With a sudden flash of light the tranquil atmosphere in Major Benjamin Archer's office was shattered. Archer looked up from the chart he was studying to find one Daniel Jackson standing before him.
"Ah… excuse me. I'm looking for Jack O'Neill. I thought he'd be here."
Archer was puzzled, to say the least, as he greeted his unexpected visitor, "How did you get in here?"
"Back door, actually. Jack, have you seen him?"
"Matter of fact, General O'Neill is here," Ben Archer replied, recovering quickly. "He went down the hall for a minute, should be back …now."
"See you've got a new patient Doc." Jack said, walking back into the room. "Daniel, long time no see. What are you doing here?"
"Looking for you."
"You don't say. Ben, this is my friend, Dr. Daniel Jackson. Doctor of Archeology, actually. Daniel, where are Sam and the kids?" he asked, his voice becoming more strident.
"That's what I need to see you about Jack. We need your help."
"Why don't I leave you two alone? I've got some charts to work on across the hall and then I'll be heading home. Jack, if you'd lock up for me I'd appreciate it," Ben volunteered.
"Sure thing. Thanks for everything."
"Call if you need me."
"Will do, Ben." Jack agreed as his former therapist left the office.
"Okay, Daniel, what's going on?"
"Things didn't exactly go as planned."
"When do they ever? Daniel, so help me… are they alright?"
"Yes Jack, they're fine. Oma promises Sam will be fine too."
"What the hell happened?" Jack screamed, starting to panic.
"It seems that one person can only channel one wave of telekinetic energy at a time. The Ancients didn't know that. Things went well when Sam absorbed energy from one of the twins but when she tried to manage both at the same time there was a problem."
"Oma says her neural pathways were overwhelmed by the energy. She lost consciousness. Oma thought I'd be able to help, but I'm not a genetic match – obviously. We think you should come."
"Well, let's get there Daniel. It's about time."
Taking in Jack's harried look, Daniel sought to reassure him as best he could, but his friend was having none of it. "So what do I have to do, click my heels together or something?"
"No Jack, I'll just let Oma know we're ready…"
With very little fanfare, Jack and Daniel found themselves just outside the compound where they were greeted by several of the Innocent. Sitting on the ground next to Elizabeth were the twins, who scrambled to their feet as soon as they saw their father, running towards him as fast as their little legs would carry them.
"Daddy, daddy!" they called in stereo.
Jack made his way to Grace and Jake, bending over and scooping up one in each arm. He was eternally grateful that although his knees ached with the movement, his upper body strength still allowed him to lift both of them easily.
"Hey, how are my very favorite twins?"
He was treated to the widest smiles the twins had shared in the past twenty-four hours. Initially, they'd been terribly frightened when "Mommy fell down". Fortunately everyone here had convinced them Mommy was just very tired and was going to sleep for awhile.
"Mommy sleep," Jake announced to his father.
"Well let's go see her. What do you say?"
With one twenty pound child tucked under each arm, Jack followed Daniel into the resting room that Sam shared with the children. He found his wife in bed, her face ghostly white. Orlin, who'd been sitting at Sam's bedside when Jack arrived, read the fear etched in Jack's eyes and attempted to reassure him, "Fear not, she will be fine."
Oma entered as Jack, barely acknowledging Orlin, lowered the children to the ground and into Daniel's care. In nearly the same movement, he was at the bedside, laying his hand on Sam's forehead, relieved to feel her warmth and notice her shallow but steady breathing.
In the next moment, he'd pulled back the covers, sat down and placed her head in his lap. He sat there, stroking her hair and feeling tears prick at his eyes. "I'm sorry", he whispered to her. "I'm sorry I wasn't here earlier."
"There was nothing you could have done, O'Neill." Oma offered as an unsolicited reply. "This was unforeseen. The combined energy of both children was simply too much for one person to absorb."
"She doesn't look good, Oma. Are you sure…"
"There is no death here, O'Neill. She will wake soon. Her body is simply resting. It is best now that you stay with her. I believe she will draw comfort from you and this will speed her healing."
Of course Jake and Grace refused to leave their parents. At Jack's insistence the Ancients left the children in the resting room where they quietly sat by their mother's bedside. They could sense their father's fear. Within a few moments Jack motioned them onto the bed and before he knew it the two were fast asleep snuggled tightly against their mother's body. No longer surprised by the feeling, Jack was possessed by a fierce protective instinct as he looked down at his precious family. He felt the connection of love as though it were a physical force, just as real and measurable as all the scientific data in his wife's computer. He'd do anything that was needed to protect Sam and the twins and he'd do it without a thought for himself.
Lost in his reverie, Jack was surprised to hear a soft moan that he knew was from Sam. Finally! Please wake up, he thought. Her eyelids fluttered and she turned her head slightly, but that was all. It was something. God, he wished Janet were with them. He could trust what Doc Frasier had to say, but Oma, he just didn't know. As his musings continued, Daniel knocked and entered the room.
"Hi, can I come in Jack?"
"Sure. You gonna tell me what's really goin' on here, Daniel? I'm not in the mood for a magical mystery tour from Oma."
"Well, Jack, I think you probably know everything by now. Oma thought Sam could manage both energy waves at the same time, but she was wrong. Seems it's been a long time since these folks have been human and needed to consider physical aspects of energy, healing, whatever…"
"Great. Now we're sure they're not all-knowing after all. Where exactly does that leave us with helping the twins?"
"Well, they tell me the obvious answer is to find a second adult to manage one of the energy waves. Apparently, they'd hoped I'd be able to do that. Again, seems they missed a small detail. Although I was ascended twice, therefore more acceptable to them than other people we know, I wasn't able to do it." Daniel saw his friend wince at the obvious implication and braced for impact but none came. "They need a close genetic match, a parent."
"And they thought the children's father would be an inappropriate choice. Pardon me Daniel, but why is it we think these creatures are so advanced?"
Jack had a point and no rebuttal was forthcoming from Daniel. "So you'll give it a try when Sam wakes up? Helping with the gatekeeper function?"
"Of course I'll help, Daniel. This is my family we're talking about. I'll just need you to tell me what a gatekeeper is."
Sam had taken another twenty-four hours to wake up. Jack had stayed by her bedside during most of that time, determined to be there when she woke up. Sure enough, Jack's face was the first she saw when she opened her eyes. He was rewarded with her beautiful smile and eyes that still took his breath away.
"Hey, welcome back, sleepyhead. We've been waiting for you," he said as he kissed her, trying hard to stop the tears from falling. "I was scared you were going to stay asleep," he admitted in very un- Jack O'Neill- like fashion.
"No more sleeping. I'm fine, Jack. Just feel like I've been electrocuted is all. Where are Grace and Jake?"
"I think they're being entertained by several children they call the Innocent. There's this one little girl, Elizabeth, who seems to have adopted them."
"Beth, yes. She's their angel, remember?"
"Mommy, Daddy," the twins called, choosing that moment to see what their parents were up to. "Mommy up?"
"Yes, Grace, Mommy's up," Sam answered, to the delight of two children and one very relieved husband.
In one more day's time, Sam felt able to try again. It was decided that Jack would attempt to share the gatekeeper function, focusing on the energy waves that Jake produced. For this purpose, Jack was given an amulet, specially attuned to the frequency of Jake's energy output. Both Daniel and Oma were a bit skeptical about Jack's ability to make this work. After all, though he had an Ancient gene, he wasn't exactly the most open minded person in the world when it came to new, non-military ways of doing things. Much to their surprise, Jack showed an uncanny ability to anticipate Jake's aura and was ready to open and then lock the cottage at exactly the right moments. With Jack available to manage Jake's energy, Sam had no problem containing little Grace's wave.
All that remained was a day of advanced training where they honed skills to do the exact same thing when separated from the children by significant distances. Again, things went much better than anyone anticipated. Much to the surprise of the Ancients, Jack was a quick study in an area where military minds were notoriously inept. Sam for one had not been surprised in the least by her husband's stellar performance. They were a team after all. The most important team of all, a family deeply committed to each other. With that love she knew all things were possible.
For weeks after the fire, Jack had been thinking about the possibility of relocating his family. After the adventure on Kheb, Jack was more certain than ever it was time to return home. Home was Colorado Springs, where he and Sam had met and where so many of their friends were still living, the people they knew so well from their days at the SGC. As he broached the subject with Sam, he realized that she agreed wholeheartedly.
They both missed their old friends. Although they'd made some new acquaintances in the Washington area, it would never be the same. Since neither one of them had much family to speak of, a network of trusted friends was that much more important.
Within a month, they managed to rearrange their professional lives to move back to Colorado Springs, a community both of them loved. Sure they'd each need to travel to Washington from time to time for work responsibilities, but they traveled now as it was. It really wouldn't be all that different. Luke's betrayal had been an extra factor supporting the move. They weren't ready to trust their children to another pediatrician they didn't know. Janet Frasier was the only one they'd consider for the position.
By mid-summer, they'd sold the house and bought a lovely sprawling home with a fenced in pool and a huge yard in Colorado Springs. Jack told Sam that the deck on this house was perfect for his telescope and they just had to have it. Sam countered with the idea that the swimming pool was really the ideal pond with no fish and would present a great opportunity to teach the kids to swim.
Shortly before their third wedding anniversary, the O'Neills welcomed special visitors for a simple get together.
Daniel and Sarah Jackson arrived shortly after noon. They'd been married a week after the group had returned from Kheb. (The announcement of the wedding plans had been the news Daniel had brought with him to Washington; he'd been upstaged by the surprise trip to Kheb.) Unfortunately, all had not gone well for the newlyweds. In fact, shortly after the wedding, Sarah had suffered a breakdown. After a week in a private sanitarium, she'd been stable enough to return home to her new husband. They'd made the best of things. It was a struggle at times, with Sarah unable to work more than 2 hours a day, suffering debilitating panic attacks.
But today they were together and visiting friends, bringing with them a homemade anniversary gift they believed just perfect for Jack and Sam.
As they rang the bell to their friends' new home, they could hear the dull roar of two toddlers running to the door screaming "Uncle Danny!" just before their father opened the door. Seeing their aunt and uncle, a new cry of "Presents!" could be heard for miles around.
Once they'd welcomed their visitors, caught up on each other's news and opened the gifts Daniel and Sarah always brought for the children, Sarah presented Sam with a gift.
"What's this? I thought only the munchkins got presents from Uncle Danny and Aunt Sarah at every visit."
"Think of it as an early anniversary gift. I made it for you. As you know I've had a lot of time on my hands lately. Working on this has really helped."
"Thank you," Sam responded, smiling and glancing towards her husband.
"You open it." Jack said with a glint in his eyes. "That way we can reuse the paper and they'll never know the difference." Jack frequently teased his wife about the precise, almost scientific way she had of opening wrapped packages.
Ignoring the familiar barb, Sam slowly and methodically opened the neatly packaged gift, folding the paper as she did. Involuntarily she gasped at the beauty of the art work she found inside. Sarah had created an original embroidered rendering of Sam's favorite verse from their wedding. The piece was mounted elegantly as a wall hanging perfect for the front foyer of their new home.
Smiling, she turned to Jack and presented the gift. Although Jack saw the beauty in the creation itself and turned to thank Sarah and Daniel, the adults in the room knew he didn't really connect the meaning of the verse.
"Remember the second reading at your wedding Jack?" Daniel supplied helpfully.
"Daniel, in case you forgot I was a little preoccupied that day. If you remember, you had to remind me to breath. All I remember is Sam and how beautiful she looked, how lucky I was," he said, reaching over to hold Sam's hand and look briefly into her eyes. Of course, she instantly forgave his forgetfulness.
"Well let me refresh your memory. Actually it was 1 Corinthians13:1-13. If I recall the setting where this verse comes from, it reads something like this.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, love is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
As Jack marveled at how easily Daniel recited from memory, he heard the final verse, the beautiful words he saw embroidered on the tapestry, words he saw come to life in his family.
"Love never fails… Faith, hope, love remain, these three; and the greatest of these is love."
The Alone series will continue in Part 3, to be up soon. It will be a Jack focused story. Hope you'll be reading.
In Part 4, we'll hear more about Daniel's story.
There will be several parts to the series (so long as people keep reading), continuing the same characters and plot lines.
I'd love to hear your thoughts, ideas, questions, comments on the stories. Please just push the little button to review.