Title: Emotional Motives of a Bug – Part Four
Spoilers: Anything involving Replicators. Including Unnatural Selection, New Order 1 & 2, Gemini.
Season: Up to Season Eight's Gemini, then AU.
Content Warnings: One instance of strong language.
Summary: Sam and Daniel go in search of Jack.
Rating: Older Teens.
I do not own SG-1. Stamps foot and tosses hair childishly.
Archive: SJFic - Yes. Anywhere else - Yes.
Author's Note: Please feedback me, I'm greedy.
Author's Other Note: To get a basic grip on this story you should
Sam and Daniel headed straight for the General's office, only to be met in the briefing room by Jack.
Two of him.
He had obviously been fighting with… himself, his clothes were rumpled.
Now both Jacks were at a stand off, glaring at one another.
It would have been funny if they hadn't known that one of the men in front of them was a replicator.
"Uh… Jack?" Daniel asked hesitantly.
"What?" Both Jacks answered in unison.
"Sam, Daniel, good of you to join us." The voice was chillingly familiar.
Daniel instinctively looked at Sam, but it hadn't been her who had spoken.
RepliCarter emerged from the General's office.
Both Jacks recoiled.
Sam narrowed her eyes. They looked exactly the same. Whichever one was the replicator had gone to a lot of trouble to make sure he looked exactly like Jack, even down to his hatred of RepliCarter.
"I knew you were lying." She said.
RepliCarter smiled. "Of course you did. But there was nothing you could do about it, was there?"
"We brought the wrong one back." Daniel said quietly.
Sam nodded, the realisation making her feel physically sick. She raised her P-90 to aim it at RepliCarter.
"What do you want?" She asked.
"Oh, Sam." The replicator said, smiling. "You know what I want."
"Revenge." Both Jacks said, then glared at each other, their expressions perfectly mirrored.
"That too." RepliCarter said. "Did you know, it's all still in his head?" She asked Sam and Daniel, nodding in the Jacks' direction.
"What is?" Sam asked.
"I thought I would have to capture you," RepliCarter went on, looking at Daniel, "to get access to the knowledge of the Ancients. But its all still in Jack's head. Of course, I couldn't be in his head long enough to extract it all. That would take several days. Five, in fact." She smiled again.
Realising what the replicator had done, Sam and Daniel studied both Jacks.
They both looked exhausted. The replicator was really working hard.
"Sam, don't you think you should be aiming your gun at them?" RepliCarter spoke as though she were instructing an errant child. "He's far more dangerous than I am."
"How d'you figure that?" Both Jacks asked.
"To make my Jack amenable to his tasks was exceptionally simple. Jack is naturally a very dark, very dangerous man. All I had to do was take away the morality that he clings to so tenuously. Of course he can act like the other General, but he is so much better." She paused, smiling that infuriating smile again. "As for your Jack… he's just spent five days in my company. Not exactly conducive to a peaceful mental state."
Sam stared at her double.
"Unfortunately, I was unable to access much of the Ancient knowledge. I assume that poor Jack's brain was just too great a negative force." She smiled again, nastily. "Now, Sam, you have a choice. Which one is your Jack? Do you shoot first? What if you kill your Jack? Or even wound him? I don't expect you to be able to tell which is which. You couldn't last night."
Sam watched as pain flashed in the eyes of both Jacks.
"It's impossible!" Daniel murmured to Sam. "They're identical. There's nothing you can ask that one would know and the other wouldn't; she's been inside his head."
Sam lowered her rifle. "Don't let her out of your sight." She ordered Daniel.
She began to walk around the briefing room table towards the two Generals.
"Carter! Get back over there!" One of them ordered her harshly.
"Sam! Stay where you are!" Said the other at exactly the same time.
And Sam knew. She raised her rifle and fired a barrage of shots into the second Jack that had spoken. The other flung himself to the ground.
The replicator resembling Jack O'Neill was hurled against the wall under the force of the bullets, giving Sam, Jack and Daniel time to retreat.
As they ran down the corridor, Jack stumbled slightly. Daniel hauled his friend upright and kept running.
Sam clicked her radio on. "This is Colonel Carter. We found them in the briefing room. They're human-form replicators resembling myself and General O'Neill. Everyone is to stay away from the briefing room. Repeat. Everyone stay away from the briefing room."
They reached Sam's lab. Jack was the first inside.
"Jack! This is the first place they'll look!" Daniel said, panic evident in his voice.
"Gotta find it." Jack muttered.
"What?" Daniel asked.
Jack was scanning the various work benches in Sam's lab, desperately looking for something.
Sam turned to Daniel, "Lock the door." She told him.
"What difference will that make?" Daniel asked.
"Just do it, Daniel." Sam ordered.
Daniel went to lock the door to Sam's lab.
Sam walked over to Jack and put a hand on his arm. He flinched.
His reaction hurt Sam, but she hid it. "It's really you." She said. She could tell now, all her senses were telling her that thiswas him.
He nodded, not quite meeting her eyes. "Gotta find it." He repeated.
"What are you looking for, Jack?" Sam asked.
But Jack's frantically searching eyes had settled on the object he was looking for. The disruptor.
He yanked it out of the pile of other 'projects' it was lodged in, spilling things to the floor.
"That won't work." Sam said gently. "They're modified, remember?"
"What are you doing, Jack?" Daniel asked, worry for his friend bleeding into his voice.
"Hook it up." Jack ordered Sam.
"Just do it, Carter. Please."
Sam nodded and hooked the disruptor up to her laptop.
Jack switched the computer on and began to type furiously. Sam and Daniel stared at him.
"You know they're going to come straight for you guys." Daniel pointed out to Sam.
"I know." Sam said, not taking her eyes from her computer screen.
Daniel regarded her for a long moment. Then he shrugged slightly and asked, "What's he doing?"
Sam shook her head. "I'm not sure. It looks like he's recalibrating the weapon."
"Uh… okay. How?" Daniel asked.
"I don't know." Sam replied, staring at the screen.
Daniel was silent for a moment. Then it hit him. "Of course!"
Sam jumped, turning to glare at Daniel. Jack didn't seem to hear.
"Sorry." Daniel said in a quieter voice. "But… she tried to access the Ancient's download, right?" Sam nodded, unsure where Daniel was going with this. "She said she couldn't, not really. What if Jack was stopping her?"
Sam considered this. "I guess it's possible, if highly improbable." She conceded. "That's it?"
"No." Daniel's eyes gleamed with the thrill of discovery. In some ways he hadn't changed since Sam had met him. "What if she opened the door, but didn't go in?"
He paused while Sam thought this through. "Why would she do that?"
"I don't know. Who cares?"
"You think he was able to access the knowledge that would help him modify the disruptor?" Daniel nodded. "It's a bit of a jump, Daniel."
"How else can you explain… this?" Daniel asked, gesturing in Jack's direction.
"Good point." Sam said, sucking in a breath.
At that moment Jack slammed the laptop shut and unhooked the disruptor. "Let's go." He said.
"Where?" Daniel asked, already fearing the answer.
"Find them." Jack said, still talking in monosyllables.
"Jack." Sam said softly.
He stopped as he reached the door. "Carter?"
'Ouch' Sam thought, but continued, regardless. "Maybe you should wait here."
"No. Have to find them."
He unlocked and opened the lab door and exited, followed by Sam and Daniel.
While Daniel and Sam moved stealthily along the corridors, Jack strode purposefully.
"He's gonna get us all killed if that thing doesn't work." Daniel muttered to Sam under his breath.
Sam nodded. Both of them were scanning the area, trying to keep an eye on Jack at the same time as surveying their surroundings, which, so far, had been entirely devoid of replicators.
Jack reached stairs leading down to the control room and headed down. Sam and Daniel hurried to catch up.
The replicators were in there.
"Jack." RepliCarter greeted. "You came back."
Jack's replicator double was sizing his counterpart up. "What are you planning on doing with that?" He indicated the disruptor. "It won't work on us, flyboy."
Sam and Daniel moved into position beside Jack.
"I modified it." Jack said, smiling grimly at the replicators. "Couldn't have done it without ya." He told RepliCarter. His voice sounded stronger, and he was standing straighter.
"What are you talking about?" She asked contemptuously.
"While you were in my head." Jack went on. "I found what I needed. And I kept you out."
"You couldn't have." RepliCarter sounded shocked. "It's impossible."
"Its not. I did it. And now…" He hefted the weapon, aiming it at the replicators.
"Don't." RepliCarter ordered.
Jack raised an eyebrow, looked from Sam to Daniel and shrugged.
"It will never be the same, y'know." Jack's doppelganger said. "Between you two." He indicated Sam and Jack. "You'll never get back what you had, as pitiful as that was." The replicator smiled mockingly.
"Fuck you." Jack said, firing the weapon.
Sam saw RepliCarter clutch at her Jack's hand as the replicators disintegrated, the small gesture making her wonder.
Jack stumbled, and would have fallen to the floor had Daniel not caught him in time.
Daniel helped his friend to Walter's chair, being careful to step over the remains of the replicators.
"Carter," Jack said, his voice was quiet, weary. "Order a search of the base. Make sure they didn't do anything."
Sam nodded and clicked her radio.
While Sam gave the orders Daniel studied Jack. His friend was leaning on the desk, his head in his hands.
"Are you gonna be okay?"
"Just tired." Jack said.
Daniel kept watching him, thinking, 'Five days. She had him for five days.'
Sam finished on the radio and walked over to join Jack and Daniel.
As she reached them the gate began to spin. "Incoming wormhole." Sam said, looking down at the console.
"Iris." Jack muttered.
Sam pressed her hand to the palm recognition pad that activated the iris.
There was the familiar sound of metal on metal as the iris closed.
"We're receiving an IDC, sir." She told Jack.
When he didn't reply Daniel asked. "Who is it?"
"Teal'c." Sam said.
"How do you know?" Daniel asked. "Could be a replicator trick. They were in here."
"Open it." Jack said, still not looking up.
"What if-" Daniel began.
"Just… open it." Jack ordered weakly.
A few moments after the iris slid open a figure stepped through the event horizon. It was indeed Teal'c.
He looked up at the control room, puzzled that only his friends were up there, and that the gateroom was completely devoid of the personnel that usually stood on guard there.
Knowing that only his friends could explain what had happened, Teal'c headed up to the control room.
Upon entering his gaze immediately snapped to Jack. "O'Neill? What has happened?" The big Jaffa knelt next to his friend, speaking softly.
"Tired, Teal'c." Jack sounded weaker with every passing moment.
"You were fine when I left only this morning." Teal'c observed.
Puzzled, Teal'c looked to his team mates.
As Sam was about to answer Jack slumped sideways, landing on the floor, unconscious.
"Jack!" Sam rushed to his side, taking his pulse.
It was erratic.
Teal'c stepped forwards and picked up his unconscious friend. "I will take O'Neill to the infirmary."
"Yeah, we'll fill you in on the way." Daniel said.
When some semblance of normality returned to the SGC some four hours later, SG-1 hardly noticed.
Jack was still unconscious in the infirmary, though Dr Brightman said there was nothing physically wrong with him besides exhaustion and the fact that he hadn't eaten for some time.
SG-1 were sitting around his infirmary bed, no amount of pleading on Dr Brightman's part being able to separate them from their friend.
'Janet would have threatened us.' Sam had thought as the younger woman walked away, shaking her head.
"We just left him." She said, breaking the silence of the past two hours or so.
"We didn't know." Daniel said.
"How could we not realise?" Sam asked.
"He was Jack." Daniel said. "A little off maybe… but that's Jack."
Sam nodded, still guilt-ridden.
"I began to suspect all was not well when O'Neill insisted I visit Ishta this morning." Teal'c said. "He was most unlike himself. That is why I returned early."
"He was off with me too. Didn't laugh at me for being hung-over or anything." Daniel said.
"I should have realised." Sam said, not wanting to detail the ways that the replicator had been different to the man lying in front of them.
"Tryin' to sleep here." Jack's voice was rough.
"O'Neill, it is good to see you conscious again." Teal'c said, as Sam handed Jack a glass of water with a straw in it.
He sipped it gratefully.
"Thanks, Carter." He looked around. "Why are you all here? You got nothing better to do?"
Sam smiled. "No, sir."
"How long have I been out?" Jack asked.
"About four hours." Daniel supplied. "You want me to get the doctor?"
"Nope. I want you to get me my clothes."
"Jack…" Daniel said.
"Daniel, I'm not staying here. I want to go home. And I'm not goin' anywhere dressed like this." He said, plucking at the infirmary scrub pyjamas the nurses had put him in.
"O'Neill, I do not believe it would be wise for you to depart so soon." Teal'c intoned.
Jack summoned a glare for his friend.
"I agree with Teal'c, sir." Dr Brightman said, walking up to the infirmary bed.
"Listening in, Doctor?" Jack asked.
The woman smiled. "You should at least stay over night, sir."
"No way. Doc just let me go home, I'll be good, I promise." He pleaded, fixing the woman with a forlorn look.
The doctor caved under the intensity of Jack's gaze.
Momentarily, Sam wondered if he knew he could probably get away with anything just by looking at someone like that.
"Okay, General." Dr Brightman said, "You can go home, as long as someone drives you there. And I want you back here tomorrow for a check up. Understood?"
"Yes ma'am!" Jack said, smiling for the first time since he had woken up.
"Who's going to drive you home?" Dr Brightman asked.
Jack looked around at his friends.
"I have some… uh… artefacts I have to… catalogue." Daniel said, obviously lying. Sam looked at him, her eyes narrowing.
Teal'c smiled at Jack and said, "I believe ColonelCarter is free."
Daniel laughed but managed to turn it into something resembling a cough.
Jack and Sam stared at Teal'c for a moment before Jack turned to Sam and asked, "Carter?"
She smiled. "I'll take you home, sir."
Jack gave Dr Brightman a triumphant look. "See? Now can I have the clothes your staff stole? I'll take anything other than this rather fetching ensemble I've got on."
Sam pulled up outside Jack's house. She looked over at him nervously. He hadn't said a word since they'd been alone in the car.
"You okay, Carter?" He asked, finally breaking his silence.
She gave a short, derisive laugh. "No." She answered honestly.
"You wanna come in?" He asked.
"You sure you want me to?" She asked.
He turned to look at her. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"C'mon, Jack. You've hardly said a word to me." Sam said.
"And why do you think that is?" He asked harshly.
"Because of what happened…" Sam let her voice trail off, unwilling to talk about exactly what had happened. She still felt physically sickened by it.
Suddenly Jack's demeanour changed. "How could you not know it wasn't me?" He asked, anger darkening his voice.
"I…" Sam paused. "I did know… kind of." She winced when she heard how that sounded.
"Oh so you just thought you'd screw him – it – anyway? Perfectly understandable Carter!" Jack climbed out of Sam's car and stalked towards the house.
Sam was angry now. She got out of the car, slamming the door and followed him into the house.
"You son of a bitch!" She yelled at him, following him into the kitchen. "How the hell was I supposed to know? He looked like you, he talked like you, he sure as hell acted like you. Cocky, selfish, insensitive bastard that you are!"
Jack turned to face her, standing in front of the kitchen table, his arms folded across his chest. She could see how exhausted he was, but didn't care.
He glared at her. A glare that sent seasoned Airmen running for cover.
The officer part of Sam shrunk back from the glare, ready to apologise for insubordination.
The part of Sam that knew him, that had known him for nine years, however, returned the glare full-force.
"Get lost, Carter." Jack said, walking further into the kitchen, realising she hadn't been intimidated by the glare.
"Get lost, Carter?'" Sam repeated. "You bastard." She hissed, following him into the kitchen, effectively trapping him.
Jack didn't say anything, just continued to glare at her.
"I guess you were right." Sam said, watching him. His face didn't give anything away, but there was a flicker of confusion in his eyes.
"About what?" He asked, not even attempting to hide his anger.
"We can't do this." Sam said. "More accurately, you can't."
Jack stared at her, finally realising what she was talking about. "I can't?"
"No, Jack. You can't." Sam said tiredly. She sighed. "I'm going." She turned to leave the kitchen.
With reflexes born of special ops training Jack's hand was on her arm, gripping it tightly.
"Let go." Sam said over her shoulder, trying to yank her arm out of his grip.
"Let go, Jack."
He pulled on her arm, turning her towards him, drawing her body to his.
His other hand came up and grabbed the back of her head, bringing her face up to meet his.
He kissed her roughly, not letting go of her arm.
Sam's mind screamed at her to stop him, to push him away. But she couldn't.
And he knew it.
This was him, and she'd missed him. She'd miss him even more if he stopped kissing her.
Which he promptly did.
Sam moaned and grabbed the back of his head, drawing him towards her.
He kissed her again, letting go of her arm to pick her up. He spun, still holding her, and sat her on one of the kitchen counters.
Her quick fingers were already working on the buttons of his shirt, revealing the t-shirt he wore underneath.
She slid her hands up the back of his t-shirt and raked her nails down his back, making him hiss. His hands moved to her top, yanking it over her head, mussing up her hair in the process.
This wasn't about just love. This wasn't about just missing someone.
This was about possession. For both of them.
Sam wasn't sure how many minutes it took for her to come back to herself. She was still propped against the kitchen counter, her legs wound around Jack, his arms around her, supporting her. Her head rested on his shoulder.
She could feel her face was wet, she had really been crying.
"You okay?" Jack's voice was quiet, and hoarse, as though he'd been shouting.
She didn't reply, pushing herself back from him so that she could look at his face.
There was devastation lurking in his eyes, as well as acceptance of whatever she had to say.
"Are you okay?" She asked.
He looked at her for a moment before replying. "My knees hurt like hell. Don't even get me started on the back…"
"I'm not joking!" He protested.
Sam pretended to be serious for a moment, failed, and laughed again. It felt good.
Jack sent her a mock-glare.
Sam sobered up slightly, "Are we okay?" She asked, looking up at him, slightly nervous.
One side of his mouth quirked upwards in a half-smile. "I'mokay with us. You?"
"Good." He said, backing away from her slightly so that she could slip to the floor. He handed her some kitchen towel to clean herself up.
When she had finished he took her hand and led her to his bedroom, leaving their clothes in the kitchen, too tired to bother with them.
They crawled under the covers, Jack putting his arm around Sam, she bringing her head to rest on his chest.
"God we're fucked up." Jack observed.
Sam smiled. "Yeah."
"Imagine being normal." Jack said, mock-distaste in his tone.
Sam giggled. "Yeah." She paused. "I'm sorry."
He was silent for a while. Sam practically held her breath waiting for him to respond.
"Why?" He asked.
"I thought he was-"
"Not that." He said, cutting her off. "Why are you sorry?"
"You know why. Because of what happened."
"Well if you insist on talking about this there's one thing I wanna know."
"In the car you said you knew." He reminded her.
She nodded against his chest.
"What did you mean?"
"You really wanna know what really tipped me off that there was something wrong?" She asked.
"Yeah." Jack sounded like he was steeling himself.
Sam took a deep breath "He didn't smell right."
There was stunned silence above her. Then: "He didn't… are you kidding?" He sounded amused. That was good. It meant they could joke about what had happened in order to avoid having one of those serious talks.
This way, they could each find out what had happened to the other and laugh about it, getting over it at the same time as discovering it.
"Nope. He didn't smell right."
Jack pretended to be hurt, "You're saying I smell? Gee, thanks, Samantha."
She giggled. "You don't smell bad." She assured him.
"Huh!" He snorted, indignant. He yawned.
"Go to sleep, Jack."
"'k." He replied, almost asleep anyway.
Sam waited until his breathing evened out, signalling that he was very close to being asleep. Then said, "And he was absolutely terrible in bed."
Jack laughed at that. "I can't believe you said that." He murmured sleepily.
Sam reached up her arm and began to run her fingers through his hair.
"Not as good as me?" He asked. Sam shook her head. "How is that even possible?"
"He wasn't you." Sam said, repeating what he had told her about RepliCarter on more than one occasion.
"Good. He sucked." Jack said; sleep depriving him of his vocabulary and grammar skills for the moment.
Sam laughed again. "G'night, Jack."
He didn't reply, just leant down and kissed the top of her head, breathing in the scent of her hair.
"She didn't smell right either." He told her, finally falling asleep.
Sam smiled in the darkness.
They would be fine. Better than fine. They would be them.
Then she settled down to sleep.
Unbidden, the image of clasped hands that looked so much like their own came to her mind. A desperate look exchanged between eyes that were familiar.
Not them, but close.