Spoilers: Everything up to the end of Exodus, plus Meridian and Fallout
Season: Four, after Exodus
Rating: T for sexual situations
Disclaimer: The only thing I own that's related to Stargate is my DVD collection. I'm not making any money off of Stargate. In fact, the reverse is true.
Summary: Although the Tok'ra have recruited Sam and Daniel to decipher an Ancient device, it seems that there might be an ulterior motive.
Notes: This story is the final entry of a trilogy, and as such it does not stand alone. I strongly recommend that you read the first two stories, Tortured Soul and Kindred Spirits before reading this one. Also, in keeping with the style of the trilogy, odd-numbered chapters are from Sam's POV and even ones are from Daniel's.
Immense thanks to my beta extraordinaire, Thraesja, for the brilliant job she did on this story. I'd also like to thank everyone who left such fantastic reviews on Kindred Spirits, for it was that feedback that kept my muse on track to write Entwined Hearts. Thank you!
-- Chapter 1 --
I couldn't remember ever feeling so at peace. The Colonel snored from where he was sprawled in a nearby chair. On the other end of the sofa, Teal'c quietly watched the movie he had chosen for the night. I sat curled up against Daniel's side, his arm draped over my shoulders.
I gave his waist a little squeeze and nuzzled into him, enjoying the warmth of his embrace and the solid line of his bicep behind my neck. My fingers worked their way between the buttons of his shirt and caressed his stomach. I loved being able to do that.
Daniel's hand slid from my shoulder to nestle in the curve of my hip, and I felt him press an affectionate kiss to the top of my head. When I looked up, he was smiling down at me. His glasses reflected the flickering light from the Colonel's television, though neither of us was watching it.
He leaned down, and I closed my eyes as our lips met. My body practically hummed at the contact. Daniel's kisses always sent my senses into overdrive. His mouth was warm and soft and welcoming. I felt his lips smile against mine as my tongue took advantage of his invitation.
"Get another room for that kind of thing," the Colonel's hushed voice said, and the scene abruptly dissolved around me. I jolted awake and looked around.
I was in my cot in one of the Tok'ra chambers. Sitting up, I saw Colonel O'Neill standing in the doorway, gesturing to a couple of Tok'ra carrying a large container to continue down the corridor.
"Jack?" Daniel also sat up in his cot on the other side of the chamber. His face was all scrunched up as he peered at the Colonel through squinting eyes.
I had to smile.
The Colonel turned around. "Ah, crap. Sorry guys." He pointed a finger at the Tok'ra disappearing down the hall. "Now you've done, it. You woke them up!" With a sigh, he turned back to us. "Have I mentioned how much I hate helping people move?"
"Once or twice. An hour." Daniel reached for his glasses as he grumbled away. "For the past, oh, two weeks or so."
We'd been on the as-yet-unnamed new Tok'ra base for four days now. But in that time, Daniel and I hadn't had a single moment alone. I was starting to think I'd never get a chance to talk to him about my newly discovered feelings.
I climbed out of my cot and stretched, my eyes fixed on the subject of my thoughts. His hair was sticking up in all directions, and I watched as he ran his fingers through it, trying to smooth it down.
"They found that doohickey Jacob was talking about, Carter."
Turning, I found Colonel O'Neill staring at me. I cleared my throat and tried to look like I'd been paying attention. "Good. That's good."
He pursed his lips at me, the way he often did when he was trying not to smile. "So, you and Daniel should be able to start working on it."
"Yes, though we'll probably have to catch up on the Tok'ra's earlier results first."
A grunt of frustration made me look over at Daniel again. He seemed to be having a hard time getting one of his boots to cooperate with his efforts of putting it on his foot. I made a mental note to contact Earth and ask General Hammond to send some coffee through the gate.
When I turned back to Colonel O'Neill, he was still staring at me. Only now he had one arm crossed over his chest and his other hand cupping his chin. His eyebrows were raised, and he definitely seemed to be amused about something. Probably caffeine-free-Daniel's antics.
"Sounds pretty boring," he said.
I blinked. What sounded boring? Oh. "Actually, sir, I think the device will prove to be quite a challenging puzzle."
"I meant for me."
"Ah." Of course. What had I been thinking?
"Now that our ship's unpacked, Teal'c and I don't have much to do. I was thinking we might gate home and leave you two alone to fiddle with the thingamajig."
"What about the ship?"
"We'll leave it in orbit and come back in a few days. If you two have managed to get everything you need to do done by then..." Colonel O'Neill's eyes wandered from me to Daniel and back again. "Then we'll fly her home. I'm assuming I can rely on you two to stay out of trouble for once?"
Daniel approached us, his glasses pushed up as he rubbed his eye. "I think we can handle a couple of days on our own in a base surrounded by allies, Jack." His elbow bumped into the wall, and he grunted his annoyance at poking himself in the eye.
"Yes, I can tell."
I placed a steadying hand on Daniel's back, and he gave me a sleepy smile that made my heart melt.
The Colonel chuckled softly, shaking his head. "Well," he said, waving a finger back and forth between us. "You two have a lot to figure out, don't you?"
Daniel nodded. "Yeah, from the quick look I had on the ship a couple of weeks ago, it looks like the device is covered in Ancient text."
"Right." Colonel O'Neill drew out the word slowly. "The device."
I studied him. He was acting even stranger than usual. Perhaps he had spent too much time cooped up on the Ha'tak or in the Tok'ra tunnels. Or maybe it was a lack of hockey. It was probably a good thing he was headed home.
An hour later, Daniel and I waved to the Colonel and Teal'c as they stepped through the event horizon. Dad and Jalen, another Tok'ra, had accompanied us to the stargate.
"On behalf of the Tok'ra High Council, I wish to offer my deepest gratitude to the Tau'ri for your assistance in defeating Apophis and relocating our base of operations," Jalen said into my radio.
"We are happy to help you," came General Hammond's voice. "I'm sure it's just the beginning of the revitalisation of our alliance."
Jalen nodded. "Indeed, and if you require our services in maintaining the systems on your Ha'tak, I assure you, we will be available."
"Thank you," said Hammond after a brief hesitation. "We'll keep that in mind."
Jalen handed back my radio, and I squeezed the talk button. "It's Major Carter, sir. They've found the Ancient device that they want our help with, but Daniel and I could use some materials from the base."
"Go ahead, Major."
I quickly gave a list of the reference books and equipment that we would probably need to figure out the device.
"We're loading up a FRED now," said the General. "We're also including some basic supplies."
"Thank you, sir." I looked up as Daniel nudged my shoulder.
Silently, he mouthed the word 'coffee'.
I smiled and squeezed the talk button on my radio again. "And if you could add some coffee and a portable percolator to that list, we'd really appreciate it, General."
Surprisingly, it was Colonel O'Neill who answered. "I suppose you want the stuff you keep in Carter's filing cabinet, right Daniel?"
Daniel's eyes widened. "How did he—?"
"I know everything, Danny-boy," the Colonel answered, even though Daniel hadn't asked the question into the radio. "It's about time you realised that."
"We'll send the supplies through in a few moments, Major," said General Hammond.
The outgoing wormhole disengaged, and Jalen appeared quite perturbed. "Does Colonel O'Neill possess the ability to read the minds of others?"
Dad grinned at her. "He likes to think he does."
"That was disturbing," said Daniel.
"Why would he attempt to convince you that he is all-knowing?" Jalen asked.
Daniel tried unsuccessfully to explain the unique psychology of our dear Colonel Jack O'Neill, with Dad and I occasionally throwing in our own admittedly biased opinions. The discussion was so engrossing that the stargate's chevrons began to light up before we had exhausted the subject. The incoming wormhole whooshed to life, and the FRED trundled through the event horizon.
Daniel poked around it, eventually pulling out his canister of ground coffee. He opened the lid and sniffed it warily. "What do you think he did to it this time?"
I took the controls and manoeuvred the FRED down the steps from the stargate. The four of us headed back to the Tok'ra tunnels.
When we arrived, Daniel gestured at me with his coffee canister. "I'm going to brew some of this up."
Dad nodded. "I think I know where our previous research on the device is. Sam and I will find it and bring it back so you two can really get started working on it."
I followed Dad through the newly grown Tok'ra tunnels and into a chamber filled with a number of crates. We began opening them, searching for the computer data crystal.
"So, George and I got to talking a bit before we left Earth," said Dad.
"Uh huh." Impatiently, I brushed my hair back. It was getting far too long in the front and kept getting in my eyes.
"I wanted to know what he knew about what was going on between you and Daniel."
"Dad!" I scolded, slamming the lid of the crate I'd been searching down. "Tell me you didn't talk to General Hammond about this."
"What?" He gave me a wide-eyed shrug. "He's my friend, isn't he? And he sees you more often than I do."
I clenched my fists at my sides, barely resisting the urge to strangle my father. I glared at him. "When did you become such a meddler?"
He grinned. "I've always been a meddler, kiddo."
With a frustrated groan, I rolled my eyes. That was true enough. It wasn't until he learned what I really did for a living that he stopped trying to get me into NASA.
At least being off-world meant I didn't have to deal with Janet's matchmaking plots as well as Dad's. I didn't even want to think of the crazy schemes those two could come up with if they ever joined forces.
I opened another crate and tried to concentrate on finding the data crystal.
Dad moved on to his next crate. "Aren't you curious as to what he thought about it?"
"No!" The research wasn't in this one either. I slammed it shut and looked over at him. His face was concealed by the lid of the crate he was looking in.
I narrowed my eyes. "Why? What did he say?" Stupid curiosity.
Dad looked up, smiling. "You have nothing to worry about." He waved a crystal at me. "Found it."
We brought the crystal to the chamber where Daniel was working, and for the next hour, Daniel and I went through the research notes it contained. Several Tok'ra milled about the room, unpacking various items and putting things away.
Dad really hadn't been kidding when he'd said that the Tok'ra had failed to get it to do much. They'd barely even started translating the Ancient text. Clearly, the device wasn't one of their priorities. It didn't take long for us to move from their notes to working directly on the device.
It was about the size and shape of an electric piano, though it looked more like a jukebox. Well, minus the neon lights and Elvis posters. Its greyish metal sides were engraved with line after line of Ancient text. The clear domed top was surrounded by coloured crystal buttons.
Over the next several hours, we made absolutely no headway, even fuelled by a perfect pot of Daniel's special blend of coffee. I couldn't figure out why the device didn't seem to be getting any power. Daniel was sitting on the floor near me, inching through his translation in his notebook. However, judging from the depth of the crease in his forehead, I had a feeling he was getting as frustrated as I was.
I groaned. "You know, it's possible that we've died and this is hell." My forehead thumped down on the device's main console before me.
"Nuh-uh," said Daniel. "Been there, remember? It's nothing like this."
Despite myself, I chuckled. I lifted my head and sent him a mock glare. "Don't make me laugh when I'm trying to be grumpy."
Daniel grinned. "My mistake. Don't know what I was thinking."
With a sigh, I turned back to the device. Maybe if I tried rerouting the power conduits, I could get it to do something.
I pushed aside my stool, plopped down on the floor, and opened the back panel. Leaning forward, I reached inside and uncoupled several cables. My hair fell into my face, and I blew at it to get it out of my eyes. It fell back into the same spot. I tried tossing my head to get rid of it, but the lock of hair was being inordinately stubborn.
"You have a free hand?"
He dropped his pen into the crease of his notebook and looked up. "What do you need?"
"Can you just—" I blew impatiently at my too-long bangs. "Get this out of my face?"
He smiled, shifting himself closer. "Sure."
I turned my face toward him as he raised his hand. Very gently, Daniel brushed my hair out of my eyes, his fingers trailing across my forehead. The tenderness in his eyes made my breath hitch in my throat.
His thumb grazed my cheek as he lowered his hand. "Better?"
I nodded slowly. "Thanks."
One corner of his mouth tugged up slightly. "My pleasure."
Behind him, I could see the only Tok'ra remaining in the room take her leave. We were finally alone and definitely in a situation that lent itself to the conversation I'd been waiting to have. Forgetting about the power couplings for a moment, I took a deep breath.
"Hey guys, how's it going?" said a voice from the hallway.
I swear that man has the worst timing in the galaxy. "Uh, hi Dad."
"Daniel, can I talk to you a minute?"
I glared at my father. "We're on the verge of something here." I gave him the most pointed look I could muster.
He just grinned innocently at me. "It'll just take a minute."
I sighed as Daniel stood up and followed him out of the room. What was he up to now?
To be continued...
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