Title: At What Cost?

Chapter: 1 of ?

Email: How much does it cost to keep saving the world?

Category: Action/Adventure/Romance

Rating: Teen

Pairing: S/J

Season: 7

Spoilers: After Fallen, before any of the major changes inflicted by Chimera and Heroes.

Content Warnings: None

Archive: My Site: Yes

SamandJack: Yes

Anywhere else: Yes

Disclaimer: Not mine.

Author's Note: I know the whole 'kids through the Stargate' thing has been done a thousand times, but this just popped into my head and I couldn't resist.

"Unauthorised off world activation! Unauthorised off world activation!"

General Hammond entered the control room at a pace that was slightly too fast for his frame. "What's going on, Sergeant? Close the iris!"

"I can't sir!" Harriman replied, sounding slightly panicked. He leaned forwards and spoke into the mic. "Manual iris control!"

As one of the gateroom SFs ran for the manual iris control, SG-1 entered the control room.

"Sir?" O'Neill asked, looking at Hammond.

"I don't know, Colonel." Hammond said, staring down at the gateroom.

Suddenly the lights blinked once and went out.

"Power's down!" Harriman informed them.

Carter sat down in a seat at the control console, illuminated only by the incoming wormhole.

"Asgaard?" Daniel asked.

Jack shrugged.

"Manual iris control isn't functioning, sir!" The SF yelled up towards the control room, his voice distorted by the glass.

Without speaking, Jack and Teal'c headed down the stairs and into the gateroom.

Taking weapons from two of the SF's on guard outside, they stepped into line with the armed men who were all aiming at the Stargate.

Suddenly, the event horizon rippled.

Two figures stepped through.

Two very… odd figures.

One was a small human girl of about seven years old. She was holding the hand of a boy of about ten.

The girl had long, curly hair, either very light brown or dark blonde in colour, and dark brown eyes.

The boy had messy brown hair and deep blue eyes.

The Stargate shut down and the lights came back on.

"Full power restored, sir." Carter told the General, who was staring out the observation window at the two children.

The little girl looked scared. Her gaze wandered over the assembled military personnel, finishing on Jack.

"Daddy!" She squealed letting go of the boy's hand and starting down the ramp.

The gateroom SF's raised their weapons.

"Stand down!" The boy yelled before either Jack or General Hammond could speak. He spoke with such authority that he was obeyed before the airman had time to think.

Before they could collect themselves, the boy stepped forwards and picked the girl up from where she had stopped at the SF's movement.

She was crying.

"Shh. S'okay, Gracie. Ignore the bad men." The boy said softly, stroking the girl's hair.

"I don't want you, Jake. I want daddy." The girl told him sulkily.

The boy rolled his eyes.

Jack was still staring at the children as General Hammond entered the gateroom, followed by Daniel and Carter.

"Mom-" The girl yelled, before the boy clamped his hand over her mouth.

"Not now, Gracie." He said quietly.

"What the hell's going on?" Jack asked, staring at the children.

"Finally recovered that equilibrium, dad?" The boy asked sarcastically. "You wanna tell them to stop pointing those weapons at a couple of kids?"

"Stand down." Jack said absently.

"Colonel O'Neill?" General Hammond asked. "Are you sure about this?"

"No, sir. Carter, you wanna check 'em?"

"Colonel!" Hammond snapped.

"C'mon, dad, tow the line." The boy muttered.

"With your permission, General?" Jack said, ignoring the kid.

Reluctantly, General Hammond nodded.

Sam moved towards the kids. "I have to check you," she began.

"We know the drill, mom." The boy said quietly, so that only Sam could hear.

Her eyes widened.

"Jake!" The little girl whined. "Let me down!"

He loosened his hold on her and she slid the short distance to the ground.

Sam barely had time to register the fact that the girl had moved before she found the girl in her arms.

"Major!" Hammond snapped.

"Yessir." She said, gently pushing the little girl back slightly. "What's your name, sweetie?" She asked.

The little girl looked like she was about to cry and looked up at her brother. "Jake?"

"S'okay, Gracie. We talked about this, remember?"

"Gracie?" Sam said. "Is your name Grace?" She asked, looking at the little girl.

"Mm hmm." The girl said, sticking her thumb in her mouth.

"I have to check you, Grace, is that okay?"

The girl nodded and began to twist tiny fingers in her long curls.

Sam frisked the girl as gently as she could, finding nothing.

"Your turn… Jake, is it?" Sam asked.

The boy nodded, suddenly quiet.

She repeated her search and again found nothing.

She stood and brushed her pants off. "Nothing, sir." She told Hammond, who nodded.

"Happy now?" Jake said, looking at Jack.

Jack shrugged and turned to General Hammond, "Briefing room, sir?"

When they were all assembled in the briefing room General Hammond asked the question on everybody's mind.

"Who are you children?"

"You mean you can't guess, sir?" Jake said.

"Watch your mouth, kid." Jack warned.

Jake glared at him. "Why should I?"

Grace poked her brother in the arm. "Don't talk to daddy like that, Jake."

"Jack is your father?" Daniel asked.

"Yes." Jake said.

"I am not." Jack said.

"No, you're not. The other you is." Jake said.

"What?" Jack asked.

"Alternate reality." Sam said quietly.

Jake nodded.

"Did we not destroy the quantum mirror, GeneralHammond?" Teal'c asked.

Before Hammond could answer Jake said, "Teal'c, you're smarter than that."

"There was more than one mirror." Teal'c said.

"Got it in one." Jake said.

"So… what happened?" Jack asked.

Jake's features changed suddenly. He sent Jack a dark look. "What happened? You couldn't save them, that's what happened." He growled.

"Jake…" Grace said, tugging at her brother's sleeve. He ignored her.

"Couldn't save who?" Jack asked.

"Anyone! Uncle Daniel, Uncle Teal'c, George!"

"Stop it!" Grace yelled. "Stop shouting at daddy, Jacob!" She slid off her chair and marched around the table to crawl into Jack's lap. "Its not daddy's fault. He saved the world! He saved us!"

"He couldn't save himself though, could he, Gracie. He couldn't save mom." Jake switched his gaze to Sam. "We saw you die." He said.

"Mommy, tell him to stop." Gracie pleaded with Sam.

"She isn't our mommy, Grace." Jake said.

"Mommy?" Daniel repeated.

"Oh come on, Daniel. I know you're smarter than this. He's already worked it out." He said, sending a glare in Jack's direction.

Daniel looked at his friend. "Jack?"

Jack shrugged. "Look at them, Daniel."

"How did you switch the power off?" Sam asked.

Gracie held up a hand. "Easy." She said. Around her wrist was a grey bracelet. "Thor gave it to me. To protect me."

"That's why you saved us." Jake said, his gaze flicking between Jack and Sam. "Gracie. She's special."

Grace nodded happily. She began to play with Jack's dogtags where they rested on his t-shirt.

"What did they save you from?" General Hammond asked.

"Maybe you should see for yourselves." Jake said. He dug into a pocket and pulled out a cassette tape, the type Daniel used in his video camera.

"Uncle Daniel dropped it in the gateroom when he…" The boy broke off and looked at Daniel. "He dropped it." He said. "Anyway, it must have hit record somehow, 'cause there's stuff on this." He slid the tape across the table to Daniel who got up and inserted it in the machine.

"Um… I don't think Gracie should see this again." Jake said.

The little girl shook her head.

Jack looked down at her. "You don't want to?" He asked.

"No." She said in a small voice.

"How about you go into George's office and play with the toy planes?" Jack asked gently.

She nodded.

Jack stood and carried the girl into the General's office, depositing her in the large leather chair. "There ya go, Gracie."

"Come get me when it's finished." She said.

He nodded and exited the office, closing the door.

"Are you sure you want to watch this?" Sam asked Jake.

He nodded.

"Hit it, Daniel." Jack said, turning out the lights and retaking his seat.

Daniel pressed play.

The first image was of the ramp in the gate room. Apparently the camera had fallen on its side, as the image was out by ninety degrees.

The gateroom was a mess, debris littered the ramp. In the distance, gunfire could be heard.

The Stargate began to dial.

Suddenly there was the sound of running feet.

Three pairs of feet came into view, one pair was small and the other two were adult, wearing combat boots.

"They're coming." Jack's voice. "That door won't hold 'em for long."

"Come on. Come on. Dial!" Sam could be heard talking to the gate.

Another klaxon began to sound, almost blocking the noise of the dialling gate.

"Dad?" Jake's voice, scared. "What's that noise?"

"I don't believe you!" Sam. Angry.

"Mom?" Jake again.

"Jake, take your sister and go wait over there." Sam said.

Another pair of feet appeared, tiny feet, Gracie's feet. The two smaller pairs began to walk away.

The smaller of the two adult pairs of feet stepped closer to the larger.

"I don't wanna hear it." Jack said.

"You set the self-destruct," Sam said, her tone accusatory.

"The mountain is the last place with any of them left. If it blows, they're all dead." Jack reasoned. His voice sounded strained.


"What about Teal'c and Daniel? They're not here, Jack."

"They're dead." Jack said.

Sam was silent a moment. "Why didn't you tell me?"

"When could I have told you? We've been running since they got here."

"You still should have told me, Jack."

"I know. I'm sorry. Look, if I hadn't set the self-destruct, they could have just followed you through." Jack's voice was softer.

"What do you mean followed us through?" Sam asked. "What about you?"

Jack was silent.

"You're not coming." Sam said. "And you weren't going to tell me. You were just going to let me walk through that gate with our kids and you weren't going to come." Her voice sounded dull with horror.

"I won't survive this anyway. Its better this way, I can try to hold 'em off." Jack sounded tired. "Please, Sam. You have to understand this."

"How am I supposed to explain that to them?" She asked, just as the seventh chevron engaged.

"I don't know." He admitted.

"What about me?" Sam asked. "I'm not going to survive this either. I've lost too much blood, Jack."

"The mirror." He said. In the background the machine gun chatter was suddenly silenced. "Get them to that quantum mirror thing we found. Send them somewhere. You go too. They can save you."

Sam appeared to be hesitating.

"Go, Sam. Please."

There was a loud crash.

"That's the outer door." Jack said.

"I can't." Sam said quietly.

"What?"

"I can't leave you here." She said.

"Of course you can." Jack snapped.

"No, I can't."

"Carter, if you don't get your ass through that gate right now your kids're gonna die here!" He snapped.

"We can fight them off." She said weakly.

"Oh yeah! And on the off chance that we do, the NID are gonna come for your daughter. For Gracie, Carter. They'll take her and they'll-"

"Jack!"

"Then get through the gate!" He yelled over the sound of the gateroom door being crashed into.

"Go!"

Sam feet hesitated a second more before turning and heading up the ramp.

Jack stepped closer to the camera. The image blurred as he picked it up. "Sam!" Jack called.

She turned.

"Catch." The camera sailed through the air and jolted suddenly as it was caught.

The lens was covered by the green of Sam's BDUs.

"You might need proof. Warn them, Sam." Jack said.

Suddenly there was the sound of a large staff weapon being fired.

"Jack!" Sam screamed.

"Daddy!" Gracie's voice came from somewhere behind Sam.

"Mom! Mom, we have to go! Please, mom!" Jake's voice, urging his mother towards the gate.

The picture went black.

The briefing room was silent.

Jack looked up and caught Sam looking at him. They held one another's gaze a moment.

Then Jack spoke to Jake. "What happened to your mom?"

"She got us to the planet where the mirror was. She even managed to program it before she died. She didn't tell us. The whole time she knew and she didn't say anything."

"What did he mean, 'warn them'?" General Hammond asked quietly.

"He's coming." Jake said.

"Whom do you speak of, Jacob?" Teal'c asked.

"Anubis." Gracie said from the doorway to the General's office. "Anubis is coming."