Chapter 20:

SG-1 easily found Ludavine reclusively avoiding the rest of the village. She was sitting near a muddy stream, halfheartedly rinsing out some garments. It was the twig Daniel stepped on that caused her to spin around.

"What are you doing back here?" She asked with exasperation. "I already told you all I know…" Ludavine stopped speaking when she caught sight of Sam who had stepped from behind the rest of the men in her group. Her eyes grew wide before she crossed her arms over her chest. "Have you decided to leave her here with the rest?"

"No necessary." Jack stated matter-of-factly. "She's all better."

Sam took this moment to give a small sheepish smile and wave. "Hi."

Ludavine narrowed her glance as she turned from Sam to Jack. "And yet, you are alive."

Jack slapped his chest a few times for emphasis. "As ever." He said proudly.

Ludavine stepped closer to Sam. "I guess I was wrong."

"Excuse me?" Sam questioned, not sure what the woman she had never really spoken to like the others had was saying.

"From our conversation, I believed your friend here would have been your salvation. I assume another close to your heart was the true target…and yet…you seem less than depressed." Ludavine surmised as she observed the woman before her.

Daniel and Teal'c both watched as Sam began to flush and Jack looked awkwardly to the ground.

"It's not like that." Sam quickly muttered.

She was slightly drowned out by Jack's equally exuberant outburst. "She didn't have to kill anybody."

Ludavine's mouth opened and closed as she tried to figure out what was going while realizing at the same time their replies had meant that her conversation with Jack earlier had been close to the truth. "My dear, as I said to Monsieur O'Neill, the Truth never lied…and the Darkness left no doubt."

Jack coughed under his breath; then nodded to Sam that he would explain later.

The scarred woman took a moment to observe those before her once more before surrendering to curiosity. "How is it that she is cured without you dying?"

Daniel stepped forward. "That's why we're here actually."

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It was left for Daniel to explain how Sam had been cured of the Darkness. A type of Tok'Ra computer simulation had been played through memory devices that had been altered to create a realistic environment. Jack had been placed in it with her, and when she truly believed she had killed him, the Darkness had reverted and her own brain chemistry was regained.

It took little convincing for Ludavine to play along and over the course of a week, the entire population of the village was freed from their demonic plague that ravaged their personalities and minds. The Justice had been left for last, and Jack found it best that the Darkness he still held in his possession should be lost. Had the NID or another organization gotten hold of such a powerful pathogen, the results could have been even more devastating that they were for the planet that had created it.

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Having already developed a rapport, Ludavine was easily elected to accompany SG-1 back to Earth in order to set up relations with her people, who were all extremely thankful for having the rest of their families returned to them.

Ludavine's own inner demons were beginning to disperse as she saw the work that she still needed to do in her life. She would always miss her husband, and she would forever live with the fact that it was by her hands that he had died. But in the end, she knew that he would have wanted her to continue, and so she vowed to do so once she saw that there could still be a positive future; one with a nephew who had been left in the aftermath of the Darkness and it was now up to her to raise him.

Colonel O'Neill and Major Carter, along with Jacob who had come on behalf of the Tok'Ra to help run the simulations, now stood at the foot of the ramp of the Stargate in the SGC in order to see Ludavine off.

"I can never truly express the gratitude we owe to all of you. Our world still has many wounds to heal, but now I believe there may be a future in store for us that was once missing."

"Well from what Jack's told me, it was his conversation with you that led to me getting my daughter back; so I'd say we can call it even."

Ludavine smiled back. "Yes, about that…Colonel O'Neill…you stated that it was impossible for there to be a connection between you and Major Carter…however it has been made clear to me that it was your death in the simulation that freed her from the Darkness, and from my own observations over the past week…" Ludavine watched Jack's gaze on her grow into a plead for her to stop and so she did with curious eyes.

Jacob looked from the woman in question back to Jack and then slowly over to Sam who was standing beside him, also dumbstruck. "Jack, what is she talking about?" His tone said that he knew and Sam couldn't keep her mouth from dropping open just a hair.

"Nothing Jacob. Nothing at all. So, Madame Ludavine. It was very nice to meet you…eventually. And if you or your people ever need anything at all…feel free to give us a call." He smiled and as if on cue the Stargate shot forth and formed an event horizon.

"I shall never forget any of you. Thank you." Ludavine bowed and made her way up the ramp while Jack stared at the strange look Carter was now giving him.

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Later that evening, Sam and Jacob were sitting down to dinner in the commissary when Sam suddenly couldn't keep her thoughts to herself any longer.

"Dad?"

"Yes?"

"Why didn't you come in the simulation with me?"

"Honey, I think it's clear by now that Jack was the right man for that job."

"I didn't say he wasn't…but why did you think that?"

"No reason."

Sam's look grew stronger. "Dad." She warned slowly.

"Could have been something Daniel said." He replied casually.

"Daniel?!" Sam almost choked.

"We're not blind Sam."

That stopped her dead in her thoughts. She looked to the plate before her and pushed it forward. "Dad…nothing's going on…I mean…"

"Sam, I know." He reached out hand to place on top of hers. "You both value your careers, and those of each other…I know. But that doesn't stop you from feeling."

"And?"

"Maybe if you had just admitted it to yourselves, this issue may not have taken so long to be resolved."

A sudden and cheerful voice broke into the conversation before Sam could reply. "Hey guys what's for dessert?!" Jack was rubbing his stomach to get his point across before sitting down.

"You can have my cake Jack, I was just heading off to get some sleep before I have to leave." Jacob rose and pushed his uneaten dessert to the younger man.

"You sure Jacob?"

"Yeah…it's in your hands now." He said with a small smile. Jack just cocked his eyebrows trying to decide whether or not there was a hidden meaning in the statement.

As Jacob left Sam turned back towards her new dinner mate. "So, get your field report done Sir?"

"Yep. Planet of Darkness now closed for business." Jack quipped.

"You put everything in there?" Sam asked nonchalantly.

Jack's eyes blinked a few times as he stared at his cake. "As much as needed to be."

"Did you tell me as much as needed to be as well?" Sam asked.

Jack finally looked up from his cake. "What?"

"When we were in the gate room today, you and Dad both seemed to know what Ludavine was talking about…but no one told me." She informed him.

"Carter, you read the report on how the Darkness got un-dark." She nodded before he continued. "Well…Ludavine seemed to think rather quickly that we…that the only way for you to get better was for it to be me…"

"Or my Dad?"

"No. Just me."

Sam nodded.

"Look Carter…I left out anything that could be misconstrued…or that would get you…us into any kind of trouble."

"I think leaving things out may have been what got us into trouble in the first place Sir."

Jack turned a bit pink but nodded in agreement. "Not that there is anything we can do about that."

"No…not now." Sam added.

"Now?"

"Well…not now…but, you know, if ever…"

"Sounds nice." Jack smiled.

"Sure does." Sam replied with an equal smile.

The two ate in silence for a few more moments exchanging the occasional glance or smile. "Guess they ran out of steak tonight huh?" Jack suddenly spat out.

"Colonel!"

THE END

A/N: Well, the creek rose, sorry. But here it is…the end. I hope you have all enjoyed the story. I would really appreciate any feedback I can get on either this chapter or the story as a whole. Personally I'm not too happy with the end…but I'm having a bit of a fight with my muse and she's on strike right now…oh well : P

O'NeillRoxMyWorld is working on a piece from this story, I can't wait to read it and I hope you all will too!

Thanks again to Everyone!!

PLEASE REVIEW!!

PS: My next story that I'm going to begin posting next week is entitled The Future Not Foretold...It's kind of a prequel/sequel deal to It's Too Soon To Tell, my first fic. I highly recommed it (shamless self promo I know : P) But it does get very deep Sam/Jack issues...and it's also a fun/edgy mystery adventure IMHO lol. Plus the next story will make a lot more sense if you have read it : )