey player would be happy to quit and become a figure skater."

"You didn't like it."

"I didn't say that! It had a couple of funny parts..."

"I told you you wouldn't like it."

He gave her a shrug and a smile. Sam made a command decision to take Daniel's advice. "Can you turn the TV off please, sir?" she asked.

He looked at the TV slowly and looked back at her pointedly. "All right, but this better be good, I don't turn off 'The Simpsons' for just anybody, you know."

"Yes, sir. I ah, just wanted to talk a little bit about something that happened to me on the Prometheus."

"The Wizard of Oz stuff?"

"Sort of. Well, I told you about how I talked to you, Daniel, and Teal'c."

"Yeah."

"Well, I talked to my dad too, but that's not really the point. Um, the thing is, I understood why all of you guys showed up to talk, but there was another weird... interaction I kept having, and when I told Daniel about it, for some reason he insisted I tell you about it."

"Okay. What was it?"

"There was a little girl that kept showing up."

He turned his body so that it was facing her, a deliberately inscrutable look on his face that he hadn't directed at her in a long time. Usually it was reserved for occasions when dress blues were required. "A little girl," he prompted when she didn't continue.

"Yes, sir. Running around on the ship. After a while, I finally talked to her. She sort of helped me come up with the bubble idea."

"Good for her then," he said, clearly still not sure why he was being told this.

"The weird thing, I guess, was that I knew the rest of my hallucinations, and I knew you guys weren't there, and I was sort of directing the conversations, just using your voices, but I didn't know her, and I wasn't in control of our interactions... I don't know why Daniel was so insistent that I tell you about this. Maybe he was just worried about my sanity."

"Maybe," he agreed with a shrug, rolling the remote back and forth between his hands. "Umm, Carter, just out of curiosity, what did this little girl look like?"

"Daniel asked me the same thing. She was just a cute little girl with brown hair and eyes in a white dress."

"Long, curly brown hair?" he asked quickly.

"Y-yes," she said hesitantly. "Did you... already talk to Daniel about this, sir?"

"No. Well, maybe. But no, not in the way you mean."

"What?"

"No. Daniel didn't tell me about you seeing a little girl. Did you... what was her name?"

"Why?"

"Please, just tell me."

"Are you and Daniel trying to play some sort of prank on me or something, because that would be..."

"No," he interrupted quickly. "Okay." He ran his hands through his hair, grimaced up at the ceiling fan, and turned back to her. "Was her name, by any chance, Grace?"

Sam stared at him for a full minute. "How did you... how..."

"I've seen her before. And the last time was when I was on the planet with Maybourne, and after that, when Daniel came back and got his memories, I told Daniel about it, because I thought she might have been an acquaintance of his when he was ascended. He said she wasn't and he didn't know who she was."

"You've seen... that's impossible. How could we have the same hallucination a year apart?" she demanded.

"I have no idea. As far as I knew, it was just my own weird thing."

"Wait, you said the last time. When else have you seen her?"

"When I was pinned to the wall of the gate room five years ago. And... when I was in an Iraqi prison for four months. That was the first time. I really don't know if I would have survived that without... without whatever she was. Is. I'm confused," he admitted.

"So am I," Sam said quietly.

This was unbelievable. Grace had been a complete stranger, how was it possible that her CO had been visited by her for about fifteen years, when he was in critical situations like she had been in on the ship?

"Maybe it's just a coincidence," she said, more to herself than to him. "Some weird psychological manifestation we both had in stressful situations that happen to be strangely similar. I mean the word 'Grace' would be a trigger, in all those situations it was what we needed to hope for and..."

"Did she sing 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' to you?" the Colonel asked quietly.

She gaped at him. She hadn't even told Daniel that. He was telling the truth, plain and simple, and they had seen the exact same little girl.

"Okay, judging by the fact that you've been catatonic for about five minutes, I'm going to go with 'yes' on that one," he finally said.

"I'm sorry, I just... I don't know what to do with this. Do you think she's an ancient? Some... ascended being that started off following you around, making sure you were okay, and then maybe she decided to watch over all of us? If the ascended beings can travel through space like they obviously can, they must be able to move through time as well as space, so theoretically..."

"She's not ascended. At least not yet, in our timeline. Daniel told me."

"So... what is she? I thought she might be a conduit to communicate with the cloud... well, okay, that was my imaginary Daniel's idea, but... I don't know... what is this supposed to mean?" she asked, frustrated. Her headache was back, but she didn't know if it was the conversation she was having or the concussion.

"Do you seriously expect me to have an answer for you? I'm just as surprised you've seen her as you are that I have. She's funny though, right?" he asked with a sudden grin.

"She was pretty funny," Sam agreed with an unexpected smile.

"She wasn't wearing a white dress last time I saw her though, when I was on the planet with Maybourne."

"Actually, you were on the moon," Sam pointed out. "Sorry, sir," she added as he shot her an exasperated look.

"She was wearing dirty overalls and a baseball cap, and she went fishing with me."

"Did you ever ask her who she was?"

"Yeah, she wouldn't answer besides saying her name."

"Did you ask why she was there?"

"No, I thought I knew why she was there. A part of my mind, to help me... wait it out, I guess. Guess I was wrong."

"Maybe not. Who knows..."

"This is going to drive you insane, not being able to figure this out, isn't it?" he asked suddenly, looking uncharacteristically sympathetic.

"I really hope not," she said quietly, furrowing her brow in concentration.

He slipped his arm around her, squeezing her shoulder supportively. "So do I. I don't know where I'd find another combination genius/kickass Major/Daniel wrangler."

Laughing and looking down at her hands, she took a deep breath and said, "I kind of wish Daniel had kept his mouth shut."

"He doesn't know how. Besides, at least now I'm not alone in the insanity."

"You've apparently known her longer than I have," Sam said suddenly, turning to look at him. "Did you ever have any other ideas on who or what she was?"

"Well... when I was in Iraq, I kind of thought... this sounds stupid, so don't tell Daniel, okay, but I kind of thought that maybe... Sara was pregnant, or even had already had another baby and... I mean, I lost all sense of time in there, I was so confused and practically dead, I convinced myself she was Charlie's little sister, they had such similar smiles... I know a lot of little kids look similar, and of course when I got home I realized none of that was true at all, and... kind of had to deal with that in addition to all the other crap that comes up when you've been presumed dead by the government and all your friends and family for over four months."

Sam was holding her breath while he talked, and when he stopped, she let it out and had to restrain herself from throwing her arms around him in a huge hug. The first time he had mentioned his time as a prisoner in Iraq, she had spent a long time conditioning herself not to think about it. It had happened to him such a long time ago she couldn't justify reaching out to comfort him, but she still really wanted to.

He met her eyes and she suddenly felt hugged anyway. He smiled until she finally returned it, then said, "See, don't worry about it, Carter, you're obviously just as sane as I am!"

She shook her head, laughing silently.

"You okay?" he asked after she had been sitting quietly, lost in thought, for several minutes.

"Yes, sir. Confused still, but... okay." She smiled and nodded at the remote. "Sorry I interrupted your show."

"I'm not," he said sincerely. "You okay? Really? Last time I'll ask if you make me believe you."

"I'm okay," she assured him again. He studied her carefully for much longer than she was comfortable with under the circumstances, but finally nodded and turned the television back on.

She turned her attention to the television as well, and they watched quietly for a few minutes. He slipped his arm around her casually, sliding her across the cushion so that she was resting against his side, as if it was something he did every day. Surprised at how much the simple contact immediately comforted and relaxed her, she curled her feet up underneath her and leaned into him more heavily.

The show he was so amused by failed to captivate her, so she decided to try something. Closing her eyes, she tried to picture the little girl, hoping she could somehow summon her and try to get some answers to the millions of questions swimming around in her brain. She had no trouble picturing the little girl, but she couldn't get anything other than a mental image.

"Stop it," her CO's voice interrupted her thoughts.

"Stop what?"

"Whatever you're doing. You shouldn't be doing that much thinking, you'll put yourself back in the infirmary."

"Sorry, it's kind of hard to stop."

"Yeah. Here, this might help you focus on something," he said, changing the channel back to the documentary channel she had tried to watch earlier. The same one from hours ago was being repeated.

"Thank you," she said quietly, amazed that he was voluntarily switching from 'The Simpsons' to a documentary about bees.

"Just don't spread this around the base," he warned in a super-grumpy voice she knew was for show only.

The documentary had the desired effect: it kept her brain focused on one thing long enough for her to be lulled to sleep.

"Carter?" the Colonel asked quietly just as she was drifting off. She was too sleepy to reply, but she had to hide her smile as he turned down the volume and changed the channel back to "The Simpsons" once he thought she was asleep.

---

A sharp knocking on her front door made her jump awake, which hurt her head terribly. She moaned and grabbed her head, curling up in a ball on the couch and saying, "Damn that Daniel Jackson" into the couch cushion. She heard her CO laughing at her as he got up to go let in the rest of their team.

By the time the three men returned, carrying several pizza boxes and a twelve pack of sodas, she was sitting up again and greeted them with a smile. "Hey, guys."

"Hey, Sam."

"Major Carter, how are you feeling?" Teal'c asked.

"Better. Thanks, Teal'c."

Colonel O'Neill took the pizza out of Daniel's hands and gestured for Teal'c to follow him into the kitchen, leaving Daniel and Sam alone in the living room. Daniel watched the other men disappear into the kitchen and sat down beside her eagerly. "So? Did you tell him?"

"Yes, and I have no idea what to do with any of this now, so thanks a lot, Daniel."

"What do you mean? Aren't you amazed that you were both visited by the same little girl?"

"Of course. Amazed and confused and frustrated because I'll never be able to figure out what any of that means..."

"Why do you say that? I thought it was pretty obvious who Grace is."

"All right, then, you tell me. Who is she?"

"She's your future, Sam," he said quietly with a small, serious smile.

"What do you mean?"

"She's your daughter, Sam. Your future. With Jack," he said simply, as if it was the most obvious conclusion in the world to come to.

Sam's eyes widened in shock and she leaned back away from Daniel. "Daniel, what on Earth led you to that conclusion, that's crazy. And don't you dare mention that to the Colonel, I'm serious."

"I can see that," he said, clearly amused at her reaction. "Sam, just... try not to worry about it too much, okay?"

"How can I not..." she stopped talking abruptly as she heard Teal'c and the man under discussion returning from the kitchen. She glared at Daniel, silently warning him to keep his mouth shut.

He grinned at Jack and Teal'c and said loudly, "Great, I'm starving!"

"Yours is in the kitchen, Spacemonkey," Jack said with a sarcastic smile, handing Sam one of the two plates he was carrying, the one with the veggie pizza slices on it.

"Thanks," she said as she slid onto the floor so that she could set the plate on the coffee table and lean back against the couch while she ate.

"Daniel, while you're in there can you get me some..." she started to call to Daniel in the kitchen.

The Colonel pulled a bunch of napkins out of his back pocket and handed them to her. "Never mind, Daniel!" she called. "Thanks, sir," she added with a grin, immediately beginning the routine of sopping up as much grease as possible with the napkins.

"You're taking all the flavor out of it," her CO commented around a huge bite of pizza, mostly because he always said it.

"Major Carter, how would you like to spend the evening?" Teal'c asked. To save time, apparently, he had put two pieces of pizza facing each other, sandwich style, and was eating them simultaneously.

"Um, I don't know, I've been falling asleep a lot."

"Indeed. If you are interested, I have brought the 'Star Wars' trilogy."

"Oh, that's a great idea, Teal'c!" she said enthusiastically. "Let's start watching it right now, pop in Episode Four!"

"As you wish," Teal'c said with a barely controlled smile, getting up to fetch the tapes from the front hall, where he had left them.

"We brought ice cream too," Daniel said as he sat back down with his pizza and soda and the movie began.

"Star Wars and ice cream? What more could a girl want?" Sam asked him with a big grin.

Shaking his head in amusement, Daniel said, "Good thing you're not too hard to please. It's good to have you back, Sam."

"Indeed," Teal'c agreed. She smiled at both of them, resisting the childish urge to give them both ginormous hugs, and turned her attention to the screen.

An hour later, she was wedged between her CO and the man she thought of as her little brother, although he was actually a few years older than she was, with a half-empty pint of Cookies 'n Cream in one hand and a big spoon in the other.

It occurred to her that in most social situations, four adults probably would spread around the room a bit, some of them occupying the other chairs in the room. But whenever they watched movies together, SG-1 always gravitated towards each other automatically, as if they were all pulled together like magnets. They currently all occupied the same piece of furniture, all squished together on her couch like sardines. It was one of the ways they could all comfort each other without actually having to talk about it.

"Janet said Cassie wants to come over tomorrow," Daniel said casually.

"Good," Jack commented.

"She's going to bring her over and give you a check-up, Sam," Daniel added. Sam rolled her eyes but realized it was better than being ordered back to the infirmary for said check-up.

The Colonel tried to sneak a scoop of ice cream out of her container. She looked at him, appalled, and he offered her a bite of his. She shook her head, making a disgusted face. He knew very well she hated the combination of mint and chocolate. Teal'c and Daniel swapped pints halfway through. Sam stole a bite of Daniel's new flavor. Jack tried to do the same and was rapped on the knuckles by Daniel's cold spoon.

"Hey," Jack objected, licking the residue off the back of his hand. "How come she gets to do it?"

"She's not you," Daniel said with a smirk, refusing him the bite of ice cream just to be annoying. He was such a little brother sometimes. As soon as he'd turned his attention back to the movie, Sam scooped another spoonful of his ice cream but instead of eating it, passed it to her CO.

"Traitor," Daniel muttered to her.

---

Just as 'Return of the Jedi' began, Sam began experiencing Return of the Dinner. Nauseated, she pressed her ice cream pint into Daniel's hands and vaulted over Teal'c's propped up legs, bolting for her bathroom.

She just made it to the toilet and was suddenly very busy and very miserable for a good ten minutes. She was vaguely aware of a warm hand rubbing her back and the cold hard tile hurting her knees.

"Daniel, call Janet," Jack's voice said, sounding very far away, although Sam knew he wasn't, because she could feel his hand on her back.

"Major Carter, let me place this under your knees," Teal'c said calmly, crouching down beside her. He placed a folded up towel underneath her knees.

"Thanks," she managed. It really did help a lot.

"O'Neill, I will remain outside if you require anything," he said quietly.

"Thanks," he said quietly. She heard a faucet start to run and felt a cold, wet, folded rag pressed to the back of her neck. Feeling clammy, she finally stopped throwing up and flushed the toilet, sitting back on her knees wearily, still feeling like she might begin again at any moment. Jack handed her a cup of water, which she swished around but couldn't swallow.

Daniel suddenly appeared in the doorway, talking non-stop on the phone. "She's stopped now, should we bring her in, or do you want to come over here? Uh, pizza, and some soda, and some ice cream..." Daniel winced and held the phone out so that they could all hear Janet screaming.

Sam picked up words like "Greasy" "acidic" "idiotic" "moronic" "hard-headed men" and "miracle you four are still alive."

Daniel tried to hand the phone to Jack, who busied himself getting a toothbrush ready for Sam so he wouldn't have to take the phone, and Teal'c had suddenly disappeared completely. "Okay, thanks, we'll call you back later with an update!" Daniel finally said in a falsely cheery voice, hanging up the phone.

After she felt like she wasn't going to throw up anymore, she smiled at them all (Teal'c had returned as soon as Daniel was off the phone) and said, "Thanks guys. Sorry about that. Can you give me a few minutes to get cleaned up please?"

Teal'c and Daniel immediately backed out of the crowded bathroom, but Jack actually looked like he was going to refuse to go. "Five minutes," he finally said, squeezing her shoulder and leaving as well, shutting the door most of the way behind him.

Sam, knowing they were all three standing right outside the door, couldn't help smiling a little bit around her toothbrush. She felt completely lousy and looked it too, but she couldn't help it. She was so glad that all three of them were there, not only to keep her company, but that they were willing to watch her throw up as well. It was a pretty gross thing to witness, she knew, but she would have done the same for any of them in a heartbeat. As she spit out her toothpaste, she idly wondered if Teal'c had ever thrown up. Probably not.

She finished brushing her teeth, washed her face and dried herself off with a towel. She contemplated taking a quick shower but found she just didn't have the energy. Plus, she was still feeling a bit uneasy, she might be throwing up some more later. Great, something to look forward to, she thought with a sigh, trying to will herself automatically completely recovered. It didn't work.

When she left the bathroom, only her CO was still standing there waiting. "Janet wants us to take your temperature," he said, sticking her thermometer into her mouth and leading her over to her bed.

"I want to keep watching the movie, I'm fine," she objected as he pulled back the covers and waited for her to slide into the bed.

"You're not fine. We shouldn't have brought pizza, all that grease and cheese, and yours had onions and peppers... that was so stupid."

"Hey, the pizza was my idea," she objected around the thermometer.

"Yeah, well, we shouldn't have listened to a woman with a concussion. And then mixing it with soda and ice cream... that was really dumb."

She rolled her eyes and got into the bed to pacify him. He tucked her in and sat down on top of the covers, waiting for the thermometer to beep. When it did, he took it, looked at it, and frowned. "100.5. Not too bad. Still... Daniel!" he called in the direction of the living room. "It's 100.5!"

"All right!" Daniel called back.

"I feel fine now, I want to finish the movie," Sam repeated firmly.

"Janet wants you to rest. I'll make Teal'c sit on you if you try to get up."

"What could be more restful than watching a movie?"

"She specifically said BED rest, as in lying down in bed, not sitting on the couch elbowing Daniel every time he and Teal'c start saying the lines under their breath."

"You would be doing it too if you could reach them!" she insisted.

"That's not the point. It's pretty late, you need to sleep."

"You're just going to wake me up in an hour anyway, and I've been sleeping for days."

"That's an exaggeration, and it's because you need the rest."

"I'm not tired," she insisted, but it was a lie and she knew it. She knew he knew it too, but she wasn't all that sleepy, and she didn't want to be stuck alone in her room while the three of them watched the rest of the movie out in the living room without her.

"All right, let's put that argument aside for a minute since Teal'c and Daniel aren't in here right now," he said suddenly, glancing at the open doorway. "Did you talk to Daniel anymore? When T and I were in the kitchen?"

She squirmed uncomfortably, there was no way to avoid his gaze so she couldn't lie. And she'd been studiously trying not to think about Daniel's little bombshell of a theory. "Umm, only briefly, sir."

"And what, pray-tell, did the good doctor have to say?"

"He ah - has his own strange theories that really don't make any more or less sense than anything else I've come up with..."

"What does he think?"

"He thinks Grace is... a potential future, of sorts. Sort of. In a way."

"In what way?"

"In a... literal way, basically."

"Carter," he said in a gently warning tone.

"I guess he sort of... agrees with one of your ideas, sort of."

"Stop saying 'sort of!'" he interrupted. "Do I need to get him in here or are you gonna tell me what he said?"

"Daniel's opinion is that Grace is... a child that hasn't been born yet," she said, hoping he could fill in the blanks. She met his gaze, suddenly feeling exhausted.

"As in... oh," he finally said quietly, looking away and then glancing back at her quickly in that way he always did in situations where they suddenly found themselves a little too close for comfort. He coughed awkwardly and fiddled with the edge of her comforter. Finally, he looked back at her evenly and said, "I'm okay with that."

She instantly remembered when he'd directed that question at her, three years ago, after the Zay'tarc incident. She covered her automatic look of surprise quickly and took a few moments to process that and all of its implications. "I think I might be okay with that too," she said finally.

"Well, that was... vague," he said, looking a little bit hurt but trying to hide it.

"Sorry. Thinking out loud. I think... I'm content with that explanation. So... to answer your question from earlier, it won't drive me crazy anymore."

He nodded slightly and eventually said, "Okay. Good to know. One more thing... you don't have to answer, I'm just curious... are you thinking of me as 'Jack' in your head now?"

Slightly embarrassed, she said, "Sometimes."

"Good." He smiled at her for a long time, squeezed her hand, and reached for the bedside lamp.

"I'm NOT going back to sleep!" she objected, sitting up and crossing her arms defiantly.

He made his sharp little noise that Daniel had once referred to as 'the hairball,' so of course now Sam could not think of it any other way, and said, "I'm bigger than you, with that bump on the head I'll have no trouble making you stay here. Come on, the Doc wants you to stay in bed."

"She's not here and I want to stay out there with you guys - Daniel! Come help me!"

Daniel and Teal'c both appeared immediately. "What's wrong?" Daniel asked.

"He's refusing to let me watch the rest of the movie."

"Janet's going to kill me slowly and painfully if there's a repeat of the vomiting incident!" Jack argued.

Daniel shook his head and said, "All right, children, why don't we just bring the movie in here?"

"Oh," Jack said quietly.

"Okay," Sam agreed.

---

An hour later, Sam was getting drowsy again. She idly thought that she had the best friends in the universe. At the same time, she also thought SG-1 was probably the strangest unit at the SGC. She doubted very seriously if say, the SG-3 Marines had ever all ended up in the same bed together, watching "Star Wars" and passing a sleeve of Premium Saltines around (Daniel had decided that if Sam had to eat bland food, they shouldn't be eating ice cream in front of her.) And if the SG-3 Marines ever HAD all ended up in bed together, she really didn't want to know about it.

She was all warm and snugly, cocooned under a mountain of covers with the best pillow, sandwiched between Jack and Teal'c. She was the only one under the covers, and Daniel was sprawled across the foot of the bed like a little kid or a cocker spaniel, Carter hadn't decided which. As she started to fall asleep, she laughed at a sudden thought.

"What?" Daniel asked curiously.

"Nothing," she said, still giggling into her pillow.

"Seriously, what?" Daniel asked, turning over to face all of them and looking at her curiously.

"Major Carter, please answer Daniel Jackson's question or I will be forced to push him off of the bed. He is blocking the screen during one of my favorite scenes."

"Do it, Teal'c!" Jack immediately encouraged.

"I just thought of something funny is all."

"Come on, Carter, share," the Colonel said, nudging her.

"I was just trying to tally up how manyfemale members of other SG units would die if I happened to mention I've shared a bed with all three of you."

"Ew, Sam, that's so gross!" Daniel said, throwing himself back dramatically onto his own pillow.

"What? I'm just saying, the other ladies at the SGC are pretty jealous about the fact that the four of us have our own locker room. Actually, not only the other field officers, the nurses, the technicians..." She grinned at Daniel, who looked ready to die of embarrassment.

"So in case you ever need somebody to go out with on a Saturday night, Daniel, I'd be happy to give you a list of the women at work that I've heard discuss your various attributes."

"Sam, shut up. Teal'c, smother her with her pillow," Daniel ordered.

"I too have heard many of the nurses in the infirmary comment about your backside, Daniel Jackson," Teal'c said evenly, exchanging a smile with Carter.

Jack groaned and said, "I thought we were watching a movie here, people, a little quiet would be nice!"

They all settled back down. After a few seconds of silence, Daniel commented, "Jealous, Jack?"

Jack moved quickly, leaning over Sam, bracing himself on the mattress space between Sam and Teal'c, and used the other hand to hit Daniel with his pillow.

Daniel tried to fight back, but Teal'c pushed them apart quickly, saying, "You will cause further injury to Major Carter. Everyone lay down and be still or she will ask us to leave."

Jack returned to his spot, punching his pillow back into shape and grumbling, while Daniel mumbled words like "unprovoked attack" and "grumpy old man."

"Thanks, Teal'c," Sam said, curling over on her side facing Jack and pulling the covers back up to her chin.

"Are you going to sleep?" Jack whispered loudly.

"Nope."

"Yeah, you are," he accused.

"I thought that was why we're all in here, to keep Sam company until she falls asleep!" Daniel put in. "I can't hear the movie, Jack!"

"Well... you speak ancient Egyptian in your sleep," Jack said in an accusatory voice.

"I also find that disturbing, Daniel Jackson," Teal'c commented.

"What does that have to do with anything?" Sam demanded.

"Exactly!" Daniel said, turning back to face the television.

"We are so weird," Sam muttered into her pillow.

---

The next thing Sam knew, the closing credits were rolling, and Daniel was asking if he could take the first watch.

"No, I am. You take second, Teal'c third, then start over."

"What is there to watch?" Sam asked sleepily.

"You, genius," Jack said, nudging her. "Remember, we have to wake you up. Teal'c, you got that ten-foot pole ready, right?" he asked, already laughing at his own joke.

She elbowed him as the mattress shifted while Daniel and Teal'c got off of her bed. "Night, guys," she said with a big yawn.

They both said goodnight to her and she heard them gathering pillows and leaving. Sam knew Daniel would be taking up residence in the guest room, and Teal'c would be on the couch. They would all take turns rotating around all night long, each taking their turn to make sure she was okay.

---

When she woke up the next morning, she felt much better. Not a hundred percent, but good enough to go back to work, not that she thought any of the three men still in her house would have let her. She yawned and stretched slowly, savoring the rare opportunity to wake upgradually rather than being forced to snap instantly alert in the field somewhere.

She knew she had been awakened on the hour every hour all through the night, but she didn't remember much of it. Once, she remembered Daniel had groggily collapsed onto the other side of her bed after taking his turn to wake her up and immediately fallen asleep himself and started snoring. When Teal'c had come to wake her up, he had also removed Daniel, who had, indeed, been speaking ancient Egyptian.

After going to the bathroom, she made her way to the kitchen but stopped just outside the door, leaning back against the wall next to the doorway, out of sight. From the various clashes, clangs, and slams coming from within, it was a pretty safe bet the rest of her team was destroying her kitchen, but she couldn't help but smile as she listened to parts of their conversation.

"Daniel Jackson, please turn over the bacon while I squeeze these oranges."

"Ah! My masterpiece!"

"What's wrong, Jack?"

"I was trying to make a Thor-shaped pancake but it just looks like a blob."

"Hmm, looks kind of like those slug things we all got from Machello."

"Lovely, Daniel, who in the hell would want to eat that?"

"Here, cut it into a circle, there are some cookie cutters in that drawer."

"Ouch!"

"Yeah, that plate is hot."

"Yeah, thanks, Spacemonkey. Your eggs are burning, Teal'c."

"No they are not, O'Neill."

"They're getting all dry."

"That is how I like my scrambled eggs. I do not like them runny. Neither does Major Carter."

"Ooh, let's put salsa in some of them!"

"And cheese!"

"Is that okay?"

"She can eat the plain ones. And Jack's misshapen pancakes."

"Hey, this one is a... sun. And that one's a... planet."

"Those are just circles."

"Well, exactly! All right, let's see you do better."

"There! A star!"

"The sun IS a star, Danny."

"Yeah but mine's a five point star, yours is just a lame circle."

"Mine's more scientifically correct though. Anyway, it's not a star anymore!"

"Oh please. A happy face?"

"Made of fruit!"

Sam laughed and covered her mouth with her hand quickly. The noise from the kitchen ceased, and she knew they knew she was listening to them. "Carter, we know you're out there!"

"What were you doing, Sam?" Daniel asked as she came into the kitchen and surveyed the giant mess, unable to keep the fond smile off of her face.

"Just thinking about the conversation I had with my dad on the Prometheus."

"Why, what did he say?" Jack asked.

"Nothing, it's not important. He was wrong anyway," she said, pouring herself a cup of coffee that was promptly taken away from her by her CO.

"Janet was non-negotiable on the coffee. Sorry. Teal'c made you juice though," he said with an apologetic smile. Teal'c handed her a glass of orange juice.

She smiled at him. "Thanks, Teal'c." He nodded and went back to preparing a giant pan of eggs.

She looked around the kitchen and realized she was right. Her dad had been so wrong. She was happy. Jack was busy turning an egg-shaped pancake into Thor's face by creating large eyes out of chocolate syrup. If only he'd pay that much attention in the briefing room, she thought with a snort. He caught her watching him and flashed a surprised smile. With him there was the security and promise of something more eventually, whenever the time was right. In the meantime, she thought as she edged closer to Daniel's cup of coffee casually, she was perfectly happy with what she already had.

The end. (Pete does not exist in my world.)