Well, here it is. The very last chapter of this story. I hope you've all enjoyed it. Sorry, but due to the restrictions involved in writing for the Zine, this isn't a very fluffy ending. :-( It's there in between the lines, but unresolved.
UNITED WE STAND
Janet watched her for a few moments and knew Sam was probably right. The Colonel always seemed to bounce back again, maybe he was just dreaming, she didn't know, but for her friend's sake she hoped he would return to them whole again. Turning away from the sight, she walked back to her office, deep in thought.
"Hey!" Sam greeted Jack when she noticed his eyes had opened once more.
It took a little while for him to gather his thoughts, but he turned at her voice and smiled.
"You need some water or something?" she offered.
Sam poured a little into the glass and helped him to sip it. She could feel his body tremors, from the effort of propping himself up, through the glass as they held it between them.
"Soooo. How's things with SG-7?" he asked, flopping back onto his pillows.
"Sir? You don't remember?"
"Em...our conversation yesterday!" she replied, adding tentatively, "um...Yelling for Daniel?"
He scrunched up his face for a minute trying to recall an elusive memory.
"Oh! that! Forget it. I musta been dreaming. Wasn't quite myself," he said brushing it off, hoping she would drop the subject of Daniel.
"Not just about Daniel Sir. You obviously don't recall everything that was said, do you?"
"Well, I know I must have been dreaming, 'cos I'm pretty sure you mentioned something about being back on the team."
"That wasn't a dream Colonel."
"I am back on the team!"
"Yes Sir!" she grinned, at the surprised pleasure on his face.
"I couldn't do it! After what happened," she sighed unhappily, "You came so close to dying, I knew there was no way I could work without you beside me. General Hammond understood how I felt, so he let me rejoin SG-1. We're part of a team Sir. A great team, and I need to be a part of that. What's the use of a 2IC if they leave you behind? I would never have left you."
"And gotten yourself killed and/or captured too, most likely!" he muttered.
"It wouldn't have mattered. At least we would have been together. I would have died trying to get you home; instead, I was sitting here chewing my nails helplessly, wondering if you were still alive or not. That's not for me. My place is right by your side, and that's where I'll be from now on Colonel!"
"You'd give up your promotion prospects to stick with me?"
"I'd give up everything to be with you, you know that!"
"I guess I do now. Look, Sam, don't ruin your chances because of me. You deserve better."
"There isn't anything I want other than to be with you. I would give all this up today if you..."
"No! You can't do that Sam. You're needed here. I could retire. Hell with my knees, time's running out anyway."
"That's not gonna happen Jack! You're the best leader this base has. I would never allow you to give up this fight for me."
"Then I guess we both know where we stand," he sighed resignedly.
"Yes we do. We stand together, and keep fighting."
"At least I will when I can get my pants back," he quipped.
Sam snickered, and the tension that had built up over the conversation melted away. They both knew each other well enough to understand what they were doing, back to square one with their relationship, but together again with a much stronger link. Bound to each other with an invisible chain that was almost impossible to break.
"I'm really glad you're okay Jack. I was sooo worried about you."
"Yeah, and thanks for the rescue by the way. And I'm glad you're back on the team Sam."
Janet entered the room, and Sam looked up and smiled at her. The Doctor had been listening discreetly from outside, and on hearing them, knew that Jack was doing well. There was no reason to suspect he'd broken at all.
"Good morning Colonel!"
"Sooo, you're obviously feeling better today."
"Yeah I guess! Do I get to go home now?" he whined.
Janet chose to ignore his request.
"What can you remember of your time with Anat?"
"Not much really. I think I was pretty much out of for most of the time."
He certainly wasn't going to reveal that he saw Daniel again. Sam seemed to accept he was dreaming, but he did vaguely remember yelling for his friend. There was no way he could admit that without being thrown to the proverbial lion, namely MacKenzie, so he kept his experiences with the glowy Daniel hidden.
"Did she torture you?"
"What about the sarcophagus? Did she use it...?"
"Nope! She just left me to rot. Said something about waitin' for Ball to arrive before the usual round of fun began. Apparently I was to be a gift for him, and as he couldn't wait to get hold of me again, it's lucky you guys showed up when you did."
"Yes sir, it is. Thanks to Sam's insistence that the General couldn't leave you out there."
Jack looked up at Sam then, realisation of her part in his rescue becoming apparent.
"So you bugged the General?"
"Yes she did Colonel!" the General's voice rang out from the doorway. "Good to see you're getting better Jack!"
"Thank you Sir."
"So what's the verdict Dr. Frasier?" Hammond asked of his 2IC.
"I'd say the Colonel is going to be just fine Sir."
Several weeks later, Jack stood in the gate room, and smiled benevolently at his team. It had been a long haul, but he'd made it. Now he was back and raring to go, and once again they were all geared up ready to depart on another mission, hoping to find something that would eventually help them win the battle against the Goa'uld.
Teal'c was standing tall and proud, his staff weapon held upright, yet loosely in his hand, but more than ready for the fray. Jonas, his face open and eager to get going. And then there was Sam, ever loyal, ever willing to follow wherever he led them.
Justifiably proud of them all, he stepped up onto the metal ramp then turned to face them. Feeling he should say something prophetic, it being their first mission as a reunited team, so he raised his hand towards the open wormhole.
"I think this calls for something special, so, 'Once more into the breach, dear friends!'" He quoted, waving the extended hand nonchalantly. "You know... 'For United we stand, Divided we fall!' and all that!" he grinned, looking at their stupefied faces. "Let's go give em hell kids!" Then he disappeared into the shimmering flux, his team following close on his heels.
General Hammond watched, amused, from the control room, and smiled. Jack was back alright, and knew that with SG-1 restored to normal once more, nothing would keep them apart, and that eventually they would prevail.
There you are folks! I do hope you enjoyed the story. I would like to thank everyone for their kind reviews, without which all this wouldn't be worth my doing. My enjoyment of writing is doubled when I get feedback, so let me know what you thought about the story. Thank you so much.
Stay tuned because I have a brand new story for you. I say 'new' because so far I've only written two chapters, and the idea only came to me today! Oiy! It's gonna be another longish one too, like Junior, and I think and hope, just as intriguing.