So here it is…the final chapter. I hope you all enjoy it. A very big thank you to everyone of you who reviewed and to everyone who read this. I am honoured.
A couple of you have mentioned part of the story's similarity to a certain film, which I must admit I saw back in 1980? when I was still in my youth and had since forgotten, but as I said it must have made a big impact on me. For those of you who wonder what the heck I'm talking about the movie is called...'The Final Countdown' staring Kirk Douglas. I checked it out again the other day and now see where they're coming from. Hope you all enjoyed it anyway.
Italics...indicate the internal conversation between the host and his Tok'ra symbiote.
Jack O'Neill, the scourge of the SGC was back.
When Sam, Daniel and Teal'c entered the briefing room, they found SG-8 seated at the table with General Hammond.
"Sir?" Sam asked, looking puzzled. Hope rose in her breast, but the sombre look on Hammond's face squashed it before it had taken root.
"Please be seated SG-1. I have some startling news for you," Hammond began.
They sat down at the other end of the table next to SG-8.
"General? What's this...?" Daniel began, but Hammond held a hand up to stop the flood of questions about to erupt from the Archaeologist.
"There's good news and there's bad news," he started.
Sam's heart dropped into her boots. She knew that they must have found Jack, but it sounded like they were too late. She held her breath, waiting on tenterhooks for the General to spit it out.
"The good news is...that SG-8 has located Colonel O'Neill," he said pausing for it to sink in. "The bad news is that he was injured and we don't know why Kanan hasn't yet been able to heal him."
Both Sam and Daniel's features had turned from open joy to cloudy concern in a heartbeat.
"What happened to him? I mean we thought he'd died when the wormhole collapsed?" Daniel spoke, breaking the tense atmosphere that had settled over the gathering. He was trying to sound as if he was shocked at the news that Jack was had been found, even though he knew it was supposed to happen. The news about his being injured meant that something had obviously gone wrong and worse still, that something had happened to the Tok'ra symbiote. How would Jack fair now? He wondered.
"We don't know yet Dr. Jackson. He's still unconscious at the moment, and Dr. Frasier is busy trying to find out why,"
"Sir. Permission to..." Sam begged, already on her feet in expectation.
Sam was out of the door in a flash, Daniel hot on her heels. Teal'c hurried as much as his decorum allowed.
General Hammond gave a sad smile at their haste, and then turned to see the grinning faces of SG-8. He brought the debriefing to order again, though his mind was elsewhere.
Sam sat and chewed her knuckles and Daniel paced the hallway. Teal'c maintained an outward calm, though he found the tension emanating from his Tau'ri friends almost unbearable. He held his peace though, because he knew from experience that each member of his team relieved their frustration by these methods.
It had seemed an age before Janet poked her head round the door.
"How is he?"
"Can we see him?"
Janet laughed at their clamour. She knew they would be over the moon to get Jack back. Who wouldn't be?
"Okay, okay!" she cried, trying to think straight. He's awake, and in some discomfort, but he'll be fine. Kanan was knocked out too when the Colonel hit his head from the fall..."
"Fall? What fall?"
"I guess that means you didn't wait to be told all the facts, right?"
"Apparently he tumbled through a different Stargate than this one and fell over a cliff, where he received several injuries. A blow to the head knocked them both out. But not before he realised he had broken a couple of ribs and dislocated his shoulder. Without Kanan's help his shoulder did sustain some ligament damage, but he's fixing that as we talk. The ribs are okay now as is the head injury. He has an old wound that Kanan had obviously heeled before at some stage, but his blood pressure is low, and it needs to be monitored which means he needs a lot of rest, but I guess I can let you in for a few minutes."
Sam hugged her friend on the way past but her thoughts were all centred on Jack.
Jack looked up when the door opened to admit his team. He beamed at them as they approached his bed.
"Hi kids. I'm back!"
"Yes sir. It's good to have you back sir." Sam grinned, and Jack read the unspoken welcome in her eyes.
"Yeah, welcome back Jack!" Daniel said a little overawed. He really thought he had lost his friend a few weeks ago, and now here he was almost whole again.
"It is indeed good to see you again O'Neill," Teal'c rumbled in his deep voice.
"It's great to be back guys. You have no idea how good this is! I could even kiss Frasier!"
"I heard that Colonel. It must have been bad then for you to feel that way inclined," Janet laughed. "I think I should check on your temperature while I'm here, maybe you have a temperature?"
"I'm fine Doc, and you sure are a sight for sore eyes, ya know?"
"It's only been a few weeks Colonel," she replied dryly.
"Feels like all of 40 years to me Doc!"
Janet laughed again as she dropped his wrist back onto the bed.
"How's Kanan doing?" she asked.
Jack dropped his head and allowed Kanan to answer for himself.
"I am recovered fully Doc. Jack's shoulder is healing nicely now, everything else is fine.
"That's great Kanan. Keep up the good work!"
"I will try to Doc, but Jack is making me work overtime."
"I know the feeling well!" Janet quipped, making Sam and Daniel laugh.
Kanan relinquished control back to Jack again who frowned at their mirth.
"He's no picnic either!" he grumbled.
"Well, no matter whether you're healed or not. I suggest you get some rest Colonel. Your temperature is still a little high. And yes, I know Kanan will get round to it in a while, but I will be a lot happier if you rest while he works on the problem. I could of course give you a sedative...now where's that extra large hypodermic I had earlier? It's got your name written all over it," she muttered.
Jack looked horrified for a moment, and then dared her to try it.
Janet got that gleam in her eye, but before she could manoeuvre away from him, he had grabbed her and kissed her.
Janet shrieked in alarm at first, but calmed down after he'd released her and she blushed to her roots when two of her nurses walked passed giggling having witnessed her unbecoming behaviour, or rather the Colonel's.
"Colonel!" she gasped. "Behave!"
"I did warn you!" he said grinning.
Sam and Daniel were in hysterics by now and leaning on each other for support. Even Teal'c's lips quivered in amusement.
Janet shot him a frown of disapproval but he merely grinned again.
"It's just so good to be back Doc, even in here."
Sam found Jack in the commissary early in the morning, eating breakfast like there was nothing that tasted better.
"Hi!" she said as she pulled out the chair opposite and sat down.
He beamed at her and as there was no-one around his hand wandered across the table to settle lightly on hers, not that he cared any more.
"Ready to get back to work?"
Sam felt awkward. How could she ask if things would still be the same between them after he'd lived for so long without her?
"Soooo..." she began, though she didn't have a clue how to continue.
"So!" he said. "Sam..." How could he say that he missed her so much it hurt? How could she love him still? For cryin' out loud, he was 40 years older than when they had decided to be an item together.
"Jack...I... I missed you so much."
He smiled lovingly at her then, his eyes misting up with emotion. He dropped his spoon into the half-finished bowl of cereal and took both of her hands in his.
"I can't even begin to tell you how much the memory of you kept me from... Well, I couldn't live without you Sam. If it hadn't been for Kanan..." He shrugged, unable to put voice to his darkest thoughts.
"That's all gone now Jack. You're back and that's all that matters. I don't care how old you are, you still look the same. You're still the same person. I still love you!" she whispered.
Jack beamed, and squeezed her fingers.
"Are you finished?" she asked, indicating his breakfast going soggy in the bowl.
"Yeah, I'm full anyway, he said pushing it away."
She looked at the bowl of wasted fruit loops and up at Jack's face with puzzlement.
Jack shrugged guiltily.
"That was my second bowl anyway," he admitted. "Mr. Ryan always had a cooked breakfast," he explained. "I missed these, but I forgot how filling they were."
She giggled and pulled him towards the door.
"There's someone who'd like to see you."
They walked down the corridor as if nothing had happened, just as they had nearly everyday before. Jack was accosted at nearly every step he took by shocked personnel who hadn't heard of his return, but apart from that they eventually made it to Jack's office.
A man was bending over the desk with his back to the door when they entered.
"Colonel, General Hammond has authorised you to have your very own personal aide," Sam announced.
The man turned round and gasped.
"Adam!" Jack breathed softly.
"Mr. Ry... I mean Colonel O'Neill..."
"No!" Jack snapped, cutting Adam off with a raised hand.
Sam thought for one minute that Jack was mad that Adam was here.
"Not Colonel O'Neill. Not to you Adam. Just Jack will do fine."
Jack stepped up to the shaken man and embraced him.
At first, Adam was stiff and tentative, but as Jack's genuine pleasure at seeing him and his warmth seeped into him, he relaxed and greeted his former benefactor with an enthusiastic hug, and with tears smarting behind his eyes.
"Do I get a greeting like that too?" a deep voice said from the doorway.
Jack released Adam who was grinning wide enough to split his face in two, though he also had to wipe away his few tears too. The Colonel spun round to come face to face with Teddy, his old friend.
"You're here, both of you?" Jack was so pleased he hugged Teddy Miller then clapped him on the shoulder afterwards. "I can't believe this!"
"We're real, I assure you. Are you?"
"Oh yeah! Though I think I'm gonna wake up in the infirmary any minute to find it has all been one wacky, wacky delirious dream."
"It's no dream sir. This is real."
Sam stepped up to him, threw her arms around his neck and kissed him. He responded with enthusiasm.
"Yeah, this sure feels real!" he muttered before capturing her lips again.
"I think this is where we leave them to carry on Adam," the Doctor stated with a smile, then ushered the younger man out into the corridor. He took one last look, shaking his head, and then shut the door behind him. He'd never seen the man so happy before, and knew that this was the right thing to do. Now his friend could live again.
"If this is real, then I must be in heaven," Jack whispered in Sam's ear, when they were alone.
"If you're in heaven then I must be there too. After that mission, I never..." his finger on her lips stopped her words.
"Shhh! Did anyone ever tell you, you think waaaay too much Carter?"
"Yes sir, you did..." she paused. "A life time ago!"
"Oh no! That's what we have to look forward to now Sam. A life time together."
Jack pulled her closer and she melted into his arms, then their lips met again.
"And about time too!" Kanan cheered. "Can I tell Daniel now?"
A new story is all ready to roll. One I am in the middle of writing and is purely a fluffy one with tons of Sam and Jack; and with the odd H/C thrown in for good measure of course or my name's not Lingren. (It is – or was - honest)