Chapter 10 - After All

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Jack motioned for Teal'c to join him and Daniel. Anderson and Hanson remained by the door, the two SG7 team members sitting on their gear close by.

"So, Dr. Jackson, he here in case someone gets hurt?" Hanson asked one of the SG7 guys.

"Not that kind of doctor," was the return response. "He's an Archeologist."

"Archeologist?" Hanson couldn't hide his surprise.

"What about the big guy, a Marine?" Anderson took a shot at getting the low down.

"Nope, Jaffa," the other member of SG7 answered.

"Jaffa?" Anderson was confused. Never heard of that unit. "What unit?"

"Alien," was the response. "Hey, you guys got clearance right?"

"They do now," was Jack's clipped retort as he came upon them, Daniel and Teal'c on his heels.

"Don't worry though," Jack now directed at Anderson and Hanson. " He's one of the good kind…uh…guys."

Teal'c gave the two guides a slight bow and nod of his head.

Hanson chuckled. He remembered the General's sense of humor from last night.

"You're not kidding are you Sir?" Anderson asked. "And the rest of it?"

"I like to joke as much as the next guy, but nope, all true," Jack smiled.

"Oh ya, sure Sir," Hanson was still quietly laughing. "Big puddle of water…good one."

"It is known as the Stargate," Teal'c informed, his voice serious. "The world I am from, we refer to it as the Chap'ai."

Hanson looked from Teal'c to the General, then to Anderson and back to the General. Holy crap! These guys were serious.

"And the cleric?" Hanson managed to choke out.

"He's one of ours, but he's had an experience with Aliens that we think may have had a negative impact on him. They're called the Ori," Daniel took that one.

"Not the good kind of alien," Jack stated dryly. "And we're here to put a stop to what he's been up to. Hopefully we can retrieve him and try to help him, but that's a secondary objective."

"Jack!" Daniel admonished.

"Don't Jack me Daniel. He's a huge security risk. And he's got zero problems killing any of our guys. I'm surprised I'm not dead. We'll try to bring him in. We owe it to him. But the primary mission has to be to stop his influence in this region. It's volatile enough here. Now let's go get Sam and Mitchell, deal with Yousef, and try to get out of here alive." Jack was all business now.

Jack continued. "Okay, Culham, you straight on your orders?"

"Yes sir."

"Good. Listen up. We don't have much time. They were planning to draw me at dusk so…"

"Draw you?" Daniel asked.

"Don't ask me, guess Yousef has an art fetish…Something about drawing and quartering" Jack tried to keep from laughing at his own joke. "Hey T, how's about getting these things off me."

Jack held up his wrists, his left arm hanging lower. He was finding it harder and harder to ignore the pain. Teal'c came to O'Neill's aid, and within seconds had the wrist cuffs attached to the chains removed.

"Actually Jack, it means they –" Daniel started to explain.

"I know what it meant." Jack rolled his eyes. "Just tryin to lighten the mood Danny boy. Fine, no more kidding. They've probably discovered by now that I'm gone. They might be thinkin of Mitchell and Sam as substitutes. Who knows. So, Anderson, you and Teal'c try to find abandoned housing closer to the target house and search for tunnels. Hanson, you Daniel and I are going-"

The door to the shed smashed open. No one had time to react before insurgents piled in, all armed with AKs pointed at Jack's group. Five of them in total.

"How about you are all going to come with us? Drop all of your weapons," one of the fanatics spoke in broken English.

Culham hadn't seen any activity out of the window so hadn't been able to give any warning. He cautiously raised his weapon hoping to take out the ones near the door. They were far enough away from his people and no one seemed to have noticed him yet as he was shielded by some crates. Before he could take the shot though he dropped to the floor dead. Culham hadn't seen it coming; one of the insurgents had been watching him through the window.

Jack turned to see Culham taken out and closed his eyes, taking a breath out. This had not gone well. Not well at all. Jenson, Cooper, now Culham. Not to mention Sam in enemy hands. Cameron too. So much for second chances.

Jack put his good hand on his head and ordered the others to follow suit. They'd all be dead if they went for their weapons. He ordered them to comply with fanatic number one and drop their weapons. As long as they lived, there were still chances for escape. They'd been through worse before and made it out.

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"You okay?" Mitchell asked Sam.

They were in some kind of under ground tunnel system, chained to a wall. When the fire fight had happened he and Sam had ducked behind a large boulder for cover but had been surprised by three locals apparently ready for them. Sam and he hadn't stood a chance.

Sam had taken the worst of it. She'd fought as the men tried to cover her face. A woman showing her face was a big no no in these neck of the woods. She'd ended up getting hit hard across the face. Her nose had bled profusely and Cam was concerned it'd been broken.

"Ya fine. Would be better if I could shake this damn hijab off," Sam replied testily.

"Shhh," Mitchell alerted her. "Someone's comin."

"Colonels, how nice of you to drop by. How sad you've missed General O'Neill. If I knew you were coming I would have left his head attached a little longer," Yousef drawled in the entry of the chamber. Four of his followers once again behind him.

Sam's choke was audible as she tried to stifle the emotions threatening to bubble up from her depth. No, it couldn't be true. No! Tears welled in her eyes and over flowed. For the first time she was glad she was wearing the hijab. She didn't want this bastard to see her cry. Even chained as she was to the wall she began to tremble. She knew that this was how fanatics in this region dealt with prisoners. Especially military prisoners from the west. Yousef had no reason to lie. Sam struggled to keep her cries of anguish silent. She'd heard the saying before, but just never realized it could have such a physical meaning: she literally began to feel her heart break.

"Look, Yousef," Mitchell began, also trying to keep himself composed and calm. "We came to help you. Let us help you. Whatever they did to you we can-"

"Silence!" Yousef bellowed angrily. "You, help me! You would have our entire planet consumed. No! I will help you. Your death will fuel the Ori. Perhaps they will forgive you. Pray Colonel Mitchell. Pray to the Ori to have mercy on your souls!"

Another man came in and began to speak to Yousef using a foreign language, bowing constantly while doing so. They all seemed so subservient to the AWOL serviceman. Cameron watched Yousef and dared a glance over to Sam. He could see she was shaking and thought she was probably crying. Heck, he felt like crying. O'Neill had been everyone's hero, and she had not only worked so closely with him, but had eventually...developed a more...personal relationship. Poor Sam.

Finally Yousef nodded and motioned the man away. To Cameron and Sam he began to speak again, "Prepare yourselves. The hour of your doom is upon you. We are preparing the video equipment then you shall all die, and the whole of the world will bare witness."

Yousef and his crew departed.

"Could be he's yankin our chain Sam," Cameron wanted to comfort her. "He may be out there with the gang, plannin our rescue."

Sam said nothing, her shoulders still shaking.

"Hey," Cam tried again, "He's gotten outta worse before."

"We have to get out of here," Sam's voice was cracking, but she was regaining her composure. She gave a yank on her chains, but they were solid.

"I don't think he's a Prior Cam," she revealed. They may not have been able to see her face, but she could still see through the mesh of the hijab. "His eyes match, the hair match, but his complexion is normal. And he's--well he's nuts. He goes off too easy."

"Ya, I was coming to that conclusion myself," Mitchell agreed. "But how do we explain the hair and the eyes?"

"He could've dyed the hair, and maybe he's wearing contacts, or.." she trailed off.

"Or?" Cameron urged.

"I'm not a psychology expert, but I'm thinking he's suffering from a form of hysteria. Something similar to stigmata. It's a rare condition more associated with Christian zealots. I'm not sure of the particulars, but I've read something about them having spontaneous occurrences of crucifixion wounds. I'm thinking maybe Yousef is experiencing something similar," Sam explained.

It felt good to try and focus on something, anything, other than what Yousef had revealed. She couldn't let herself believe it. She just couldn't. The fleeting thought almost brought her to tears again. Cameron saw this so he tried to urge her back into the subject matter.

"So you're saying his hair and eyes changed because of...?"

Sam was back on track, "He must've been so affected by what was going on at the SGC that his mind couldn't handle it. I guess he was scared. Hell, I'm scared when I think about the Ori. But his mind must've collapsed somehow. The point is, Yousef thinks he's a Prior, and his mind has somehow altered his physiology to come into line with that belief. Does that make sense?"

"No," Cameron answered honestly.

Sam was about to try and explain further but voices could be heard approaching. One voice actually, but it sounded as though more than one was fast approaching. The voice was issuing orders and didn't sound friendly. "Keep moving," was all she could make out.

First Sam saw two members of SG7, followed by Captain Hanson and Major Anderson. All four had their hands tied in front. Then came Daniel, Vala and Teal'c, hands tied. Well so much for a rescue attempt. Vala was also wearing a hijab, shaking her head trying to dislodge it.

Sam let out a cry. Jack! He was alive. Relief erupted inside her. Sam was speechless. Yousef had lied. It had obviously been a terror tactic on his part. But what now? They'd all been captured. Except for Lt. Culham. Sam didn't see him. Jack was followed by several of Yousef's men. Two kept Ak47s trained on the gang, while three others set about forcing them all to their knees.

Jack resisted and arrogantly walked toward Sam, paying no heed to one of the fanatics yelling at him and waving the assault weapon wildly. Taking the edge of the hijab with his tied hands he lifted it off her head. She saw his shoulder and knew the effort must've been excruciating for him. He winced as he saw the dried blood on her face that had so obviously come from her nose. For a brief moment they stared into each other's eyes.

"You shouldn't have come," he said softly, it wasn't meant as an admonishment.

"I couldn't leave you here," was her breathless response.

"You cannot do this!" one of the insurgents screamed behind them. "She must remain covered!"

Jack wheeled around to face the nut, "You son of a limp..."

Daniel, now on his knees, dropped his jaw at the vulgarities that came ripping out of Jack's mouth. He hadn't heard language like that from Jack since, well, since their very first mission to Abydos.

Sam's eyes also widened in surprise. She'd seen Jack angry before, even heard him swear occasionally, but what was spewing forth from him now would've put a trucker to shame.

"O'Neill, you must calm yourself," Teal'c, as usual, was the voice of reason. "This behavior will not assist us in our current predicament."

Jack quieted but continued to glare at the man who had been the victim of his verbal onslaught, almost daring him to do something about it. The man looked away. 'Impressive', thought Vala.

"You kiss me with that mouth?" Sam whispered from behind him, trying to ease his tension. She knew it had been for her sake he'd exploded.

"Complaining?" he muttered back. She could tell by his tone he was suppressing a smirk.

Another one of Yousef's followers came in and spoke to the others. The fanatics retreated, but just to outside of the entry way. Jack looked over at Daniel.

"They're almost ready with the video equipment," Daniel translated. "The 'Holy One' wants them to watch us carefully. Any further escapes will be met with dire consequences for them."

"Ah, well, how can I refuse a challenge like that," smiled Jack.

"There's something you should know Sir," Cameron spoke up. "Sam and I were talkin it over. We don't think Yousef's a.."

"Prior." Jack finished. "I know. Figured that out a little after the first time I got caught. I'm guessing he's got that stigma thing."

Sam couldn't help herself. Maybe it was because of the tension, the grief, the relief, or all of it combined. But she started to laugh He was so endearing. He had figured it out alright, and was likely mispronouncing it on purpose. He looked behind at her and threw her a wink.

Anderson, also on his knees watched the General for any cue. If O'Neill gave any sign that they were to make a break, he wanted to be ready for it.

Jack looked around the room, then back out to just beyond the entry way where a group of Yousef's men waited. All had weapons of one kind or another.

"Well we've been in worse situations before," he quipped.

"I really wish you'd stop saying that," Daniel retorted.

Jack laughed, and Daniel joined in. Teal'c smiled broadly. Anderson wondered if this group were nuts too. He didn't see anything particularly funny.

"Well Stanley," Daniel chuckled, "Another fine mess you've gotten us into."

This started another round of laughter from the original SG1 team, Mitchell joined in too. Vala, behind her hijab, was confused.

"Well I'm so very glad you all find this amusing, but would one of you lovely gentlemen take this damn thing off of me," Vala gave her head a vicious shake.

Jack walked toward her, the men in the tunnel watching his every step. Reaching down, the effort painful, he lifted the Hijab from her as well. "Sorry about that," he said.

"So how much longer ya think I have to stall these jokers?" Jack asked to no one in particular.

Anderson and Hanson had no idea what he was talking about but both hoped the General was coming up with a plan. The rest of them didn't seem too out of joint with their current situation so something must be cooking.

"It was on route back from Atlantis when the call came in, just wasn't gonna be here fast enough for you Sir," Mitchell answered. "I'm guessin any time now."

"Excellent! Anderson, Hanson, you make sure you stay close to one of these guys. You do all have the implants right?"

"Yup," Sam was the one to respond. "So you make sure you stay close too-Sir."

He looked at her, her double meaning wasn't lost on him.

"How's the nose?" he asked her.

"Fine, shoulder?"

"Piece a cake," he smiled. He was very pale and Sam was worried. They had to get him medical attention and soon.

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Jack was the only one in the room to have remained standing, not necessarily because he wanted to. Was just less painful than trying to sit. The other's had changed from their kneeling positions to sitting. Jack had tried to yank Sam's and then Mitchell's chains with his one good hand, but these babies had been more secure than his. So he and Sam had spent their time talking in hushed tones, their heads almost touching. Mostly it was about Yousef. Personal matters would have to wait until they got out of this jam.

The other's too had been caught up in their own little chatter. Except for Teal'c. He had stead fastedly watched the armed captors right outside their dirt room. Analyzing and looking for any possible method of escape. He was coming up empty though. Vala too was unusually quiet, her head resting on Daniel's shoulder. He was talking quietly to her though. Trying to explain the politics of the region, and the implications with his own country.

It wasn't a long wait before Yousef entered the cavern with another group of his followers. They were carrying various pieces of equipment. There were computer components, wiring, battery packs, lights, and Yousef himself carried a very expensive looking video camera.

As the wayward serviceman entered with his crew, all the little conversations had stopped. The crew set about setting up equipment while the armed guards came in. One took each captive in turn and first stood them up, walked them to the wall where Mitchell and Carter were chained, then forced them back to their knees. He didn't approach Jack though. One by one the Americans were placed in a row. Yousef watching all the while, the guards keeping weapons raised.

Finally one of the crew came and bowed before Yousef and spoke something in a foreign tongue. No one needed translation, they all knew everything was set to roll. Yousef's face transformed, a mad grin coming to his lips.

"The General first, bring him before me," Yousef sneered.

Another follower approached Yousef and bowed, he then handed him a large machete looking knife. It had a wide blade and a deep curve. It's purpose was clear.

"I'll go first," Anderson bravely offered.

He'd listened carefully and knew that the General was waiting for a rescue attempt, probably from that cool ship. The General was more important than himself. He had to buy more time. His offer was scoffed at though as Yousef looked at him and laughed.

"Your turn soon eager one," Yousef heckled. "But the best way to disable a snake is to remove it's head. What a fitting image. First the General, then his followers. All will know the power of the Ori. That such a small group as we could accomplish what the followers of Allah could not. We will terrify the United States. We will bring the west to it's knees. They will know true fear today."

Yousef's insane mind, believing himself to be a Prior, had him convinced that the leader's of the western world would bow to the power of the Ori at the falling of O'Neill. And they would shudder with the knowledge the Ori had won against those that were Earth's only hope. This was the opportunity Yousef had prayed for. And the Ori had fulfilled his prophecy: that the Ori would deliver the enemy unto his hands. This capture had his followers enraptured. The western world would soon come to know the path. They would stop their fight and the Ori could come and fulfill the promise of everlasting enlightenment. Hallowed are the Ori.

He said it aloud.

"Hallowed are the Ori," a chorus echoed the chamber as every follower repeated the phrase.

Two men grabbed Jack and hauled him before Yousef. Jack had tried to struggle, but the one who had his left arm had smashed a hand down onto his wound. Jack dropped to his knees from the pain. Yousef handed the camera to another of the crew.

"How many he asked?"

Jack didn't understand Yousef's question, but saw him raise the blade. It was a crew member that answered.

"We will be live on two stations Holy One. Twenty seconds."

Yousef spoke to Jack. "Your death will serve the Ori."

"Bite me," Jack gritted out.

"Ten, nine, eight," the crew man began his count down, will watching the computer monitor.

The fanatic with the camera took aim with a steady hand. Sam closed her eyes, then forced them open. She would not turn away. Mitchell's face mirrored his disgust and horror at what he was about to witness. He began to struggle helplessly in his chains. Teal'c caught Anderson's eye and was rewarded by the slightest nod. They would act together to stop this.

"Four, three, " the count down continued.

Yousef raised the blade high into the air, keeping his clouded eyes focused on O'Neill. Teal'c moved his foot ready to rise and thrust forward. He was pleased to note Anderson imitate his actions.

"Two,"

The blade began it's swing down. Teal'c and Anderson were up and rushed toward Yousef. Two of the guards pointed their weapons and prepared to fire. Sam saw it all as though in slow motion. A bright white flash, gun fire. But not from AKs. Sounded more like hand guns. Sam crumpled in a heap, landing almost directly on top of Daniel and Vala. Mitchell did the same, only he had the two science officers breaking his fall. Hanson, the only one left still kneeling dropped his jaw in sheer amazement and disbelief.

He was in a grey metal room, Air Force personnel surrounding them. Two of Yousef's men, the ones about to fire on his Major and the big guy were dead. Major Anderson and Teal'c were atop of Yousef who started to scream. The machete now laying harmlessly on the ground. On each side of him the Colonels were crumpled on top of their people.

The rest of Yousef's men dropped to the ground, bowing and chattering. It sounded as though they were praying.

"Nice timing," he heard O'Neill exclaim with good humor.

It was all so surreal. Where the hell was he? What the heck had just happened? He was to shocked to move or speak so opted just to stay put.

"You all right Sir?" It was a Colonel in blue helping O'Neill up.

Other Air Force personnel were helping to right the two Colonels and their team members. One of them untied Major Anderson and the big guy. Hanson couldn't close his mouth. What the hell just happened? A slew of medical people came in and began to attend to the General. He heard O'Neill order the guys in blue to take Yousef and his men to the brig. He'd deal with them later. Yousef was ordered sedated.

Everyone was taking it all in stride. Even the Major. Hanson started to wonder if he'd lost his mind.

"It's okay Troy," Major Anderson was in front of him, trying to give Hanson a reassuring smile. "We're on a space ship. Honest to God, we got them. Or at least one that I know of."

"Indeed, Major Anderson. But there are others. Only one other such as this though," the big guy had come over. Hanson looked up at him then back to his Major.

Anderson took his shocked Captain by the arm and helped him to his feet. He then set about unbinding him.

"It's okay Troy. Really. The General wasn't joking. This is what these guys were waiting for." Anderson continued to soothe his subordinate.

"It's really all true?" Hanson managed to whisper. "I'm not crazy?"

"You will be fine Captain Hanson," the big guy reassured. "Perhaps it would be best for you to be attended to in the infirmary."

Teal'c waved some medical staff over who gently led Captain Hanson away.

"He will be fine," Teal'c put a hand on Anderson's shoulder. "You fought well."

"Thanks, you too," Tony responded looking after his sole remaining unit member. How Jens and Coop woulda loved this, he thought sadly, remembering his fallen comrades.

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"Got here as soon as we could Sir," Colonel Caldwell directed at General O'Neill in the Daedalus' infirmary. "We've retrieved the F-302s and our people from Bagram. Cover should hold. Only two interior guards around the place have any idea of what really happened, and they've been promised spots by General Landry. As for the local television stations, all they got was snow. So I think we pulled it off rather well."

"Ya, good job," Jack responded, getting a little groggy from the pain medication. "Where's everyone now?"

"Your instructions have been followed. Yousef and his followers have been secured by Area 51. Initial report is that they concur with your assessment. He's not a Prior. They suspect a psychological condition. SG7 has been returned to Cheyenne with the other two pilots. I wasn't sure, Sir, what you wanted me to do with the two field guys. SG1 is still hanging around too. Captain Hanson seems to be over his initial shock. Major Anderson just seems to be taking it all in. Almost like he's been here before."

"He was," Jack smirked. "A few months ago. Wore black. Wants a transfer."

Caldwell smiled and nodded, then continued, "Colonel Carter has had her nose attended to. It's not broken. She has requested to be allowed to come and see you."

Jack tried to think through the haze that was taking his pain away. The bullet had gone right through the bone. He was told that he was lucky marrow hadn't started seeping into his blood stream or he would've been a goner. As it was he had been close to going septic. Septic shock probably woulda killed him if he'd been down there much longer.

"Send Anderson and Hanson to the SGC. Ask General Landry to find a spot for them. They're good men, unless of course you want them?" Jack asked Caldwell.

"Wouldn't mind the Major, Teal'c had nothing but high praise for him," Colonel Caldwell. "Could use a man like him on these Atlantis trips."

"You know Teal'c, such a talker. Talk to Anderson. If he wants it, consider him yours. It'll be my last personnel shuffle," Jack's eyes began to droop so he didn't notice Caldwell's surprised expression.

"And Colonel Carter Sir?" Caldwell wondered if the General was already asleep.

Jack responded groggily with his eyes remaining closed, "Get SG1 back to the mountain. That's where they're needed. Get me to the base hospital in Washington. I have briefings to do. Tell Sam I'll see her in a day or two. Tell her…."

General O'Neill was out cold. Caldwell looked at him quizzically. Sam, huh? Interesting.

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Colonel Caldwell relayed the General's message to SG1 after reassuring them he'd be fine. They would send him to Washington as soon as SG1 were returned to Cheyenne. Sam tried to protest but Caldwell told her that the General was out cold, but that it was his orders to return all of SG1, including her, to the base. He in a discreet aside informed her that the General had also said he would see her in a day or two. Hanson was also informed he was being sent to Cheyenne and would receive his new orders there.

"What about me Sir?" Tony asked the Colonel.

"You're mine," Caldwell gave just a hint of a smile. "That is, if you still want that transfer."

Tony's heart pounded and he blinked noticeably. "You mean, on the ship?"

"That's my command," Caldwell answered matter of factly. "And the General has already approved the transfer if you want it."

"Yes sir!" Anderson beamed, standing at his straightest. 'Now this is gonna be a ride,' he thought to himself unable to wipe the smile from his face.

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It had been two days since the mission to Afghanistan. General Landry had informed them in a briefing that Yousef and his crew were secured at Area 51 and Yousef was receiving the best psychiatric care. He was being studied closely as Stigmata was a truly rare event. This was the first legitimate case ever found manifested in an American.

Intelligence from the area said that Yousef's disappearance was not, surprisingly, causing the stir previously anticipated. A further incursion into the area by special forces had secured Yousef's writings. No books of Origin were found. Everything gathered was on route to Area 51.

The bodies of their slain troops had also been recovered and were now at Bagram, awaiting their return home for hero funerals. The cover story regarding the F302s was holding as well. All around, the mission had been considered a complete success.

Landry had later called Colonel Carter into his office and tore a strip off her for going off base. Not that he disagreed with her decision necessarily, but he'd been ordered by the Chief to give her an informal reprimand. "Counseling," they called it at the Pentagon. It wouldn't touch her official record however as everyone recognized that if Yousef had indeed been a Prior, Sam and her equipment would definitely have been required.

Sam was sound asleep in her bed. Her nose was still tender to the touch and her eye was slightly blackened. She hadn't heard a word from Jack. Sleep hadn't come easy since her return. She was worried about Jack. That shoulder wound had looked pretty bad. She'd tried calling the hospital, but no calls were allowed for the first twenty four hours. When she tried after that, he'd already been released. No answer at home, and she'd already left two messages with his office.

Restlessly she stirred, her body trying to adjust from her left side to her back. As her slumbering movements were restricted she came slowly awake to find an arm draped over her waist. She knew from the body that fit so perfectly spooning her's that it was him. He must've snuck in some time during the night and crawled in beside her. Her anxiety left in a wash. She raised her arm to stroke his, but in the moonlight she caught a bright twinkle on her hand. Instead of reaching his arm she lifted her hand closer to her face.

On her left hand, she saw the most beautiful heart shaped diamond. Her eyes soon matched the twinkle of the gem.

"Hey," she heard him murmur into her neck. "You like?"

"Yes," she could barely form the word.

"Good. That's the answer I was lookin for," he began to chuckle.

"We need to talk," she whispered. "There's something you need to know, I'm not-"

"I know Sam. Daniel filled me in. There was a mix up at the lab," he made it easy for her. "Who's Corporal Cartier anyways. Never heard of her."

"She's new, which is why the mix up I guess," Sam adjusted in the bed so she was on her back.

Jack kept his arm draped over her. He moved his head back on his pillow so he could see her face in the dim light coming from outside. His shoulder was in a sling so he couldn't prop himself up the way he normally would during one of their midnight chats.

"The lab tech running the blood work didn't recognize the name on the vial, and thought there had been typos," Sam enlightened. "I suppose we should really talk about this. Kids I mean. We've never-"

Sam was stopped by the feel of Jack nuzzling into her neck, and kissing slowly until he reached her earlobe, which he gently took in his teeth and flickered ever so lightly with his tongue. His arm that had been draped moved slowly until his hand began a slow seductive path to her breast. Sam let out a gasp as she felt him press his lower body closer to her.

She let out breathlessly, "Does that mean you don't want to talk about -"

"I am talking about it," he softly whispered into her ear. "I'm a man of few words, remember?"

Again, he tried to shift his position and moved his hand lower to try and remove her pajama pants. Knowing the pain he was still in Sam took over and gently laid him on his back, ever mindful of his wound. She looked down into his eyes and they both were brought back to their first time at his cabin. A slow smile creeped along his face and his good hand reached behind her head, bringing her down for a slow sensual kiss.

"Remind me to be injured more often," he moaned indicating his enjoyment of her careful ministrations.

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Epilogue

SG1 arrived at Jack's cabin on time. Late September in Minnesota was just how Jack had told them it would be. The leaves were starting to turn color, the air was neither too hot, nor cold. Jack had warned them to bring warm clothes for the evenings though. It did get rather chilly.

The air was so crisp and clean. To Teal'c's delight he was told there would be no blood drawing insects called mosquitoes to bother him this trip. He wondered why O'Neill had only brought him here in the summers previously. He much preferred this month of September.

Daniel and Vala climbed out of backseat of the SUV Teal'c had been driving. They started around to the back to retrieve their luggage but were held up as Sam came out of the front door of the cabin to greet them.

Holding hands, Vala and Daniel started to walk toward her. Sam noticed the hand holding and smiled. At least she hadn't been the only member of SG1 bit by the love bug. Cam and Teal'c also exited the vehicle and made their way over.

"So- where's the big guy?" Mitchell enquired.

"Out back," Sam answered with a smirk, taken suddenly aback when Teal'c grabbed her in a bear hug.

"It is good to see you again Samantha Carter," he beamed.

"Teal'c!" Sam gave him an amused quizzical look as he put her down, "I just saw you a month ago."

"Indeed. Yet much has happened since," Teal'c couldn't hide his delight.

Sam looked over at Daniel and Vala, then to Mitchell. Teal'c's display was quite uncharacteristic. But instead of explanation, they only smiled back at her, Cameron shrugging.

"He made you guys something," Mitchell advised with a wink

"You did!" Sam looked back to Teal'c in surprise.

"Indeed, I will go and get it," Teal'c advised proudly before turning on his heels and heading back to the vehicle.

"So, when you coming back to work?" Cam asked, looping his arm through hers and starting them off toward the pond.

"Give her a break Cameron. Honestly, you men think it's so easy," Vala admonished.

Sam let out a laugh, "Well that depends on when they let me. Actually, I'll probably come back part time in a couple of months. We're going to stay up for the first part of October, then once all his things are moved into my house, I'll be able to come in for a few hours a day. I miss it."

"So Jack's liking retirement then?" Daniel asked her.

"Go see for yourself," she waved her hand toward a lounge chair turned to face the pond. From the angle they were at they couldn't see if it was occupied or not.

As Daniel put his arm over Vala's shoulder the two headed for the lounge chair. Mitchell saw as Teal'c came around the corner, his package in arms.

"Hey hey, big guy, need a hand with that?" Cameron offered, starting toward Teal'c.

"I do not," he answered, gently putting his creation before his friend and comrade for her inspection.

Sam's eyes welled up with emotion. "Teal'c, it's…..it's beautiful. Perfect."

She then grabbed him in a bear hug which pleased him immensely. He had made such a perfectly carved piece of furniture. The rockers were perfectly balanced, the wood sanded to a smooth sheen. So much care had gone into the making of this. She could tell he had poured so much of himself into the task.

"Hey guys, you gotta see this," Daniel tried to quietly call the gang over. "I hope someone's got a camera."

Daniel was grinning from ear to ear. When the gang joined him they too looked down at the sleeping General, retired though he be. In all the years Daniel and Teal'c had worked with the man, knowing all his pain, his heartache, his joys, they had never seen him at such peace.

For there was the great Jonathan Jack O'Neill lost in peaceful sleep. On his chest, held protectively in place by a baby body carrier, was his one month old daughter, Grace. She too was sound asleep. One hand clenched to her daddy's shirt, the thumb of the other being suckled in her tiny mouth.

"We'll have to wait till they wake before she can try out your new Bassinet Teal'c," Sam said quietly. "If I try and take her now there will be crying and screaming and carrying on like you've never seen before. I hate when he wakes the baby that way."

The Daniel looked over at her and began to laugh, the group joining in. Jack's eyes opened slowly at the disturbance, his arm protectively moving over his daughter. Seeing his friends and wife all laughing and looking down at him he said the only thing he could think of .

"What?"

o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o

The end of this story, but only the beginning for them.

Author's request: Please visit my profile by selecting my name. You'll then find a link to my home page where you will find the videos for this fan fiction made by Hope Leslie Hermnharry. You'll also find a link to her profile there. Please provide her with comments. The last vid (the one for this chapter) is truly awesome!

Same disclaimers: Not mine. MGM's etc. Except for original characters, but feel free to write them if you want.