SAVING THE WORLD

A/N: This is part five of the Alone series. This story continues the story line begun in And the Greatest of These is Love. The action of this story takes place about two years later.

Summary: Barely four years of age, the O'Neill twins are called upon to help in the battle against the Ori.

CHAPTER ONE: WHERE'S SAM?

"Okay, now just hold on to the handle bars and start peddling", Sam said softly into Jake's ear. Tentatively at first, feeling a bit off balance, the little boy began to peddle. This was sure different than a tricycle. The training wheels made it easier, but he liked it better when mommy ran alongside and held on.

Cassie sat patiently on the front porch with Grace, gently placing a bandaid on the four-year-old's skinned knee. Grace had taken a little tumble on her last riding attempt. She was in a big hurry and not completely willing to go at the slow and steady pace Cassie and her mother were encouraging. But true to form, now that the bandaid was in place (sporting Bart Simpson's smiling face of course), she couldn't wait for mommy to come back and give her another try with her bike.

Sam had been unusually tired lately, pushing herself to give riding lessons today. The twins had gotten two wheelers for their birthday last week and it was a gorgeous day for a lesson. The snow would arrive in Colorado Springs soon enough. With any luck Grace and Jake would get to be proficient riders before the first snow fell and ready to really enjoy riding come springtime.

Jack and Teal'c were due any minute now. Jack had called a few minutes earlier to let her know they'd gotten back from a diplomatic mission on Chulak about an hour ago and were heading home with healthy take-out. (Jack said it was the least he could do since Sam had bike riding duty today.)

"Jake, good job!" Cassie hollered from her spot on the porch as Jake finished his short ride around the house, none the worse for wear. Sam on the other hand, having run alongside him, was starting to look exhausted.

"Sam, are you okay?" Cassie asked, obviously concerned by Sam's flushed face and somewhat labored breathing.

"I'm fine, Cassie. How's our little princess?" checking out Grace's knee as nonchalantly as she could.

"I'm ready, Mommy. I wanna ride my bike now, can I?"

"Of course, Princess. Cassie, would you take Jake in and get him something to drink?"

"Sam, let's trade places. I'll run alongside Grace for awhile. You look really tired."

Sam was ready to happily accept the offer when Grace piped up, "No, I want Mommy, just once more, please Mommy!"

"Okay, once more for today. Cassie, I think I'll survive one more go round, but thanks for the offer."

Before she knew it, Sam's enthusiastic little girl had scrambled up on the bike and was ready to go. For the first few feet of the ride everything went well. Then Grace began the familiar chant of "faster, Mommy, faster".

As Sam told her "okay, just a little" she could hear Grace pushing against her – in her mind. The strength of the gift, straining to break free of Sam's control, was greater than it had been in a long time. Without further warning, Sam was shocked to feel the bike and Grace slipping from her hands. Sam reached out desperately with her hands and with her mind to regain control. Her efforts were in vain. Before her eyes, Grace and the bike took off as one, racing down the sidewalk at breakneck speed, the wheels barely touching the ground.

The last thing Sam saw was Teal'c who positioned himself in the middle of sidewalk just in time to stop the runaway rider and cycle safely in their tracks. As Teal'c wrapped the delighted, somewhat baffled little girl in his big arms, ready to bring her back to her mommy, Sam collapsed in a heap. Fortunately, Jack was directly behind her at the right moment and broke her fall, lowering her gently to the ground.

"Sam… Sam, what's wrong?" Jack asked, becoming more frightened as he saw his wife obviously in distress, her face contorted with pain and her breathing labored. Trying his best to comfort her, he reached for his cell and found it had fallen out of his pocket, just out of reach. Before he could say anything, Jake had picked it up and was talking to Janet.

Doctor Frasier was number one on speed dial for the O'Neills, especially given their accident prone children. Jake and Grace had been taught to try Aunt Janet before 911 in case of emergency and Jake wasted no time right now.

"Aunt Janet's sending an ambulance for Mommy," he tried to reassure his father in his best grown up voice.

Though relieved to hear help was on the way, Jack was worried. Before his eyes Sam's breathing became more ragged and shallow. What was happening? By now Cassie and Teal'c had come over, Cassie bringing a blanket from the house and Teal'c kneeling down at Jack's side to see if he could help.

"Should we not take Samantha to Doctor Frasier ourselves, O'Neill?"

Before Jack could formulate an answer, Sam abruptly stopped breathing. Military training kicked in and he instinctively started rescue breathing, working all the while to calm the terror that was clawing at his heart.

Cassie took both twins by the hands and began to lead them away from their parents so they wouldn't have to witness what was happening. Before she'd led them a few feet from their mother, Grace pulled away and ran back to her mother's side, a look of absolute determination on her face. As Jack continued to breathe for Sam, Grace touched her mother gently on the hand and said "Go, Mommy".

Sam disappeared.


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