Hammond stamped his feet. Even with all the people moving around in
was still cold as hell.
An SF rushed over to him. "General Hammond, sir, this way please."
followed the young man through the ice caves, "Airman, where are
The SF looked over at him, "They're sleeping, sir. We didn't expect you until tomorrow."
nodded. It had taken a lot of high-level string pulling for him to
get here tonight.
But he knew this was where he had to be. The SF stopped short in front of him. They had
reached their destination.
leave you alone, sir," the young man said, snapping a salute and
disappearing back the
way they had come.
took a deep breath, steeling himself. Then he looked up. Jack
O'Neill stood not two
feet away from him. Had the man been awake, they would have been uncomfortably close. It
was unnerving, to see someone who, when awake, never seemed to stop moving standing quite
Jack's eyes were open, staring blankly at nothing. He looked dead.
shuddered at the thought. There was nothing of his insouciant second in
command in the
man in the block of ice.
remembered the first time he'd met Jack O'Neill. The man had
barely even tried to contain his
irreverence as he sauntered through the base as though he owned it. When Hammond had questioned
him regarding the duplicitous report Jack had lied to his face.
had known, when he petitioned for Jack to lead the premier team, that
Jack would do it
again if he felt he had to. Strangely, that had been one of the major factors in his decision to
have Jack head SG-1, and be his own second-in-command.
cold of this place really got into your bones, George mused, once
again stamping his feet. He
sensed someone approaching, but didn't turn.
"Here," Daniel drew level with the General and handed him a steaming mug of coffee.
took it gratefully and wrapped his hands around the cup. He looked
sidelong at Jackson.
The younger man was staring intently at Jack, as though trying to work out there and then how to
revive his friend.
"How long did you sleep, son?" George asked gently.
"I, uh, I didn't," Daniel admitted. "I couldn't," he said, his voice quieter than it had been previously.
"No," Hammond said, his voice equally quiet. He realised Daniel was now looking at him. "Son?"
"What were you thinking about before I got here?" Daniel asked.
looked at him, but then Jackson had always been like that, it was one
thing that hadn't
changed about the archaeologist since he joined the SCG – he would always ask questions. Hammond
sighed. "I was thinking about when I first met him," he nodded up at Jack.
nodded. "I keep thinking about when all this started," he waved a
hand to encapsulate the
Antarctic base, the Stargate, everything. "When I first came back from Abydos, I was floating around
the base at a loose end. I didn't know what to do with myself." Hammond nodded, he remembered.
"Jack took me to his house, talked to me about Abydos, about Sha're. About his son."
bawled him out about taking you off-base the next morning," Hammond
admitted. "He just stood
there, looked me right in the eye, and said 'Well I wasn't going to leave him here… sir.'" He chuckled
at the memory.
Daniel smiled too. "We will get him back, General."
"I know we will," Hammond said, his voice more certain than he felt.
"You're worried that even if we wake him up, he won't be Jack anymore," Daniel said perceptively.
"We'll get help. The Asgard-"
"Still haven't responded to our call, son."
"We'll get help," Daniel said again.
sighed again. "Go get some sleep, son," he paused, eyeing
Jackson, then added,
"That's an order."
Daniel nodded and departed, only to be replaced seconds later by someone much larger.
"GeneralHammond," Teal'c greeted.
"Teal'c. How are you doing?"
am exceedingly well, GeneralHammond," Teal'c responded, surprising
the General. The Jaffa
must have sensed this, as he continued, "Anubis is defeated and we have technology capable of
defending this world."
"You're not worried about Colonel O'Neill?"
I am," Teal'c's voice was softer now, "However, I have faith
that we will yet find a way to
revive O'Neill, and return him to his former state."
Jaffa inclined his head regally. "O'Neill has never once given up
on any of us. When I was trapped
inside the Stargate he fought tirelessly to gain the information MajorCarter needed to retrieve me. I will
toil similarly until he is returned to us."
Hammond concealed the surprise he felt at what, for Teal'c, was an
unusually long speech. Once
again, he looked up at Jack. The Jaffa was right, whenever any of his team had been stranded, lost, or
even presumed dead, Jack had worked until they were returned. Daniel, Teal'c, Major Carter, and
General Hammond himself.
remembered the report he had read about the things Jack had done to
restore him to his place at the
SGC after the NID forced him into retirement. He remembered how angry Jack had been when he visited
his house. Masterfully concealed, of course. If he hadn't gotten to know Jack as well as he did, he'd never
have seen it. He'd known then that he would be back behind his desk.
also realised just how dangerous Jack could be. Intellectually he'd
known, of course. He'd read
Jack's file many times, and had seen the darkness lurking in his eyes all too often. His thoughts
turned and saw that Teal'c had departed without disturbing him. The
worried him. Major Sam Carter.
"Major," Hammond greeted. "I think SG-1 have been around Jack too long."
"Sir?" She questioned politely, her gaze not moving from Jack's unnaturally still face.
"You're all supposed to be getting some sleep, Major, you've had a busy couple of days."
"So have you, sir." She responded.
regarded her, amused. 'Definitely too
much time around Jack.' The
expression in her
eyes began to sink in, 'Or not enough.'
The thought was uncomfortable, at best, and terrifyingly saddening at worst.
Sam Carter watch Jack, Hammond remembered witnessing their first
and had to stop himself smiling ruefully. He had been worried then about the implications
of the molten glares they had sent one another. Major Samuels had been worried too, but for
an entirely different reason, luckily.
"I think they could prove to be a liability on the same team," Samuels said earnestly.
"How so, Major?" Hammond had asked.
"I think the animosity between O'Neill and Carter could reach untenable levels."
Hammond breathed a sigh of relief. "I think the animosity will
subside fairly soon,
Major. They seemed to be getting on well enough in the embarkation room."
and Hammond dismissed him. Luckily, Samuels had not heard the
between O'Neill and Carter in the embarkation room, just before the former pushed the latter
through the event horizon.
'I adore you already, Captain…'
sighed again, aloud this time. He hoped there wasn't going to be
any trouble over
had thought he should be relieved when he heard that Major Carter was
seeing someone. He
hadn't been, and that had surprised him.
looked over at Major Carter. Her eyes had not strayed from Jack's
face. He had expected to see
the same look on her face as he'd seen on Dr Jackson's. Determination. Her eyes flickering as though
working out a puzzle.
But she didn't look like that. She looked terrified. This wasn't good.
"Major Carter?" He asked.
sir. Just… thinking." She looked down, closing her eyes briefly,
as though trying to regain
control of herself.
had watched Jack carefully after he found out about Pete Shanahan.
Nothing in the younger
man's behaviour had changed. If anything the two had become more relaxed around one another.
He had assumed they had moved on since the Zatarc incident.
the Zatarc incident. He had – informally – gotten the details
from Dr Fraiser. The woman had
been unhappy about telling him, but since it was off the record, and she had trusted him, she had
disclosed everything. The fiery woman's anger had been easily visible in her dark eyes as she spoke
of her friends' forced confessions.
Jack's admission, given in the
monotone he used when there was far too much emotion clouding his
thinking, making him want to rail at whoever was forcing information from him.
"Because I'd rather have died
myself, than lose Carter… Because I care about her, a lot more than
According to Janet the Major's eyes had never left Jack's. Her
voice had been steady,
her words spoken softly, but unemotionally.
"I knew why
Colonel O'Neill wouldn't leave… and I knew that in his place, I
would do the same.
Because… I have… feelings for him."
"Sir," Janet Fraiser had said, "In light of everything, surely there's something…"
Hammond had shaken his head. "Do you think this will interfere-"
She had cut him off, "No, sir, I don't." The diminutive doctor's anger couldn't have been plainer.
"Doctor," Hammond had begun, feeling the need to justify himself.
She had shaken her head tiredly. "I understand, General. Permission to return to the infirmary?"
Major Carter now, Hammond wondered if keeping them in the same chain
hadn't been a mistake. But SG-1 were the best, and had never reacted well to being separated. He
Major Carter turned to look at him.
smiled reassuringly at her. The same smile he gave his granddaughters
when they were hurt or
returned the smile weakly and looked back up at her commanding
officer. He watched as her jaw
set determinedly. She turned back to him.
"General Hammond, sir? There's something I want to tell you-"
He held up a hand effectively cutting her off. "Not now, Sam."
softness of his voice and the use of her first name threw her off
balance slightly, but she
recovered admirably. "You know what I'm going to say, don't you sir?"
like I've known longer than you have," he replied, smiling gently
and turning back to look
up at Jack, anything not to have to look her in the eyes while he said this. "And I still say not now.
I need you to bring him back first. Then you can say whatever you've got to say."
sir." In his peripheral vision he saw her reach out and touch the
material that separated them
from Jack, her fingers lingering on it for just a moment. Then she turned and walked away, leaving
Hammond alone once more.
walked away, intending to find somewhere to sleep. The General felt
tired. More tired than ever
before. He knew his stopping her had, at one and the same time, been both incredibly selfless, and
Selfless because he didn't know if the world would survive the dismantling of SG-1.
because, watching Sam Carter, he wasn't sure how much longer she
and Jack could survive
like this. Surely the war was over now, and he could give them what he knew they needed? But there
were still Goa'ulds out there. Still there was a war to be fought.
George Hammond's face showed nothing of the struggle raging within him.
he passed the tent he knew Major Carter was sleeping in, he heard a
sniff that was too sudden to
be due to a cold. He stopped outside the tent. She was crying. Major Doctor Samantha Carter USAF
He knew what he had to do. Come hell or high water, and he fully expected both, he would help them.
decision made, the General moved on. He glanced over his shoulder as
he went, to O'Neill's
'sleeping chamber'. He only hoped he wasn't too late.