Chapter 22

The End

Daniel clung to Teal'c gasping and freezing when they arrived. Sam clung to Jack, almost knocking him over, before she threw up. SG1 might have gone through the gate a million times before, but these bodies had not. The creatures swam through with ease. If they were affected at all, they didn't project it.

"Are you alright, Daniel Jackson?" Teal'c asked, noting how he was shivering.

"Fine," Daniel answered, but he still clutched at Teal'c with a vise-like grip. Then together, they approached the machine. There was a young man already there. He was sitting in front of the time machine, hunched over and desperate. He looked up as they approached and his eyes widened in fear. Then he blinked.

"You are Teal'c?" he asked, and then looking at the other three his eyes widened further until he said, "Daniel?" Daniel stared back at him, frowning.

"Why did you do it?" he asked at last. Only with Daniel's words did the others recognize the man.

"Mickey?" Jack asked, his eyes narrowing.

"I didn't mean to!" the man cried, "Not this! I just wanted to see her again, alive!"

Man, bad? one of the creatures asked, and half the group jumped. Somehow, in the surprise of finding Malikai, they had half forgotten the shark people swimming alongside them.

"Not bad, just...wrong," Daniel answered, ignoring Jack's snort. This man was responsible for everything they had gone through. He could very well be responsible for unraveling existence. And still Daniel seemed ready to forgive him.

Fix? the creature asked, and Malikai bowed his head.

"I can't fix it," he whispered, "I tried."

Try? it asked.

"I can't!" Malikai exclaimed, but Daniel shook his head.

"They want to try it," he explained, "I think..." he turned towards Sam, "I don't understand this, what do you get?" She had her eyes squeezed shut again.

"Circles within circles," she answered, "I see...I think it's the bubble. I think they understand it."

"Go for it," Jack said to the creatures, nodding towards the pedestal. He didn't get visions of circles himself. And yet, for an instant, he got an image of a ship. The ship had people inside, but they couldn't live outside the ship because it was in outer space. They had to go home before the air ran out. It was more of an idea than an image. Then it was gone.

Deftly, the creatures pushed buttons. Nothing happened.

"Hey," Jack said suddenly, "What exactly is going to happen if this works?"

"The bubble flips back and we go back to our real time," Sam answered.

"So what happens to us, exactly?" Jack asked, "Do we go back into our future bodies?"

"I think...well we're in the eye of the storm, so to speak...but still, last time..." Then there was a sudden, bright flash. The stargate started to dial on its own, just as it had before. Malikai looked up from his despair.

"You got the machine to work?" he asked, "Where do you get the power?" One of the creatures stared at him.

Power, air, it answered and then went back to work. It pressed a final button and then, just as the stargate burst into life, they felt a jolt like a really strong static shock, and with a pop the creatures vanished. The sky came alive with light and everyone fell to the ground.

When they arose again, something was different. Their clothes had changed. Gear appeared nearby. Sam suddenly had blond hair again. Daniel whimpered in pain.

And some things remained very much the same. Sam and Daniel were still children. Jack, while he would balk at being called a child, was still not old enough to drink.

"It's all right," Sam insisted, "I think we have to go through the stargate, and once we're away from the source we will change into our proper selves. Jack eyed her dubiously until Daniel whimpered again. He was sitting on the ground next to Jack, wearing clothes that were way too big for him.

"I think I lost the casts," he managed to gasp out. Jack cringed.

"Okay," he said, "Let's get Daniel's legs immobilized and then go home." Luckily, with all their gear they were able to rig something up pretty quickly. This time, Teal'c and Jack carried him between them. The only difficult was when Sam pointed out they couldn't actually tie anything to his legs, because if he did suddenly grow big it would hurt him. They settled for creating a sort of stretcher to hold him as immoble as possible. Jack gave no promises to not drop him once he grew big. Daniel looked troubled. Teal'c gave Jack a look.

"What do we do about Malikai?" Teal'c asked as they slowly carried Daniel towards the stargate.

"Worry about him when we're away from here," Jack answered. Malikai followed them nervously. At the gate, Sam dialed. Then she sent through the GDO code and waited. Teal'c remembered doing that very thing and everyone held their breath, waiting. Unlike when Teal'c sent it, they were quick to get a reply. The iris was opened. SG1 stepped through.

On the other side of the gate, completely clueless to how close their world came to unraveling, a very bald general Hammond awaited SG1's arrival. He was not expecting what he got.

"Teal'c" he said into the speaker, "Where is the rest of SG1? Where did these children come from?"

"For crying out loud!" the teenage boy exclaimed, "Sam!"

The End

There will probably be a sequel to this. Eventually. But for now, they're home, the universe is saved, and I'm finished.