Title: Golden Sheaves and Cockle Shells all in a Row
Author: ALC Punk!
Rating: er... 17+, vague smutty references, a little violence, random deaths.
Written for: myLiz, aka Liminalliz Further warning: This fic contains Laira, as such, I understand that she's sometimes irritating, and I personally have an instinctive gut-reaction to Laira that includes not wanting to read fic (I don't hate her, I just don't like her in fic). So I am completely unoffended if only a few people read this.
Notes: Early draft of this was seen by the fabulous nakedtoes who pointed out the bits that sucked. I kept some of them and changed others. It was then poked and prodded by the wonderful karmaaster, who pointed out it needed a better ending. And it has one now. All mistakes are my own. Plus, you get a silly title.
Length: 5,000+ Set: Future Season, this fic contains spoilers for seasons 1-8, and speculation for season 9 (excepting one aspect, but I'm not commenting on that and I'm lazy and not editing in a reason for it, either).

"So."

Colonel Samantha Carter glanced sideways at her ex-commanding officer. Most people wouldn't realize it, but General Jack O'Neill wasn't entirely sanguine to be standing there at the bottom of the gate ramp. It wasn't that the General hadn't seen that exact spot thousands of times. But now, they were heading through the gate back to a place he hadn't visited in... a while. And he wasn't quite sure what awaited him there.

"Sir?"

"Carter."

She smirked, "Sorry, General, old habits die hard."

A huff of air escaped him, and he looked at Daniel, "And you said I needed rubber bands."

"You do, Jack," Daniel Jackson replied. "But at least you've stopped calling her 'Colonel'."

"Daniel."

"Jack."

The fourth member of their little brigade interrupted. "O'Neill, is it not correct for Colonel Carter to refer to you as 'sir' while under your command, even if it is merely a temporary assignment?" Teal'c could always be counted on to bring logic to the party.

"I suppose--"

The general was lucky and didn't have to finish his statement as the wormhole spun open at that moment, with its normal whoosh. Sam found her eye drawn to it. She'd seen it more times than she cared to count, and it still fascinated her. "Sir?" She prompted when the general hadn't moved. If she hadn't known better, she would have sworn he was reluctant to go.

"Oh! Yes." The general waved a hand, "Let's go." He started up the ramp.

Sam exchanged an amused look with Daniel, then started after him. Teal'c and Daniel followed close behind.

On the other side of the gate was a lush, green world. Filled with farmsteads and forests. Standing at the top of the short plinth that they'd re-set the gate on after its burial five years before, Sam gazed around, appreciating the natural beauty. It wasn't that Earth didn't have its own forests, but she didn't exactly leave the mountain much. Fresh air and Sam Carter invariably happened on alien planets, not in her own backyard. To the right, she could see farmland, spreading a vast sea of what might have been corn. To the left was the same. A road swept through, between the two settlements, but the stone gate and its accouterments didn't detract from the idyllic scene. They merely added to the pastoral nature.

"Fair day," called a low, musical voice.

Sam turned and felt her professional smile slide into place. "Hello, Laira."

"Major Carter." The woman smiled at her, then looked at the others, "Dr. Jackson, Teal'c, Colonel O'Neill."

"Actually," said Jack, "Er, Carter's the colonel now, and I'm a general."

Laira's eyes widened, and she gave an engaging grin. "My apologies, General, Colonel." She looked at Daniel and Teal'c, "I see others have changed as well, though not in title."

"Indeed," Teal'c inclined his head with a slight smile.

"Ah, Laira," Sam kept her smile pinned on, "I'm sorry to move straight to business, but your request for us indicated that you'd found some new technology?"

"Yes," with a smile, Laira gestured, "Come, I will take you to my house, and we can discuss this in comfort."

The members of SG-1 exchanged swift glances, then Sam nodded, "Let's go, people." She stepped down and fell into step with Laira, "So, this new technology, is it--"

"Please, it would be simpler to show you and tell you together, Colonel." The woman half-smiled, "I mean no disrespect, Colonel, but we Edorans are simple people. And we don't have your facility for complex language."

"Ah. It looks beautiful."

"I'm sorry?"

"Edora. I remember... There's no sign of the devastation by the meteors at all. It's so... green." Sam wondered if she was having trouble because this was her diplomatic mission, or if it was because it was Laira.

"Yes, it is. The replanting was helped a great deal by our own desperation--and your people, of course."

Sam decided not to ask if elaboration on that topic would include mention of General O'Neill and his tenure on the planet.

They continued walking in silence, and Sam eventually drifted back, allowing Daniel to join Laira. The two of them fell into conversation, while Sam walked with Teal'c. She tried to enjoy the openness, the riotous colors of nature around them, but found she couldn't. Too many memories were slowly being dredged up. She glanced at Teal'c. "It has changed."

"'Time heals all wounds'." Teal'c quoted softly. "I have seen many planet stripped bare by the goa'uld, and I have seen few brought back to fertility. It is indeed a marvel."

Sam nodded, "It's pretty."

They both fell silent, and Sam was conscious of the general's eyes on her back. It was irritating and she wished he'd just talk to her instead of pretending he wasn't disturbed by being back here. Of course, maybe she was just being ridiculous and silly, and he wasn't. Maybe he really didn't remember asking Laira to go back to Earth with him, didn't remember saying he wished they'd never returned to Edora for him, didn't remember retiring there (a fake-out, but he'd still done it).

Unconsciously, Sam tightened her shoulders. She'd spent three months building that particle accelerator to bring him back, and he'd never thanked her. Not really.

"Mama! Mama!" An excited child's voice distracted her from her thoughts, and Sam looked up the dusty pathway as a little boy bounded up. He was dark-eyed and dark-haired, and for just a moment, Sam felt as if he were horribly familiar. Then he bounced up to Laira. "You're back!"

Sam didn't need to look at the general to know he'd paused. She glanced back at him anyway, watching the way he stiffened. For a moment, he was frozen. Then he slid back into his own skin as if nothing had occurred, except that he was slightly paler, and staring at the child as if he'd seen a ghost. Sam couldn't really blame him--she'd seen pictures of Charlie O'Neill, and this kid wasn't that different.

"Of course I'm back, Charlie." Laira scooped the child up and spun him around. "And you were supposed to wait until we got home to come out."

"I know, Mama," the little boy tucked his head under her chin and smiled adorably at SG-1, "But I wanted to meet my papa."

There was a hissing breath from the general, but Sam didn't look at him, this time. She couldn't. Not right now. Laira looked at them, flushing slightly, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean for this meeting to go quite like this. Charlie's a little impetuous, though." She straightened, "Charlie, this is Colonel Carter, Teal'c and Dr. Jackson."

"And Papa?"

Laira looked chagrined as she shifted her gaze to the general, "In a manner of speaking, yes. His name is General Jack O'Neill."

"In a manner?" Jack's voice was rusty.

"Technically," she acknowledged, still looking at him.

Charlie giggled, "He's OLD." He announced, then squirmed. "Put me down, Mama, I want to meet him!"

"All right, but don't--" Laira sighed as the rambunctious child ran over and attached himself to O'Neill's leg. "I'm sorry, Jack, he's just so excited to see you, I..."

"Why didn't you tell me?"

Sam wondered if the two even realized the rest of SG-1 were bearing silent witness to their conversation. She doubted it until Laira's eyes flicked to her, then away.

"I didn't think it would matter."

"Of course it would matter, he's... he's my child, Laira."

"Are you angry with me, Jack?" Her head tilted, chin up and proud. "I didn't need a man to raise my son, and I don't need one now."

"Then why request me specifically?"

"That was none of my doing, that was Garen's. Meddling fool, he thinks I need a man in my life."

"Ah."

Laira shook her head, "We should continue this discussion at a later time. Out of this lane, for instance," she smiled apologetically and continued to lead them to her house.

The kid clung to the general's leg, hampering him with every step until the general picked him up and put him on his shoulders. Sam could barely look at them. At him. She fought not to feel jealousy at this ready-made family. Even now, she could hear the general chuckling at the antics of his son.

His son. It was a sickening concept.

--

The morning had drifted into afternoon, and Sam hadn't really paid much attention to anything. She was sorely grateful that Daniel had seemed to be perfectly willing to uphold the conversation, but now he and Garen had wandered off to talk with some of the historians, leaving Sam and Laira in the kitchen. In light of the new development, the discussion of new technology had been shelved. From outside, they could both hear the delighted giggles of Charlie mixed with the occasional snort of amusement, or suggestion from the general. Teal'c was probably sitting in the shade, watching over them.

"This might seem impertinent."

"Beg pardon?"

Laira looked at her, "You and Jack, are you... together?"

"What? Oh. No." Lie, Sam. Lie like you have for years. The truth was being buried underneath childish laughter anyway. She forced her smile back onto her lips. "We're just colleagues. Co-workers. We... we've known each other for a long time."

"Ah." Laira turned back to her bowl of dough, then dumped it onto the counter top. "And he hasn't found anyone else?"

"No. Not that I know of, anyway. Look, why are you asking?"

"I wish to know if he is free to become father in more than 'technical' detail."

Sam swallowed, "That's not for me to say. There are--regulations, and rules, on Earth. He'll need to--discuss this with our advisors."

"Will he--" Laira looked at her hands, competently rolling the dough despite her agitated voice. "Will he want to take us back to Earth? To raise my son there? I know," she turned the dough again, "he believes us to be no better than farmers. And I think--he said once that he wanted more for his children."

"That's something you'll have to discuss with the General." It hurt how easy it was for her to slip from jokingly calling him by his title to meaning it. Irrationally, she wanted to go back to that morning and accidentally unplug the alarm clock while they were still in bed. It would have made them late and the mission would have ended up scrapped. And she wouldn't be saying goodbye to her lover. The entire conversation was making Sam's skin crawl, made her want to scream and shout and rage.

Life was not fair.

"I see." A sigh escaped the Edoran woman, "I do not know if I wish to go to Earth. It's a pretty enough planet, from the pictures I've seen. But I don't know that I would enjoy living there."

Sam couldn't handle the conversation any longer. "As I said, you'll have to talk to him. And I should--go. Find Teal'c. Make sure he's settling in well." She flashed a fake smile at Laira, and then turned and fled, cursing her own cowardice until she was halfway down the lane. And realized she had no idea where anyone had gone.

--

When he'd agreed to help Laira create a child, Jack remembered having been convinced that it would be the only life he'd know. The rest of his life would be filled with Laira and children and farming. And fishing. He'd moved on, allowed himself to give up hope of ever returning to Earth. And so it had seemed right to make connections, to create something from nothing. Now, staring at the napping little boy, Jack wondered if that had been the wrong decision.

"You regret leaving."

He hadn't heard Laira approach, but he'd seen Carter run off earlier, and figured she'd be out eventually. "Sort of." He turned his gaze from the perfect little boy to his mother, "Why didn't you tell me?"

"I was... unsure, at first." She knelt next to him and sighed, "And when Charlie was born, I was very determined not to be a burden on anyone--least of all you. That first six months were hard, Garen helped us both." She fell silent for a moment, then said, "I almost accepted his offer of marriage."

"But you didn't."

"No." She glanced sideways at him, "Perhaps I wished that you would come. I can't say, now."

Jack shifted, uncomfortably aware that until the week before when the SGC had requested he join the delegation to Edora he hadn't even thought of Laira. Once or twice, yes. But never in a capacity as the mother of his child. "I would have come, if you'd asked."

"I didn't need you."

That hurt, and Jack shifted, staring again at the child, "Every boy needs his father."

"Yes." Laira tilted her head and looked at him. "He does."

--

"Colonel Carter." Teal'c's voice penetrated her thoughts, and Sam slowly turned her head to see him standing nearby.

The river spread out in front of her, the tree she sat against picturesquely placed. She sighed. "I'm a coward, Teal'c."

He came and sat nearby, crossing his legs as he folded himself down onto the grass. "I have never known you to be less than courageous, Colonel Carter."

"Well, I'm not anymore."

Teal'c let the silence fall between them for a time, then said, "You are wrong. Courage comes in many forms, Colonel Carter. To allow those we love to chart their own destiny is the hardest courage of all."

"And if that means losing something you've wanted forever?"

"Being selfless is a worthy trait."

"But I don't want to be selfless, Teal'c," Sam yanked a handful of grass, pulling the stems apart. "I want to be selfish and bitchy and horrible. I want to tattoo my name on his ass and kick her into the damn river. I want--" She stopped. "I want to pretend this day hasn't happened."

"And yet it has."

"Yeah." The handful of grass fluttered away from her open hand. "I should get back. Laira was going to demonstrate that device."

"She has decided it can wait until morning."

"Oh." Sam made a face. "I'm still sulking, Teal'c."

"I would not have said it first," the jaffa replied calmly.

"You're such a comfort," Sam muttered.

--

Dinner was a large affair, and Sam wondered if half the village were there to see them. She spent most of it chattering with various Edorans about the economy, their crops, the weather, the meteors, the weather, their crops... it was a never-ending cycle and she began to wonder why everyone claimed the pastoral life-style was so fulfilling. Sam figured she'd go insane in a week from lack of anything to do. Boredom would probably force her to try crazy schemes. Like building an airplane or jumping off a cliff.

She was getting the urge to do that more and more as the people moved around and chatted about inanities. And there was Laira, always with the general, and little Charlie, hanging on both of them.

"They make such a lovely couple," one woman cooed.

Sam couldn't remember her name, and suddenly didn't care. "I'm sure they do. Now, if you'll excuse me..." She stood and made her way around the edges of the crowd, smiling and dodging more conversation until she could slip outside into the night.

Thankfully, no one followed her, and she paced the yard for several minutes under the brilliant moon before her agitation finally dissipated.

This would not do. It wouldn't. She was an officer in the United States Air Force, for cryin' out loud! And a diplomat, to boot. She was here as a representative from Earth, and she needed to shove her personal feelings to the side and concentrate on the task at hand.

Which was new technology. As soon as the morning came, she would ask politely for a demonstration, decide whether it was worth Earth's attention, and then report back to the SGC.

Once there, she'd report that she had a conflict of interest and request SG-7 take over. It might cause some eyebrows to raise, but she knew she wouldn't deal fairly with the situation. Not at this stage.

Feeling relieved, Sam turned to head back into the party when something glinted on the ground, catching her eye. She stepped towards it, wondering absently who had dropped an earing. Just before she reached it, there was an impression of movement behind her and something slammed into the back of her head.

Darkness reeled her in and she fell forward into the dust. Her last thought was to wonder why the silver object looked so familiar.

--

"Sam? Sam, wake up, Sam." Daniel was calling.

With a start, Sam woke up. She groaned as her head started pounding. "Daniel?"

"Hey. Look who's decided to wake up and join us. Drink a little too much last night, Sam?"

"Daniel..." Trying to remember what had happened, Sam realized that her last memory was of something glinting in the moonlight. She shook her head, then winced as it made her hurt worse. "What happened?"

"Garen found you unconscious, Sam." Patting her shoulder, Daniel moved off the bed and stood. "We figured you'd had too much to drink. Jack says the stuff here is pretty potent--enough to knock an elephant on its ass."

"Oh." She frowned. "I don't--"

"Hey, Carter, sad to say, you've let the SG-1 side down. The marines are never going to believe you can hold your beer now, you know. Passing out after three drinks? Tsk, tsk."

"Can I kill him, Daniel?" Sam pleaded, her voice barely a whisper.

"No, Sam. Besides, he's right."

"I'm going to kill you both," she informed him, yanking the blanket over her head. "Now go away."

"Fine, fine..."

Dr. Jackson was still very devious, and apparently convincing. Sam was soon left alone to ponder her lack of a hangover (despite the sense of dislocation), and sleeping in.

It was when she turned over again that she remembered what had been on the ground.

She bolted upright, ignoring the pain and grabbed for her shirt--at least they'd left her pants on. In less than a second she'd yanked it on and headed for the door. It opened and Charlie came bouncing in, Laira behind him.

As she watched, Charlie shifted, stretched. Not a lot, but more than a kid should. "He grows fast."

"Great hormones," Laira replied, lips curving into an amused smile.

"Oh." Pasting a smile on her face, trying to decide whether her suspicion was correct or not, Sam gestured to the outer room, "Were you ready to demonstrate that new technology?"

"Sure."

Moving towards the door, Sam continued to smile. "Good. Because I really--"

Sam stopped moving, as a small child wrapped himself around her legs. "Hi."

"Uh, Charlie?" There was panic in the back of Sam's mind. Panic and dread, and she kept seeing metal glint in the moonlight.

"You really are most irritating," said Laira.

"No offence kid, but--"

"Oh, drop the act, Sam." Laira sounded irritated, even as Charlie let Sam go and stepped back.

Turning her head, dreading what she'd see, Sam was almost surprised to see Laira standing there, strange little smile on her lips. "What act?"

"I know you, remember?"

"Unless we've suddenly hopped a quantum mirror, no you don't, Laira." Sam looked back and was disturbed to find Charlie as tall as her shoulder, "My how you've grown."

"Samantha Carter. Earth's greatest asset." Laira moved around her, eyeing Charlie. "He's growing at a much faster exponential rate than I'd calculated."

Fear gripped her, but she didn't let it show. "Exponential? Explain yourself, Laira."

"Are you sure you want that, Samantha?"

The voice was deeper than a child's, and more chilling for its tone of superiority. Sam looked at Charlie and found herself eye to eye with a young man. His hair was no longer straight. Instead he had springy curls covering his head. Familiar curls and familiar eyes.

"Now this is interesting." Laira was still standing nearby, completely composed.

"And unexpected, of course," he replied.

"Possibly."

Sam swallowed and backed up. "I don't understand--how did you survive?"

Snorting, Laira tilted her head and studied Sam with the same eagle eye she'd studied the growing young man. "Have you finally realized how stupid lying is, Samantha?"

"Why Laira? Why this elaborate hoax?" Sam pointed at him.

"For the entertainment value, of course." Frowning, Laira rippled, the brown hair changing to golden. Her shape and face shifted, clothes following suit until an exact copy of Sam stood there. Right down to the sock that was missing from her foot. "What a pity you saw that block last night."

"Yeah, pity."

"And don't even try running or calling for help," her doppleganger said. "They're all off on a tour of the village."

"In space, no one can hear you scream?" Sam quipped, mouth dry.

"You screamed, Samantha." There was something smug in Fifth's tone.

Sam looked at him, Charlie had finally grown into a man. Tall and slim, hair curled slightly messily, boyish face lit up with a cold and jealous glee. "I suppose I did." She swallowed, "Why are you both here?"

"For fun, profit, replication," her own voice sounded amused. "Don't you recall what I told you last time, Sam? I have ambition and the will to use it to become something you will never be."

Eyeing the replicator who would be queen, Sam snorted, "You're just a machine. When all's said and done, you're just a machine, you have no capacity for imagination at all."

"I had imagination enough for this--" the replicator rippled and Laira was there again.

Sam shook her head, "That's not imagination, that's a plot out of a Harlequin romance novel."

"I know. It's the one Janet loaned you four years ago--what was it you used it for? Oh, yes, now I remember--"

"Carter, we--" The general stopped dead in the doorway, staring at them. His eyes touched Fifth, and then he looked at Laira. "Who are you?"

She laughed, for a moment holding the image, and then she rippled away, back to the replicator known as Eighth. "You humans. Always so gullible."

It was the distraction Sam had been waiting for. Her hands wrapped around the chair and she picked it up and swung it at Fifth. He turned at the last moment and it slammed into his face and chest, sending him staggering back. Eighth said something Sam ignored, as she ran past her and grabbed the general, jerking him out the door.

"There's nowhere to run, Sam," the replicator called, her voice taunting.

"Carter?"

Sam didn't answer him, keying her radio, "Daniel, Teal'c, come in." She ignored the pain caused by running barefoot on uneven ground. Next time, she'd remember her boots.

"We are here, Colonel Carter."

"Good. There's been an emergency back at the SGC, and they need us to return. I need you two to meet us at the gate, asap."

"Well, we'd love to, Sam, but there's this little matter of being captured by the replicators," Daniel replied mildly.

Trying not to swear, Sam glanced at the general, mind racing with possibilities. Then she smiled, "Daniel, I've got an idea..."

--

Really, Jack figured he was doing the best he could under the circumstances. First, an old lover appeared. Then, said lover had a kid, who was obviously Jack's. And named something rather painful. He'd assumed she just hadn't known. Or something. It didn't matter what he'd assumed anymore, because she wasn't real. She was a replicator pretending to be--about then, his brain gave up and decided that replicators were more than evil.

"Weren't they all destroyed, Carter?"

The blonde hastily doing something with wires and one of her gadgets shook her head, "We assumed wrong..." She shifted on her feet, and made a soft sound of pain, but went back to what she was doing.

Deciding that this was Carter's job, Jack left her to it and began looking around the cave. Poking here, prodding there. He seemed to recall spending way too much time in this very cave. But it probably was a different one than he'd spent the Edoran meteor bombardment in. It was the deepest cavern of the cave system that Carter had dragged him into.

At least, he hoped it was. Jack liked to think that he'd at least gotten a little further in his life than continually running around in circles.

Something that might have been guilt touched him as he remembered his reaction to the child he'd thought was his. And the way Carter had just shut down when she was around him. Jack figured there was nothing he could say. He sucked at the whole talking about feelings crap. And Carter would probably just tell him she didn't mind. After all, Charlie had seemed to be his son.

"Any time now, Carter."

Something that might have been an exasperated noise came from her. "Yes, sir. As soon as I can, sir."

Okay, so maybe irritating her wasn't the best thing he could do. But this cave was boring. "Carter, you gonna let me in on your plan to save our asses?"

"It's very simple, sir. The naquadah in the rocks should react with sufficient explosive capability to render--"

"Ah! You could have stopped at explosive, Carter."

The look she shot him was amused and irritated in equal parts. But she was--almost--grinning. "Sorry, sir."

"And stop with the sir."

She paused again and looked at him, "Why?"

"It's annoying."

A smirk flittered across her lips and she ducked down to fiddle with something. "Well, as we're in a combat situation, sir, I--"

"Carter! I'm practically retired! I have a crappy desk job, for cryin' out loud! I'm not your commanding officer anymore!" Jack clamped his lips closed, disturbed, and wondering where the hell that little outburst had come from.

She stared at him for a long moment, then shrugged, "I know that, Jack."

"Good."

Grabbing at the wall, she hauled herself to her feet, "But I also know that if Laira and Charlie had been real, I would never have been anything but your subordinate."

He couldn't tell her she was wrong.

After a moment of looking at him, she seemed to slump slightly, and turned away, reaching for her radio. "I'm finished."

In more ways than one, Jack figured. And he hated that fact.

--

Edora was still beautiful, Sam decided. It contained only dead memories and people, but the lush green of the foliage and the breezes made it all worthwhile. Almost. Her feet were still unhappy, but the general had taken off his own boots and handed over his socks, so she had a bit more protection. And the grass and ground cover wasn't too bad.

Movement came from the far side of the clearing, and the replicators came into view. "Gosh. You found us."

"Sam, I know you, remember?" The replicator was mocking again as she stepped to the front of the crowd.

"Do you." Sam glanced at Teal'c and Daniel, noting that the villagers holding them had given up the pretense and were standing preternaturally still. Her guess had been correct: all of the villagers were dead. "So, what's my big plan, then?"

"Something devious, I'm sure. You dragged us here to destroy us. But there's nothing you can do to destroy us, Sam."

"Yeah, you're like the Energizer bunny," Jack quipped. "You keep going and going until we use that weapon on Dakara again."

"Guess that makes them copper-tops then, Jack," called Daniel lazily.

Sam fought down a smile of pride. That was her team. Still feisty and mocking to the last. "So, Eighth, you were saying?"

"Forget it. Kill them, except her. I need her knowledge of the weapon on Dakara."

The replicator was half-turned away, the others moving with purpose when Sam pressed the button on her radio.

A loud boom shattered the peaceful air, and the ground trembled. It was enough of a diversion, and SG-1 took full advantage of it, all four members taking off down the pathway towards the gate. Behind them, the replicators recovered and started after SG-1.

"Carter?"

Without breaking stride, Sam gasped, "We have twenty minutes to make the gate and dial Earth." She could howl in pain over the rock she'd just stepped on later.

The general seemed to consider that. Neither Daniel nor Teal'c offered an opinion, both occupied with running. Something they should all have been doing. Sam shot a look over her shoulder and saw two of the replicators closing. She gauged the distance and their location, then dropped slightly back, letting the boys get ahead of her. The replicators drew closer and closer until, at the last possible moment, Sam surged ahead again, and pressed another button.

Another explosion shattered the peaceful afternoon, and Sam didn't bother to see if the C4 and shrapnel had felled the replicators. Since, if it hadn't, the big hole they'd fallen into would occupy them for a while.

"There!" Daniel was in the lead, heading for the DHD as they broke out into the clearing around the gate. Sam turned and scanned the woods, listening as he slapped his hands down on the glyphs, dialing them home. A moment later, the gate whooshed into existence and Sam quickly punched in the IDC. "Sam?"

"Go!"

As three replicators broke through into the clearing, SG-1 ran into the gate.

Sam was the last one through, and her head snapped up as she shouted, "Close the iris!"

When the metal had slid into place, there was nothing to hear, but Sam wondered if replicators made thunking sounds when they didn't re-integrate on the SGC side of the wormhole.

After a moment, the gate shut down.

SG-1 stood, panting, as the SGC swirled around them. General Landry stared at the four team-members, "Colonel, General, what the hell is going on?"

"Carter?"

"Replicators, sir. And I'd suggest having Edora locked out of the dialing computer."

"What?"

Sam looked up at the gateroom, "Sergeant, dial Edora."

While Daniel took over confusing Landry, Sam stood at the bottom of the ramp and watched the chevrons lock into place. Until the seventh one spun up. "Chevron Seven will not lock, sir."

"That's what I thought."

"Carter?" Now he was standing closer, eyeing her with misgiving. "What did you do?"

"Well, sir, it's not quite as spectacular as blowing up a sun."

"Carter."

"I blew up Edora, sir."

--

"--no right, Colonel, to decide--"

"I think I did, sir."

"Washington will be hearing from me about this."

"That's fine, sir."

"I'm putting an official reprimand--an entire planet, Colonel!"

"Full of replicators, sir."

"As if that makes a difference."

"Permission to speak freely, sir."

"Granted."

"You can take your official reprimand and shove it where the sun don't shine. Sir."

"...COLONEL!"

--

Daniel wandered into Sam's lab to find her staring vacantly at her laptop. "Sam?"

"Hrm?"

He flopped onto the stool across from her, and propped an elbow on the lab bench. "So. You blew up a planet."

"Mhmm."

"One could be coerced into asking how."

"Very technical."

"You explained it to Jack."

That got her to actually look at him. Her eyes were blank. "Actually, I didn't get the chance to. He cut me off."

"Oh."

"I caused a chain reaction in the naquadah."

Daniel considered this, then nodded, "All right. And the reprimand?"

"Officially, I'm to be reprimanded. Unofficially, I've been told that the replicators being blown up is a good thing." Sam smiled thinly. "No disciplinary action, this time, though they wagged their fingers at me."

"Ah." Tilting his head, Daniel eyed the random assortment of things on her bench. "So. Jell-o?"

For a moment, Sam stared at him. Then she chuckled. "Jell-o it is. I just need to save this report."

--

Several nights later, Sam lay curled half on Jack, half on the bed. She'd been thinking.

"Jack?"

"What?"

"No--" but it wasn't nothing. She looked at him, "Jack, we're not going to be the normal American family. I can't--don't... Children are probably not in our future, I'm not going to be meek, and I burn bread, and--"

"Carter." His hand touched her cheek. "It was nice, but it wasn't... It wasn't me. And I'm not..." He sighed, "I'm not sure what I would have decided, but being a father again--for real..." He trailed off, trying to think of words to convey what he meant. And failing.

"Oh." She looked at him. "I guess... I see."

"Besides. Where else am I going to find a hot astrophysicist that whines when she hasn't had her coffee, won't kiss me for fear of gingivitis in the morning, and hates my toaster?"

Sam shrugged, "I don't know. Try putting an ad in the paper?"

Growling, he rolled, dragging her beneath him. "Carter."

"Jack."

"Have I told you lately how hot you are?"

Sam wriggled, pushing against him, making him groan. "No."

"Well, you are." His hand drifted down her skin, groping. "Really. Damn. Hot."

"Uh-huh." She stopped wriggling and patted his chest. "Go to sleep, Jack."

"What if I don't want to?" His hand slid between her legs.

"Then," she sucked in a breath and wriggled again, "I guess we're not sleeping."

"Good." Jack kissed her shoulder and proceeded to kiss his way to her breasts. "Because, I'm really not sleepy. At all."

A soft moan escaped her lips, and she was definitely having trouble breathing properly. "I can-- tell."

He smirked and then gently nibbled on her skin. "Tired, Carter?"

"Not anymore." Her hips rocked, and she pressed upwards against his hand. "And Daniel's right. You do need rubber bands."

--

On an ethereal plane, on a planet that looked black from space, two figures suddenly formed from the debris on the ground.

Eighth sat up and poked at her swiftly-forming clothing. "I hate when that happens."

"Well, you killed me first." Her companion pointed out, lounging onto his side.

"That's because you're weak."

"And this insane need to make Sam Carter suffer isn't a weakness?"

"No. It's business."

"Right."

She glared at him, hands on her hips. "...you suck."

"And you look ridiculous," Fifth returned, smirking.

"I will get the information I need."

"One day." He patted the bed of replicator blocks. "C'mere."

She made a face, but complied, muttering as she snuggled up against him "I should never have let you keep her memories."

"Probably not." He kissed her cheek, and settled down. They would re-gather their strength, and then return to the Earth galaxy and wreak their own kind of havoc on a little blue-green world that wasn't very remarkable, in the grand scheme of things.

-f-

Further notes:
The request: by Liz Who would like: Sex, RepliCarter and/or Fifth, Hero!Sam But does not want: weak & passive Sam, Sam or Jack dying, Sam and Jack completely blissful together (must have ANGST of some kind!)

The concept: Laira is Replicarter with child who is teh Fifth.

Lyssie and Liz brainshare, less than three days apart.

No, seriously, I had the idea whilst driving home from the comic store on Friday, and Liz came up with it, like, Sunday.