Stargate SG1 is somebody else's, probably MGM/Gekko Corp/Sci-fi, and I freely admit that whoever's it is, I'm borrowing their show and they retain all rights, etc
This is the second volume of Aftershocks and will contain TAGs for Season Three and Season Four. The TAGs focus on how the characters reacted to their various missions, what impact it had on them and their relationships. As I briefly recap the episode that precedes it at the head of the story, there are spoilers for all the Stargate SG1 episodes included! Each chapter is a TAG; each is complete and can be read as a stand alone although like the episodes there are continuing themes.
Pairings are in line with those established within the series either real or suggested, (e.g. Jack/Sam, Daniel/Sha're, Teal'c/Drey'auc). There is an author's note preceding each story with any specific story dynamics highlighted. You will find Aftershocks I (TAGs covering Seasons One and Two) and Aftershocks III (TAGs covering Seasons Five and Six) under my profile. You don't need to read vol one to enjoy this volume.
Author's Note: Teal'c/Team friendship. Sam/Jack UST.
Out of Mind/Into the Fire Recap: Jack wakes up after being cryogenically frozen and is told that he in the SGC but it's the future and the rest of SG1 is dead. A General asks Jack to provide information about possible allies through use of a memory device; Jack asks to be shown around first. He is taken on a tour of the SGC and is satisfied that he's actually there. He remains quietly devastated at the deaths of his team-mates. As Jack rests, it is revealed that elsewhere in the SGC, Sam and Daniel are also being revived separately and informed that the others are dead. Jack overhears the General and the doctor speaking in Goa'uld and removes the tubes feeding him medication. At the earliest opportunity he escapes and explores. He realises that the SGC is fake and he's in a Goa'uld complex.
Back at the real SGC, Teal'c awakes to be told by General Hammond that he was found left for dead on a planet three weeks before; the rest of SG1 are missing and they don't know where they are. When Hammond tells Teal'c that they can't continue to search for SG1, Teal'c leaves. He returns to Chulak in the hope of raising an army to help him search for SG1. Back at the SGC, the Tok'ra have sent information detailing the whereabouts of SG1 and a rescue mission is put together led by Colonel Makepeace.
Meanwhile, Jack discovers Sam and they explore the base together. They find Daniel. They search for a way out but are stopped in the fake gate room; Hathor is responsible for their abduction. She threatens to make one of them a host and the symbiote chooses Jack. Jack is implanted but luckily it is interrupted by the rescue mission which allows the doctor, who is actually a Tok'ra operative to freeze him again, killing the Goa'uld.
Sam and Daniel are rescued by Makepeace who refuses to let them go back for Jack. However, when they try to return to the Stargate, they find their way blocked by a force-shield and they take heavy fire. They take refuge in the Tok'ra tunnels and Hammond radios them confirming he will send back-up. Sam comes up with a plan to blow the generator back in the complex to bring down the force-shield; Makepeace agrees to let her go back. Daniel is unable to go with her because he is injured.
Hammond is informed by Major Davis that the President and the Pentagon are refusing to send more back up. He travels to Chulak where he joins up with Teal'c who has recruited a few Jaffa to the cause.
Sam manages to revive Jack and confirms he's not a Goa'uld. Hathor catches her and is torturing her with the hand device when Jack kills Hathor, throwing her into the freezing vapour of the cryogenic chamber. Sam and Jack hug fiercely, clinging onto each other as Jack notes he's cold; very cold but he's himself. The gravely injured Tok'ra tells them where to find the generator and they set C4 charges.
Back at the Stargate, the rest of the rescue team including Daniel has been caught. Jack delays them until the Stargate activates; Sam blows the generator and Teal'c with Hammond in the back seat, zips out of the Stargate in the old ship and they destroy one of the Goa'uld firing towers guarding the Stargate. They are followed by the Jaffa and Bra'tac. After a brief battle, SG1 is finally reunited.
'Hear me, Jaffa.' Teal'c's strong voice boomed out over the small gathering of beaten Jaffa. 'Your God – False God – lies dead. Join with me and we will fight for our freedom together.' He looked over their faces eagerly. He saw anger in some; not unexpected in light of their recent defeat. There was disbelief and disgust; the word shol'var might not be spoken but Teal'c could read it well enough in their eyes. Finally, in a couple of the young Jaffa, he saw what he was searching for; the flickering of hope.
'Hathor is truly dead?' One asked.
'Gods do not die.' Another bit out.
'Hathor is dead.' Teal'c's words were coated with smug satisfaction and, more than that, complete certainty that removed any doubt that he spoke the truth.
One of the younger Jaffa rose to his feet. 'I am Syro'c. I will join you.'
Teal'c clasped his shoulder and bowed his head a little in acknowledgement. 'You are welcome, brother.'
'Shol'var!' One of the Jaffa's spat at Syro'c, his aim falling far from his target.
Teal'c nodded at Bra'tac. The older Jaffa stepped in and ushered their newest recruit away from the line of his former comrades. Teal'c gestured at one of the men he'd recruited on Chulak to assume guard duty and made his way back across the clearing to where the rest of SG1 stood in front of the Stargate.
His heart lifted at the sight of the three humans. His sorrow at learning of their disappearance when he had recovered from his injuries was replaced by joy at seeing them alive if not completely unscathed by their experience. A deep sense of satisfaction settled over him; his determination to find them despite their own world seemingly giving up on the search had been richly rewarded.
General Hammond stepped in front of Teal'c suddenly, bringing him to a halt a few yards from his friends. The General beamed at him. 'Teal'c, I cannot thank you enough.'
'It was my pleasure, General Hammond.' Teal'c acknowledged.
'That was some ride, wasn't it?' Hammond motioned back at the circular ship they had flown through the wormhole from Chulak.
Teal'c noted the glee in the other man's voice indulgently, remembering how excited the General had been when they had shot out one of the Goa'uld guard towers; he needed to ask Daniel Jackson the meaning of the word 'yee-hah', he mused. 'You have excellent aim, General Hammond.' He said out loud.
Hammond's smile widened in response. 'Well, it's nice to know this old dog can still cut it on occasion.' He admitted.
Teal'c raised an eyebrow; Hammond was a relative youngster to himself.
'That was some shooting, sir.' Jack O'Neill said dryly. He'd caught the General's comment as the rest of SG1 had closed the gap between themselves and their Jaffa team-mate.
'I'm just glad it worked out, Colonel.' Hammond said, frowning in concern at the other man's appearance.
Teal'c's dark eyes followed the General's and swept over Jack briskly. The Air Force officer had put a camouflage jacket on over the white clothing that he was dressed in but it was clear from the way he held himself that he was cold. There were lines of tension bracketing his mouth and his brown eyes were weary.
'I am pleased to see you well, O'Neill.' Teal'c said. His gaze left the military man and settled on his other two team-mates; Samantha Carter, who smiled at him warmly, and the injured Daniel.
'We're pleased to see you too, Teal'c.' The archaeologist cut in before Jack could reply. 'We were wondering what Hathor had done to you.'
'Teal'c was left for dead when you were captured.' Hammond explained.
All three team-mates turned to Teal'c in concern.
'You OK there, Teal'c?' Jack asked, shoving his hands deep in the pockets of his jacket.
'I am well.' Teal'c confirmed. 'Doctor Fraiser was able to stabilise my condition.'
Sam placed her hand on his arm. 'It must have been pretty serious, Teal'c.'
'It took him three weeks to recover.' Hammond said quietly.
'How long have we been missing?' Daniel asked. He winced as he put weight on his injured leg and Teal'c immediately shifted to allow the younger man to lean against him.
'Four weeks.' Hammond confirmed. 'We were worried you weren't going to make it home this time.'
'Nah!' Jack brushed off the hint of worry in the General's pale blue eyes. 'It was all under control, sir.'
'Sure.' Daniel agreed, pushing his glasses up his nose. 'If you call getting captured by Hathor, cryogenically frozen and told you were in the future and your team was dead.'
'Daniel…' Jack glared at him.
'Sirs, we should secure the prisoners.' Sam diverted the two men as she waved a hand at the sitting Jaffa.
'My men and I will deal with them.' Teal'c confirmed as he glanced briefly over to check.
Jack's eyebrows rose and there was a flicker of concern through his tired eyes. 'My men and I?'
Teal'c met Jack's questioning gaze sadly. His previous happiness at being reunited disappeared abruptly with the stark realisation that his place wasn't with them any longer. 'I regret to inform you, O'Neill, that I have left SG1.'
Sam's mouth fell open slightly before it snapped shut.
'Left?' Jack's voice rose.
'What do you mean 'left'?' Daniel asked worriedly.
'Exactly,' Jack nodded enthusiastically, 'what do you mean?'
'It was my fault,' Hammond interjected, 'I believed our search had come to a dead end.' He nodded at the sober Jaffa in front of him. 'Teal'c believed otherwise and he left to find you.'
'And you did a great job.' Jack said swiftly. 'Great.'
'So, you can come back now.' Daniel added. His blue eyes beseeched Teal'c hopefully.
'Daniel's right.' Sam's blue eyes joined Daniel's in pleading with the Jaffa.
'Right, Teal'c?' Jack prompted.
Teal'c couldn't speak. His heart clenched sending a shooting pain through his chest. He straightened imperceptibly and shook his head. 'I cannot.'
The words ricocheted around the small group like a wild bullet, jolting and wounding. Sam's eyes gleamed brightly with tears before she turned her head away into the wind. Jack looked down at the ground, trying to hide his disappointment under an act of indifference.
'Why?' Daniel blurted out the question, his stricken expression telling its own story.
'You're more than welcome to come back with us, Teal'c.' Hammond said firmly.
'I have given my word to lead these men.' Teal'c informed them quietly. 'I must keep it.'
'Of course.' Hammond murmured, understanding dawning in his pale blue eyes. 'It's been an honour, Teal'c.' He looked around at the stunned faces of Teal'c's former SG1 team-mates. 'Why don't I give you a moment?' He headed back across the clearing and began issuing orders to leave.
'I can't believe this.' Daniel muttered, wrapping his arms tightly around his chest. 'Are you really sure about this, Teal'c?'
'I have considered it most carefully, Daniel Jackson.' Teal'c confirmed. His voice was resolute and he could see his team-mates start to accept his determination.
Sam moved suddenly. She darted across the space and wrapped Teal'c in a hug. 'I'm going to miss you.'
Teal'c tentatively hugged her back. 'I will miss you also, Captain Carter.'
She let go of him and walked way quickly but not before Teal'c saw the wet residue of tears trickling down her face.
Daniel offered his hand. Teal'c took it solemnly before Daniel shifted his grip and briefly hugged the Jaffa. 'Stay safe, Teal'c.' Daniel's voice was choked; his blue eyes glistened behind his glasses. He followed after Sam and Teal'c watched with Jack as the archaeologist caught up with their female team-mate.
'You really going to do this?' Jack asked; the lazy tone at odds with the intent look that he pinned on his friend.
'I must.' Teal'c confirmed.
'I still think you'd be better sticking with us.' Jack offered. He rocked back on his heels. 'Tactically speaking.'
Teal'c stayed quiet. He couldn't disagree with the Colonel's assessment.
'But if you must, you must.' Jack concluded. His eyes met Teal'c's regretfully.
The Jaffa saw that the military man understood. He inclined his head, dimly aware of the Stargate activating across the clearing and the swift departure of the Tau'ri troops. 'I owe you much, O'Neill.'
'You've more than paid me back.' Jack said as he waved away the praise. 'Don't go mushy on me here, Teal'c.' The lift of an eyebrow in response had Jack's throat closing up. 'Damn it.' He hugged his friend.
Jack sighed as Teal'c's gaze drifted back to their remaining team-mates. 'Come on.'
There was only Daniel and Sam left by the Stargate by the time the two of them had walked over.
Sam handed Teal'c a GDO device. 'General Hammond told me to give this to you, Teal'c. Your personal code will be active so if you ever want to visit…'
Teal'c clutched the device to his chest and nodded at her, unable to speak again.
Jack jerked his head at the wormhole. 'You guys go ahead.'
Daniel offered a small wave at Teal'c and took Sam's arm as they headed up the steps. They disappeared into the blue.
'I want you to know you can come back anytime.' Jack gestured at Teal'c. 'Anytime.' He stressed.
'Take care, my friend.' Teal'c replied solemnly.
'You too.' Their gaze held for a moment. 'OK.' Jack said slowly. 'I'd better…' He indicated the wormhole. He made his way up the steps and paused in front of the event horizon. He turned and gave a formal salute before he walked through the blue puddle. The wormhole winked out.
Teal'c blinked back the tears pressing at him. He started as a hand fell heavily on his shoulder.
Bra'tac smiled at him understandingly. 'Come, Teal'c. There is much to do.'
'Indeed, old friend.' Teal'c murmured. He took a final look at the Stargate before he followed his mentor.
The hours passed in a blur. Teal'c took the majority of the small group he had gathered to scavenge in Hathor's complex while Bra'tac and another dealt with the Jaffa who had refused to join them. Syro'c proved to be an asset. He led the way through the mostly destroyed building to what remained of the armoury and food stores. Teal'c set his small army the task of gathering supplies and taking them back to the clearing in front of the Stargate while he made his way through the blackened ruins, searching for any other survivors or warriors they had missed. There was nothing in the building itself and Teal'c headed for the Tok'ra tunnels.
He was pleased with the time alone. It afforded him the opportunity to consider his decision. When Apophis had died in the SGC infirmary, he had been torn on whether to return to Chulak. He had finally been convinced that staying with the Tau'ri would have a greater benefit in fighting the Goa'uld than if he left to try and gather a Jaffa force. The small group of warriors that had been prepared to volunteer to join him despite Apophis's death suggested it had been the right decision.
Teal'c frowned at the thought but silently allowed that he would never have left the Tau'ri had he felt that there was another option available to find his missing team-mates. Yet, while his own motive had been mostly selfish, the warriors inspired to join him were fighting for the grander notion of freedom, something Teal'c had already achieved. They did not deserve for him to abandon them simply because staying with them required him to make a personal sacrifice; walking away from the family he had created with SG1. It was not the first time he had made such a sacrifice, Teal'c reminded himself; he had left his wife and child to join the Tau'ri. It probably would not be the last such sacrifice he made either.
A low moan brought him abruptly out of his reverie and he gripped his staff weapon tightly as he took a step cautiously around the corner. A woman sat huddled on the floor.
'Kree!' Teal'c snarled and her head snapped around. He sensed the symbiote immediately. 'Goa'uld!'
'No, Tok'ra.' It was the host that spoke and Teal'c lowered his weapon although it was still aimed at her.
'You are Tok'ra?' Teal'c checked. His dark eyes took in the white apparel and the bedraggled appearance. There had been talk of a Tok'ra agent saving O'Neill, he remembered.
'I'm Eleni. My symbiote is Ula.' The Tok'ra woman staggered to her feet. 'Hathor gravely injured us. Ula was barely able to save me in time for us to avoid the explosion of the generator.'
'Colonel O'Neill and Captain Carter spoke of you.' Teal'c confirmed gruffly.
'You are Teal'c.' Eleni smiled at the flicker of surprise that she knew his name. 'You are often spoken about amongst the Tok'ra especially since Jacob joined us.'
Teal'c bowed his head. 'Do you require assistance?'
'If you can help me to the gate, I will return to the Tok'ra.' Eleni said.
Teal'c offered her his arm and she took it gratefully.
'I take it you helped to rescue your friends in SG1?' Eleni queried as they walked through the eerie tunnel, their footsteps echoing.
'Indeed.' Teal'c confirmed. 'They have returned to their own world.'
'I'm glad.' Eleni sighed. 'They endured much at the hands of Hathor.' She grimaced. 'At least I was able to keep the Colonel from becoming a host.' She looked contemplatively at the Jaffa. 'He and Captain Carter seem very close.'
He raised an eyebrow at her suggestive tone. 'We are all close.' He allowed.
'It seemed a more personal bond to me.' Eleni probed.
Teal'c remained silent. He was aware that his team-mates had developed feelings for each other but their relationship was subject to regulations they both honoured.
'And what of you?' Eleni asked curious. 'Why did you remain behind?'
'I am committed to leading the men who joined with me to save them.' Teal'c noted.
'I see.' Eleni murmured. 'What is your intention?'
'To continue to fight the Goa'uld.' Teal'c said fiercely as they saw the daylight at the end of the tunnel. He helped her climb up the banked ground and they made their way across the clearing.
Bra'tac hurried over with another of their group, a Jaffa called Ke'jo. 'Teal'c, who is…'
'This is Eleni.' Teal'c answered swiftly, knowing his mentor would soon sense the symbiote. 'She is host to the Tok'ra symbiote, Ula.'
Ke'jo frowned at Teal'c. 'You are certain she is Tok'ra?'
'She is standing right in front of you.' Eleni said with exaggerated sweetness.
'She must be Tok'ra.' Bra'tac confirmed. 'A Goa'uld would never permit their host to speak.'
Eleni inclined her head at the older Jaffa.
'She assisted Captain Carter and Colonel O'Neill in their escape.' Teal'c said firmly. 'I will escort her to the Stargate.'
'Very well.' Bra'tac agreed. 'We will continue setting up our camp.'
Eleni walked beside Teal'c quietly as they made their way to the DHD. She punched in an address. The wormhole blossomed outward before it settled. 'Thank you, Teal'c.' She smiled warmly at him. 'I wish you well in the fight against the Goa'uld.'
'As I wish you well also.' Teal'c said bowing slightly.
Eleni's facial muscles changed imperceptibly and her eyes suddenly flashed. Teal'c stiffened recognising the shift of control to the symbiote.
'I would offer you some advice;' Ula said authoratively, 'you would be best to return to the Tau'ri. The Jaffa are not yet ready as a force to challenge the Goa'uld.'
Teal'c's eyes darkened in anger.
'You will achieve more with SG1 and the rest of the Tau'ri than alone with these few warriors.' Ula continued.
'They are brave warriors.' Teal'c retorted angrily.
'I am not questioning their bravery, Teal'c, or yours.' Ula replied. 'I admire any willing to oppose the Goa'uld but such a small group can only do so much.'
'Others will join with us.' Teal'c argued.
'One day perhaps,' Ula allowed, 'but too many of your fellow Jaffa still follow the Goa'uld as Gods, Teal'c. The day you speak of is many moons away. Your heart must tell you that.' There was another small change in her posture.
Eleni smiled shyly at Teal'c. 'I'm sorry. Ula simply wishes for us to be victorious against the Goa'uld.'
Teal'c repressed a sigh.
'It has been an honour, Teal'c.' She clasped his hand gently before she stepped back and hurried into the wormhole. For a second time, Teal'c found himself standing in front of the Stargate gazing at it with confusion.
The confusion stayed with him during the evening and into the night. He sat in quiet contemplation by the fire as the others drank wine and caroused, celebrating their first victory over a Goa'uld. Teal'c stirred as Bra'tac settled beside him.
'You should celebrate with the men, Teal'c.' Bra'tac chastised him gently.
'Later.' Teal'c promised.
'Harrumph.' Bra'tac snorted. 'You are young; you should enjoy this time. Celebrate what you have and not mourn what you have lost.'
Teal'c's head jerked up.
'I know you miss your friends of the Tau'ri, Teal'c.' Bra'tac smiled wryly at Teal'c's expression. 'I have known you a long time.'
'Indeed.' Teal'c murmured.
'You regret your decision?' Bra'tac asked bluntly, pulling his cloak more tightly around his torso.
Teal'c struggled with his words. 'I am questioning whether it was the right decision to further our goal.' He finally said.
Bra'tac gestured toward the men on the other side of the fire. 'They are only here because of you, Teal'c. You inspired them and they sorely need a leader.'
Teal'c's gaze rested on his former mentor. 'They would follow you.'
'I am not what I once was.' Bra'tac gave a huff of laughter. He sobered as he realised Teal'c was serious. He gave a small sigh. 'Have you already decided?'
'I have not.' Teal'c said. He looked away, staring at the fire with its flickering flames.
'May I offer some advice?'
'Always, old friend.' Teal'c replied, bowing his head in respect at the older Jaffa.
'Your heart has led you here. Let it be your guide now.' Bra'tac patted Teal'c's arm and moved away swiftly before his protégé could reply.
Teal'c took a sip of his wine and frowned. His heart was telling him to go back to the Tau'ri; back to the family he had built with SG1; back to where he could fight against the Goa'uld with some strength. But could he truly follow his heart?
Jack sighed and turned over in the infirmary bed to lie on his back and stare at the ceiling. He rubbed a hand over his gritty eyes. Overnight observation; his ass, Jack grumbled inwardly. He knew Doc Fraiser was just being careful; all three of the remaining members of SG1 had been subjected to an alien device embedded in their brains after all, but it still didn't stop him from being irritated at the restriction. Daniel with his additional injury, he understood.
His brown eyes drifted to his right where the archaeologist was residing in the bed next to him. All Jack could see was a mound of blankets and a humped shape. Daniel was lying on his side, facing away from Jack, completely curled up. A soft snore gave away that the younger man was fast asleep. Jack's lips twitched. Well, at least Daniel was sleeping. He let his gaze drift over to his left and their female team-mate. His eyes careened straight into Sam's. He froze and forced himself to relax as she smiled apologetically at him.
'Can't sleep, sir?' Sam asked softly, her voice low enough not to disturb Daniel.
Jack shifted onto his side to face her fully and tucked his arm under the pillow. There was just enough light from the single lamp lit in the far corner of their room to illuminate Sam in a soft golden glow. 'You?' He asked quietly, avoiding the question.
She shrugged a little awkwardly. Her fingers plucked at the cotton sheet that covered her.
He searched for a topic to help divert her from whatever was troubling her. 'I've been meaning to say thank you.' He whispered.
Her brow creased in evident confusion.
'For coming back.' Jack clarified. It hadn't escaped his notice in the debrief that Sam had been tasked with blowing up the generator not rescuing his butt. He figured it hadn't escaped Colonel Makepeace's notice either given the other man had made a point of reminding the young Captain of her exact orders.
'We don't leave people behind, sir.' Sam pointed out. 'You've taught us that.'
'I believe you claimed you had energy readings that led you to believe the generator was in the cryogenic chamber?' Jack teased, reminding her of the justification she'd used at the debriefing.
She blushed, confirming his suspicion that it had been a cover story.
'Well…thank you.' Jack reiterated. His brown eyes smiled warmly at her. It had been a big risk for her, not only in disobeying the spirit of her orders but Sam had believed him to be a Goa'uld host when she had returned.
'You would do the same for me, sir.' Sam said confidently.
He would too; if it had been Sam the Goa'uld had chosen, he would have gone back for her and when it came right down to it, he had been pleased that he had been the one chosen. She had already suffered one experience as a host and at least he had saved her from another.
'It's weird, isn't it?' His eyes widened as he realised he'd spoken out loud albeit in the same loud whisper of his previous comments.
'Sir?' Sam frowned.
'Being a host.' Jack expanded quickly. He shifted position a little and his eyes fell away from hers briefly, unable to deal with the spark of compassion that had drifted into her gaze.
'Do you remember much, sir?' Sam asked gently.
'Actually not much at all.' Jack admitted uncomfortably. 'I kind of remember the pain in my neck and…something pushing to get inside my head. I remember the Tok'ra woman telling me to fight…' he glanced over at her, 'and then nothing.' He smiled wryly. 'Until you revived me.' And realised Hathor was killing Sam.
The rush of adrenaline that had him climbing out the cryo-tube and throwing Hathor into the freezing chamber came back to him. He'd been so worried that he'd been too late to stop her from irretrievably damaging Sam with the hand device, especially when he'd seen Sam slumped on the ground…he dragged himself back to the discussion with difficulty.
'I guess I got off lightly.' Jack noted. 'It looks like the Goa'uld died before it could really take control.'
There was a hint of a question in his voice and she smiled reassuringly. 'You're definitely not a Goa'uld, sir.'
'I know, Carter.' Jack said briskly, but he relaxed just a little bit more at her certainty, even though he'd seen the clear MRI results for himself.
'It'll be interesting to see if you have the same naquadah in your blood or the protein marker.' Sam mused.
'I guess we'll find out when Fraiser brings the results of the tests in the morning.' Jack murmured. The thought that he had been left with the remnants of a Goa'uld inside him was unsettling but then, Jack considered, as his eyes roamed over Sam, she had dealt with it and so could he. In fact, it might help Sam feel less different, he mused.
She yawned suddenly and he smiled at her. 'Get some sleep, Carter.'
'Yes, sir.' Sam murmured even as her eyes fluttered shut and she slipped into unconsciousness.
Jack watched her sleep for a long moment. He took in the way the light played across the planes of her face and touched on the strands of her hair. She really was an incredibly beautiful woman. He sighed and turned over to lie on his back again.
He flashbacked to the moment he had killed Hathor; Sam lying crumpled on the ground beside him. It had reminded him too much of finding her almost dead after an assassin had tried to kill the Tok'ra symbiote who had taken her as a host. He had reached for Sam without conscious thought and he had been so relieved to find her alive, he had hugged her.
He stared at the ceiling. He had held onto her so tightly; not wanting to let go and she had held him just as tightly. Of course, she had thought he was cold, which he had been, but he hadn't been so cold that he needed to hold her. He wondered briefly if she realised that. Probably not. Sam would probably have kicked his butt if she'd had any inkling of his true motivations. She hadn't reported the hug in the debrief, he remembered, but then it was likely that she wanted to avoid a repeat of the sharing body heat jokes that had surfaced after they'd been stuck in Antarctica together.
He hadn't corrected her report either; he had a duty to protect her reputation. She was an excellent officer and he was her CO. She clearly didn't see him any other way and why should she? He was a heck of a lot older than she was and far too jaded for her; she deserved better than him. His feelings for her were his problem not hers, he thought harshly, and he would ensure his feelings didn't affect their working together. Maybe he should move on like his ex-wife Sara had done. She had a new relationship, new family on the way. Maybe he should start looking at doing the same; at least, getting out there and dating again. The thought filled him with horror; his heart seized and he rubbed at his chest as though that would ease the pain. His eyes slid back to Sam with regret. If things were different…but they weren't different and no matter how much his heart didn't want to let go, it was best for them both that he did.
Sam slipped out of the bed and silently padded across the infirmary room. She headed for the bathroom down the corridor and gave a sigh of relief as she locked the door. She used the facilities before she gave into the temptation to shower. She turned the water on full and for the first minute stood under the blissful hot stream without moving.
Her mind began to drift as she lathered her body and hair with the standard shower gel. She already missed Teal'c, Sam considered sadly. The Jaffa was such a strong, solid presence; he rooted them all. She had come to rely on his simply being there so much that she felt a little adrift without him although not as adrift as she had felt when she had believed herself to be the only survivor of the team.
She shivered despite the warm steam and closed her eyes as she rinsed her hair, pushing her hands through the strands until they squeaked. It had been shocking to wake up to the news that she had been frozen and the rest of SG1 dead. She could feel the faint echo of her grief run through her.
Of course, Sam mused, it had been more shocking to witness Colonel O'Neill getting implanted with a Goa'uld. She'd had to turn her head away, unable to look. She had been swamped by memories of her own time as a host to Jolinar. Her symbiote might have been Tok'ra rather than Goa'uld but Sam figured her own experience wasn't too far from that of a Goa'uld host – she had been an unwillingly host after all.
Her conversation with the Colonel during the night replayed in her mind. It sounded like his experience had been relatively mild in comparison. The Tok'ra had managed to save him from the full horror of becoming a host. Sam wondered briefly if the Tok'ra had survived the generator explosion. She hoped so. The Tok'ra agent had definitely saved Jack's life.
For the first time since they had arrived back at the SGC, Sam allowed herself to consider her actions in going back for her CO. A blush stole over her entire body and she whirled under the stream of water and turned her face up to the spray as though it would wash it away. She hadn't exactly disobeyed Colonel Makepeace's order, she thought defiantly, but she hadn't exactly been completely focused on her mission either.
She had suggested the plan to blow the generator sincerely, without any conscious thought about going back for the Colonel. It had only been as she had reached the inside of the complex and picked up on the energy readings from his cryo-chamber that she had decided to investigate. She had known that the energy readings had been too low for the generator though…
Sam sighed and smoothed her hair back away from her face. She had taken such a risk; if the Colonel had still been a Goa'uld, if he hadn't killed Hathor…she had placed the mission in jeopardy and she still wasn't sure she wanted to examine the reasons why. They didn't leave people behind, she thought resolutely.
He'd hugged her and she'd hugged him back.
The memory of it stole her breath for a moment and she slapped the water off. She reached for the clean stack of towels by the side of the stall and wrapped one around her body before towelling her hair with another. The hug didn't mean anything to her. Sam rolled her eyes. Yeah, right; because she hadn't enjoyed it all. The way his arms had held her so close like he had really needed to hold her beyond the primary need for warmth…she sat down suddenly on a small stool.
She had a crush, she assured herself. That's all it was. Admiration at what a great soldier he was mixed with attraction. He was a good looking man especially now his hair had turned completely silver, and he'd grown it slightly longer than normal, leaving it ruffled and sexy most of the time. Sam gave a slight groan and lowered her head into her hands. She had just used the word sexy in relation to her CO.
She had to get over it. The Colonel wouldn't appreciate her mooning after him. He had already questioned why she had returned for him. If it had been for personal reasons then it was a problem; he knew it and she knew it. She couldn't place missions at risk because of her feelings; that was why the frat regs existed. She would get over it, she told herself firmly. She didn't want to lose her position on SG1 over a silly crush. She ignored the sudden sinking sensation in her stomach, the way her heart protested the decision.
Sam stood up. She needed to find some clothes, she considered ruefully, pushing the mess of her mixed emotions into the far corners of her mind and mentally shutting the door on them. She wrapped the towel she held around her head and opened the door to the bathroom. She froze.
Janet Fraiser stood directly outside with a disapproving look on her face and her arms crossed tightly over her chest. She raised an eyebrow that was so reminiscent of Teal'c that Sam missed him all over again.
Sam cleared her throat, feeling as guilty and embarrassed at being caught as she had done the morning her father had caught her sneaking back from a party. 'I'm sorry. I just really needed a shower.' She attempted her most winning and apologetic smile and saw Janet soften in response.
'You should have informed the duty nurse.' Janet pointed out. 'What if you'd had a delayed reaction to the memory device and fallen?' Her dark eyes fell to the towel the other woman was wearing. 'Why don't we find you some clothes?'
Fifteen minutes later, Sam was dressed in a clean set of BDUs and sat in Janet's office with a mug of coffee.
'The reason why I stopped by your bed and realised you were missing,' Janet explained as she took a seat in front of her computer monitor, 'was because I'd come to get you to ask for your opinion on the Colonel's test results.'
'Oh?' Sam crossed the room to take the seat next to Janet.
'Look.' Janet brought up the results on her monitor.
Sam read through the blood tests with a small frown. 'This can't be right.'
'I've had the lab run the tests twice more to be certain.' Janet said. She waved a hand at the screen. 'According to these results the Colonel doesn't have any naquadah in his blood and he's also missing the protein marker you have from the breakdown of the Goa'uld.'
'I don't understand.' Sam said. 'I mean, I saw him getting implanted with my own eyes.'
'I'm at a complete loss.' Janet admitted. She leaned back in her chair and looked at Sam. 'I don't have a theory for this and I was hoping you might have some ideas.'
Sam pressed her lips together. 'Well,' she began, 'we know Hathor was a queen, right?'
'Right.' Janet agreed.
'So, maybe the Goa'uld she produced didn't have naquadah in their genetic structure?' Sam proposed.
'I guess that's a possibility.' Janet allowed. She sighed. 'I don't know enough about Goa'uld reproduction to say.' She bit her lip. 'I did wonder if it might have something to do with the cryogenic process.'
'What do you mean?' Sam asked.
'Well, the MRI showed no sign of the Goa'uld symbiote.' Janet explained. 'In your case, the symbiote broke down over a period of forty-eight hours. The remnants were still visible on the MRI during that time.'
Sam shivered and crossed her arms over her chest. 'So?'
'So, I wondered whether the frozen Goa'uld had simply been dissolved with the reversal of the cryogenic procedure?' Janet looked questioningly at Sam. 'What do you think?'
'I'm not sure…' Sam shrugged. 'Is there anything else in the Colonel's results that might indicate something?'
Janet reached the medical record on her desk and leafed through it. 'I don't see anything. All his results were normal given what he'd been through, apart from the sore throat he mentioned.'
'A sore throat?' Sam's eyes gleamed brightly. 'Janet, what if the Goa'uld left him?'
Sam waved her hand at Janet expressively. 'What if it left him? Think about it. It thinks the Colonel is dying; his body is cooling…the natural response of the Goa'uld would be to leave and find a new host.'
'So, you think it made its way out of the Colonel through the soft tissue at the back of the Colonel's throat?'
'It may have stayed in the mouth long enough for the throat to have mostly healed before it left.' Sam mused.
'It's a good a theory as any.' Janet said. 'I should go and give the good news to the Colonel.'
'I'll come with you.' Sam fell into step beside her as they made their way back down the corridor.
'So, how are you doing with everything?' Janet asked as she reviewed Sam's serious face.
'OK. Happy to be back.' Sam admitted.
'We're happy to have you back.' Janet smiled. 'Cassie's dying to see you, and the others.' She sighed. 'She's going to miss Teal'c.'
'She's not the only one.' Sam murmured. 'She's not the only one.'
Daniel scooped up the last of his pancakes and pushed the plate away from him. He swallowed his food and reached for his coffee. 'It's just not the same, is it?' He commented to Jack, who was sitting across the table from him.
'Your hair?' Jack asked dryly. 'No.'
The archaeologist ran his hand self-consciously over the cut strands. 'Maybe I should look into getting it cut properly.'
'I don't know.' Jack pointed with his spoon, dripping milk on the table. 'It has a certain style.'
'Hmmm.' Daniel frowned and pushed his glasses up his nose. 'I don't know why they cut my hair anyway.' He said crossly. He gestured at Jack. 'And I wasn't talking about my hair; I was talking about Teal'c.'
'Oh.' Jack looked down at his cereal. 'No,' he admitted, 'it's not the same without him.'
'I guess I understand why he decided to stay with the Jaffa.' Daniel sighed.
'He was thinking about returning to Chulak a while back.' Jack admitted.
'When?' Daniel asked surprised.
'Just after we handed Apophis's body over to Sokar.' Jack waved his spoon again.
'Why didn't you say anything?' Daniel demanded, gesturing with his mug in a way that made the coffee slosh dangerously close to the rim.
'Because there was nothing to say.' Jack shot back. 'He decided to stay.'
Daniel subsided, slumping back in his chair. He took a sip of his coffee. 'So, it was good news about the Goa'uld leaving you.' He murmured.
'Yeah.' Jack stirred his cereal listlessly.
'You don't sound pleased.' Daniel observed curiously.
Jack threw his spoon down and picked up his juice. 'The whole thing is just too creepy to think about. Besides, compared with what Carter went through, it was a piece of cake.'
Daniel nodded slowly. Jack's experience – no loss of control felt before he'd been frozen and no physical after effects beyond the slight sore throat – did seem on the surface to be less traumatic than Sam's but it still had to be traumatic. Sam herself had eschewed breakfast in favour of helping Sergeant Siler fix an issue with the gate. Daniel figured she was trying to keep busy and work past her own sadness about Teal'c.
'I'm just going to put it behind me. Move on.' Jack stated firmly, staring at his empty bowl. 'Get on with my life.'
Daniel frowned. It almost seemed like Jack was talking about something else entirely. 'That seems like a plan for more than getting over the Goa'uld thing.' He commented blandly.
Jack set his juice down. 'It's something I've been thinking about since I saw Sara at the cemetery after the thing with the Retu.'
'Oh?' Daniel took a gulp of his coffee.
'Yeah. You know, maybe I ought to, I don't know,' Jack gestured awkwardly at his friend, 'get back out there, maybe, you know…uh…start dating again.'
Daniel choked on his drink and it took a moment for him to recover. He stared at Jack with concern. 'You're thinking of dating again?'
'You don't need to sound so surprised, Daniel.' Jack said a little huffily. 'I am single. Dating isn't so unbelievable, is it?'
'No, no.' Daniel hastened to reassure him. 'It's just that, well…I always thought…' he caught Jack's glare and waved at him, 'never mind.' He took another gulp of his drink hiding his face in the mug.
He had thought Jack had a thing for Sam; in fact, he was sure Jack had a thing for Sam. Of course as Sam's CO Jack couldn't do anything about it and Daniel was fairly sure Jack was oblivious to the fact Sam felt the same way. Daniel even thought Sam was oblivious that she felt the same way and she was definitely oblivious to how Jack felt. It was, Daniel concluded ruefully, a mess. Obviously, Jack had come to some kind of decision to try and move on. Maybe it was the right decision; Daniel had a strong feeling it was the wrong one.
'I guess if you think it's time.' Daniel murmured.
'I do.' Jack nodded determinedly.
'Well, if that's what your heart is telling you.' Daniel said. 'You should go for it.'
'Right.' Jack said a little less certainly. He shifted in his chair as though disturbed and drained his juice. He gestured at Daniel with the empty glass. 'So, what about you? How are you handling the Hathor thing and seeing her again?'
'Trying not to think about it.' Daniel shot back immediately.
'Good move.' Jack said.
'I thought so.' Daniel looked at his empty mug with a sigh.
The base alarms activated.
'Come on.' Jack was already pushing his chair back. They made their way to the control room where Sam was already at the computer.
'Captain?' Jack prompted as he came to a halt by her shoulder at the same time Hammond joined them.
'Unscheduled incoming wormhole, sir.' Sam reported briskly. 'We're receiving an IDC.' Her eyes widened as she recognised the code. 'It's Teal'c.'
'Open the iris.' Hammond ordered.
Sam followed his request before she hurried after the rest of SG1 as they made their way to the gate room. They were all stood at the bottom of the ramp when Teal'c stepped through. He made his way down the metal walkway solemnly. Daniel couldn't stop the grin from spreading across his face and a quick glance at Sam and Jack assured him he wasn't the only one.
Teal'c handed his staff weapon to a waiting Airman and stopped in front of a beaming Hammond. 'I wish to offer my services to you once again in fighting the Goa'uld, General Hammond, and I request your permission to return and resume my place on SG1.'
Hammond glanced over at Jack who gave a swift nod. 'Permission granted, Teal'c.'
Teal'c gave a short bow and turned to Jack. 'O'Neill.'
'Good to have you back, Teal'c.' Jack stepped forward to shake Teal'c's hand and half-way there changed his mind. He ended up hugging the Jaffa instead. Before the two of them could move, Daniel had joined them and Jack swiftly gestured with his head at Sam, giving her permission.
'What the heck; group hug.' He said with resignation, as he slipped an arm around her. They all revelled in being together for a long moment before Hammond cleared his throat loudly.
'OK,' Jack announced, letting go reluctantly, 'enough of the mushy stuff.' He stepped back and shoved his hands in his pants' pockets. 'Let's get back to work.' He led the way out of the gate room.
Daniel slapped Teal'c on the back as they headed down the corridor. 'It's great to have you back.'
'It is good to be back.' Teal'c confirmed with satisfaction.
'What about your little group of merry Jaffa?' Jack asked bluntly.
'Bra'tac has agreed to train them.' Teal'c replied easily as they waited in front of the elevator doors. 'I can do more to fight the Goa'uld here.'
Sam smiled at him. 'We missed you, Teal'c.'
Teal'c inclined his head. He turned to Daniel. 'Daniel Jackson, there was a phrase General Hammond used when he successfully destroyed the tower that has been troubling me.'
'What?' Daniel asked, his blue eyes bright with curiosity.
Teal'c looked at him seriously. 'What is a yee-hah?'
The corridor filled with laughter; SG1 was finally home.