Carolyn rapped on the door to her father's office before entering; she wasn't surprised to find him with his head in his hands. "Are you going to do it?"
Landry stared hard at the form in front of him, "I honestly don't know. The entire control room heard him disobeyed the order, twice; one the other hand, I can sympathize with why he did it. Hell, I probably would have done the same thing in his shoes." He finally raised his head to look at her, "How is he?"
Considering, most of the blood running through his veins right now isn't his, he's doing remarkably well. Assuming no other complications arise, he'll make a full recovery. He fractured the distal end of his tibia, so that will keep him off your mission roster for at least six weeks. If you decide to let him keep his team, that is." She knew this was a hard decision for him and was damn glad she wasn't the one making it.
He nodded, avoiding her eyes, "what would you do?"
"I'm not in the military for a reason, dad." She gave him a sad smile as she walked out the door, "I'll call you when he wakes up."
"Great," Landry picked up the form again and reached for a pen.
"Well, Col Carter, you're free to go. However, knowing the three of you, I'll leave the bed open and have some extra blankets brought over."
Daniel looked up in surprise, "you're not going to kick us out?"
"Would it work," Carolyn asked in amusement.
"No" "Nope" "It would not"
Lam shook her head, "that's what I thought. Well, I think we've had enough orders disobeyed for one day, you can stay until he wakes up."
Sam gave her a grateful smile, "thanks, Carolyn."
Lam checked on her patient one last time before heading to her office. His temperature was slightly elevated, but that was to be expected with the infection. She was confident the antibiotics would keep things under control. Looking at his bruised face she prayed the General would let him off easy. Asleep, his face held an innocence that she hadn't seen in him for a number of months.
"You think he knew how badly he was hurt?"
The silence stretched on as the three friends debated whether or not they really wanted to know the answer to that question. Cam had made no secret of his almost hero-like worship of them when he'd first come to the SGC; over time that respect had grown, but it had also become grounded in reality. He had learned that none of them were perfect and they had learned that he would do anything to protect them and the earth.
Cursing an intellectual mind that wouldn't quit, Jackson pulled his chair over to Cam's bed. "I'll take first watch, you guys get some sleep." He turned back thirty seconds later to find Sam fast asleep on the bed and Teal'c beginning his kel-no-reem. Shaking his head, he turned back to the pale figure in the bed. "Well, you did it, we all made it back safe and sound. But one of these days I'm going to get you to figure out that your life is worth just as much as ours are." He sat back and let his mind wander back over the past nine years and the team Cameron had worked so hard to bring back together.
Daniel nearly jumped out of his chair when a hand landed on his shoulder, Sam grinned down at him as he tried to catch his breath. "My turn, go get some sleep."
Carter took Cameron's limp hand in her own. "You know you're taking years off our lives don't you; between you, Jack and Daniel I've probably lost twenty years already. Hell, even Teal'c looked a little pale when he and Daniel followed your stretcher in here." Sam knew that she was rambling, but that's what you were supposed to do in situations like this. "I don't think any of us expected to get that family back you know, but I think I can safely say that we've gained a stereotypical little brother and sister, where ever Vala ended up. But you are family, Cam."
"Can't be –little brother."
Sam was only half surprised when the muddled voice interrupted her monolog, "Why's that?"
Cam cleared his throat and took the offered glass of water. "Cause then Jackson would be able to beat me at hoops." Mitchell managed a half grin before a yawn took over. "Going back to sleep now, you guys go home, I'm fine."
Sam just patted his hand and gave him a patronizing smile. "Whatever you say, sir." She knew in her heart, that no matter what happened now, they would always be family.
The next morning Lam found her father in exactly the same position she'd left him in the night before. Taking in his haggard appearance and dark circles under his eyes, she knew he hadn't slept at all. "He's awake enough for you to talk to now, just go easy on him." She smiled sadly, "I think he's already resigned himself to losing his team."
Landry nodded, "I'll be down in a minutes." He looked at the form on his desk one last time before dropping it into the shredder. The rest of SG-1 was already in the infirmary surrounding their injured team leader when he got there. The image that came to mind when they each turned a glare in his direction was that of a pack protecting their young. Cameron, on the other hand, sat up a little straighter in bed and saluted. "At ease Col. and the rest of you can relax too. It turns out I'm not as much of a hard-ass as I'd like to think I am." He directed his attention back to Mitchell who had melted back into the bed with relief, "but if you ever do anything even half that stupid again and I will personally kick your ass all the way back down to private, understood."
"Yes sir." Mitchell tried to keep the fact that he would go back and do it all over again if he had to, out of his voice. It drove him nuts that he could already feel his energy waning even though he'd only been awake for fifteen minutes.
Carter put a hand on his shoulder as Landry walked out. "Cam, why did you disobey his order?"
"-my responsibility," he managed to get out around a yawn.
Daniel bounced on the balls of his feet a couple of times, "um, what was that?"
Cameron managed enough energy to wrinkle his nose at Jackson's goofy grin. "I said you guys are my responsibility." He braced himself to get yelled at. "When Gen O'Neill and I talked about me taking this assignment, I gave him my word that as long as I was breathing I would protect you guys. I guess he knew I'd eventually get you all back," a small smile played over his lips.
The three members of his team shared a look. "Look Mitchell-"
"Jackson, I don't give my word lightly but I did give it willingly. Look, your guys' job is to figure out a way to defeat the Ori, my job is to protect you so that you can. Guys, I'm fading fast here; you have the day off, go home and get some sleep." Cam rolled onto his uninjured side and buried his face in the pillow, effectively ending the conversation.
"We will visit you tomorrow, Col Mitchell." He turned to leave, realizing just how similar Mitchell and O'Neill were in certain ways, a willingness to do anything for what they believed in being the main one.
Daniel watched Teal'c walk out the door. "I'm glad you're ok, Mitchell, but the General's right, please don't ever do anything that stupid again." Sam followed Daniel's retreating back, but not before laying a comforting hand on Cam's shoulder and whispering a single word in his exposed ear.
Cameron smiled sleepily into the pillow. Carter was right, they were a family; very strange and slightly dysfunctional one, but a family none the less.