To Save A Life
A/N: Time to start another story - I have been missing the writing process! I am returning to my specialty of having kids in the fics - something I know well. This story takes place at the end of season 8, right after Jacob passes away. I will veer from what really happened in seasons 9 and 10, but I don't like to call this AU as that implies it is not the Jack and Sam we all know and love. SO instead, I would prefer to think of taking creative license of the characters, which of course, I do know own! I hope you enjoy this tale of action/adventure, some angst, humor, and of course, a good dose of Jack/Sam shippiness! Chapters 1 and 2 set things up, 3 is where the action starts, so hope you can be patient! Thanks for reading!
Chapter 1 – Together Again
Fingers templed under his chin, Jack gazed across the table and listened to the proliferations of his friend. The younger man was just so predictable in his enthusiasm for anything new that Jack had to bite back a smile. He was a general after all, and generals didn't normally smile during briefings. Jack forced his face to remain impassive as Daniel finally turned his body from the screen he had been pointing to and threw an earnest look Jack's way.
"So, what do you say Jack? Can we go to P7Z-951?" Jack continued to regard him impassively, causing Daniel to frown. "Jack? Did you hear a single word I said?"
Jack finally took his fingers from under his chin and sighed. "More than one, Daniel, especially seeing as you've been talking non-stop for the last," he looked at his watch, "Oh, 40 minutes I think it's been. Right Carter?"
Startled, Sam looked up. In truth, she had been paying even less attention than Jack, if that was even possible. She flushed in embarrassment as Jack continued looking at her, his eyes narrowing in puzzlement at her uncharacteristic distraction. For a brief moment, Jack thought about all she had been through in the past month and was concerned that she wasn't as ready to get back out there as she implied. "I'm sorry, Sir. What was the question?" Sam interrupted his thoughts. Daniel and Teal'c shared a quick look of unease at her words. Like Jack, they were more than a little worried that she wasn't quite ready to move on from both her father's death and her broken engagement to a certain Denver Police Officer who, by the way, they were not sorry to see gone from their friend's life.
Feeling three sets of eyes on her, Sam sighed. "Uh, guess I was thinking about something else. Sorry, Daniel." She gave him a sheepish look, which Daniel waved away but continued to regard her with friendly concern.
"I was saying, Carter, how Daniel's been going on for about 40 minutes, not letting anyone get a word in edgewise," Jack brought her attention back to him.
Sam glanced at her watch, surprised that they could have been in the briefing room for that long and she hadn't been aware of it. Smiling slightly as she regarded the time, she shook her head and replied. "I think it's only been 20 minutes, Sir," she offered, casting Daniel a quick look. Seeing the impatient look cross the younger man's face and knowing how serious he was about this newest information they had gathered, she hastily added, "I have to agree with Daniel, Sir. If, as he says, there's another spire of prophesy on P7Z-951 like the one Maybourne found, it could be significant." Although she hadn't been listening to the briefing, she had read Daniel's reports and so knew what the upcoming mission would entail.
Jack gave her an incredulous look. "I thought you weren't paying attention?"
Sam smiled at him. "I'm quite good at multi-tasking, Sir."
Jack snorted at that and muttered, "Don't I know it," then added more loudly, "I was under the distinct impression that you wanted nothing more to do with Maybourne, Carter." He smirked slightly as he recalled with humor her reaction not long ago to the other man's announcement of having to get back to his "wives".
As if reading his mind, Sam wrinkled her nose in distaste. The audacity of Maybourne still irked her. Aside form the whole polygamy thing, the fact that, in the very recent past he had stolen her weapon and zatted her with it, didn't help endear him to her in the least. "Maybourne gave us the gate address, Sir. Beyond that, I'm hoping he has nothing more to do with this mission," she stated with a certain amount of disdain.
"Now Carter, Maybourne's not that bad," Jack placated. "He did have a nice feast prepared for all of you, as I recall. Even had some fancy new fruit that you all got to try…" Jack lips quirked into a smile, which Sam dutifully ignored.
"I must concer with Colonel Carter, O'Neill. I find Harry Maybourne to be a most unpleasant individual and will be most relieved that he will not be present during this mission." Sam threw Teal'c a look of gratitude for his support.
Jack frowned at Teal'c's interference. The big guy really seemed to have lost his sense of humor over the last few months. Trying to bring everyone back on topic, Daniel interjected, "So, about the mission…does this mean we'll be going? Because if we are…" he looked pointedly at his watch.
Jack turned his attention back to Daniel, who stood looking at him expectantly, one eyebrow raised and arms crossed. After staring at each other for several moments, Jack finally stated, "Yes, Daniel. You can go." A look of relief crossed Daniel's face and he opened his mouth to speak, but before he could say a word, Jack held up a finger. "Uh-uh. There is going to be one little change in plans, however."
Daniel closed his eyes and dropped his head momentarily. Announcements like the one Jack just made were never good. The other two members of SG-1 turned to look at each other before putting their attention on their leader. Turning his head to look at each of them in turn, Jack smiled widely. "I think I'll tag along on this one, kids. Haven't been out for a while…well, aside from seeing Maybourne a few months ago. Need to stretch the old legs and all, you know."
Daniel's head rose and he looked at Jack thoughtfully before replying, "That might not be such a bad idea. You coming with I mean," he clarified when Jack frowned darkly at him. "The spire could be written in Ancient. You could be useful…" he trailed off, deep in thought.
"Gee, thanks Daniel," Jack replied sarcastically.
"Your presence will be most welcome, O'Neill," Teal'c offered with sincerity, the earlier censure gone from his voice.
"Now that's more like it," Jack replied lightly. Then he looked expectantly at Sam.
Smiling and shaking her head, she said, "It will be good to have you back on the team, Sir."
Jack returned her smile, glad to see the familiar sparkle return to her eyes, before he turned back to Daniel. "So Danny, would it be safe to assume there are no restless natives or nasty Jaffa to contend with on this planet?"
"Uh, as far as I know," Daniel replied, pushing his glasses up his nose. "According to Maybourne, they're relatively primitive, like the people on his planet. Actually, there is a fairly small population on P7Z-951. When Ares attacked centuries ago, he didn't leave many of the original people behind. They've had a fairly difficult time repopulating the planet, what with the frequent raids, high mortality rate and all."
Sam frowned at that news. "Do you have any idea why they didn't relocate to Maybourne's planet?"
"Well, aside from the fact that they don't engage in gate travel, apparently the people on Maybourne's planet have strong suspicions against the people from Tarona," Daniel replied, referring to P7Z-951 by name. "Something that goes way back, but Maybourne wasn't certain what it was all about," Daniel shrugged his shoulders.
"Do they know anything about the spire?" Sam questioned again, her curiosity about this new discovery getting the better of her.
"Not much. Apparently it's been pretty well hidden. In fact," Daniel turned back to his notes, "According to Maybourne, it's hidden within a structure of caves just outside of the main village. The people of Tarona didn't really care all that much about it, so have pretty much left it alone."
Jack got to his feet and said with a grin. "Ah, just what I like…a good game of hide and seek to keep things lively. And we should have plenty of time to search. Have a nice jaunt…a leisurely stroll so to speak." He rubbed his hands together with exaggerated glee, and a boyish grin appeared on his face. "With those pesky Goa'uld all but wiped out, this should be a walk in the park."
Sam and Teal'c had risen to their feet along with Jack, both of them eager to get going, for entirely different reasons. Teal'c turned and eyed Jack with some consternation. "I believe the Tauri saying that one should not put the conveyance before the equine is most relevant in this instance, O'Neill," he stated decisively. "Such arrogance often precedes a warrior's demise."
Sam and Daniel froze for a moment, then bit back smiles at the stoic warrior's words. Jack looked at Teal'c in surprise, not having expected that particular comeback from his old friend. Jack's look of surprise turned to a frown of annoyance as he watched the grin that spread across Teal'c's face mere moments later. Teal'c inclined his head at Jack as he passed the speechless General. Daniel and Sam followed him out, both of them bursting into laughter once they had exited the briefing room. Jack took a moment, then shrugged his shoulders. Maybe the Jaffa hadn't lost his sense of humor after all.
As the reunited team made their way up the ramp, ready to embark on a mission of discovery, Jack looked at Sam out of the corner of his eye. It had only been a little over a month since her father had passed away and he'd be lying to himself if he didn't acknowledge a tiny bit of concern for her. OK, a lot of concern, he amended silently. Sure, she was stronger emotionally than anyone else he knew, but there was a certain something missing from her eyes every now and again when her gaze met his. And so, when Teal'c and Daniel passed through the event horizon, Jack put a restraining hand on Sam's arm, stopping her progress. She immediately turned to him, giving him a quizzical look.
Wanting to make sure no extra ears were listening, Jack glanced quickly behind him and then back at Sam. "You doing all right, Carter?" he asked softly. When her eyes narrowed slightly in confusion, he added, "I know you've assured me repeatedly and all that you're ready to get back into things, but…well, it has only been a month." His gaze locked on her intently, scrutinizing her features as he waited for her to answer.
Understanding the meaning behind his query, Sam gave him a gentle smile and briefly rested her hand on his arm. "I'm fine, Sir. I know it hasn't been long but…well, I spent a relaxing week at a friend's cabin and…what can I say? Fishing is definitely underrated."
Jack's gaze bored into hers, searching for the sincerity of her words, before his face slowly broke into a wide grin. "Always thought so myself, Carter," he agreed lightly. They shared a warm smile before Jack cant his head toward the gate. "Come on; let's go see what we can find in the Emerald City." And with that, the two officers disappeared through the Stargate, leaving a slightly perplexed Walter Harriman staring after them from up in the glass enclosed booth.