A/N: Here it is, after so many delays, the end of the story. I know some of you may have wondered if it would ever come. Publication of It's All Elementary began in March of 2008, where it continued sporadically until it stopped in February2010, and resumed in May 2013, until now finally complete in October 2013. It is fitting I think, that the end of the story takes place a week before Halloween, and is now being posted a week before Halloween in real life. I assure you that this is merely happy coincidence, and that I did not plan it this way; I began working on the epilogue some months ago and would likely have posted it sooner had I not decided to rewrite the prior chapter just before posting it. A lot of other things happened along the way during this story, and many of you stuck by despite often intermittent updates. I am grateful that so many of you remained hopeful that the story would be finished. Well here it is, and I hope the ride was enjoyable and the wait worthwhile.
Sam looked up from the terminal when she heard footsteps stop at the door. "Sir?" she asked.
Colonel O'Neill leaned against the door frame, hands casually tucked into his pockets. "So," he said conversationally, "tomorrow?"
Sam blinked, her brow furrowing in confusion, half her mind still occupied with the equations she'd been working on. "Sir?" she repeated.
Jack took that as an invitation and wandered further into her lab, stopping just across the table from her. She could just see him over the top of the computer monitor from where she knelt on her chair. "You know, tomorrow," he explained, "no more having to be this high to ride the rides, no more bedtimes. No more free kid's meal." He added the last as if it might just persuade her to change her mind.
She smiled, and gave a definite shake of her head. "No sir, I'm still not going to wait until next week."
"So no trick or treating?" he shifted, running one hand along the countertop, as if to check for dust.
"I'll buy you a bag of candy, sir," she promised, giving him a slightly skeptical look.
"It's just not the same Carter," he whined, shoving his hands in his pockets and looking dejected. Sam ducked her head, hiding a grin. Fortunately she was saved a reply by the timely arrival of the rest of SG-1.
"Hey Sam," Daniel greeted, stepping up beside Jack. "Major Carter," Teal'c said stopping behind the other two men with a brief nod of his head, his hands clasped behind his back.
Daniel looked between Jack and Sam, taking in the situation at once. "Jaaaack… you aren't bugging Sam about Halloween again are you?"
Jack pulled his hands out of his pockets, spinning to face the scientist. "Oh c'mon Daniel, you know it would be fun! Teal'c, tell her."
Everyone turned to look at the usually solemn Jaffa. "I have never partaken in… trick or treat," he admitted after a pause.
Sam groaned. Daniel protested, "Teal'c!"
Jack beamed. "There, you see. He's never been. We owe it to him. And it's trick or treating T-man." Teal'c inclined his head, a small smile beginning to show.
Sam couldn't hide her own smile now. "Sorry sir, not going to happen," she said firmly.
"Well, if you're sure," Jack said, looking disappointed again. Sam just nodded. "Because, if you change your mind…" She shook her head vehemently.
"Give it up Jack," Daniel advised. "You have lost this battle my friend," added Teal'c.
Jack threw his hands up in surrender. "You guys are such…" he paused, searching for an adequate description. They just stared back. Finally he scowled. "Party poopers," he finished lamely.
Daniel studied him a moment and turned back to Sam. "Soooo, Sam, did you hear about what SG-11 found on Seshat's planet?" he asked.
Sam perked up immediately. "The lab under the palace? Yeah. I heard she had some pretty advanced genetics equipment in there." Jack huffed loudly and picked up something colorful from her lab table. Since it was mostly just a bundle of dead wires, Sam didn't say anything, but kept an eye on him in case he gave it up for something more important.
"While Seshat has so far resisted attempts by the Tok'ra to elicit information, Jacob Carter believes that Seshat may have been following a similar path of research as Nirrti." Teal'c added.
"That's just what we need," Jack muttered, still fiddling with the object, now poking his fingers into it and wriggling them around.
Teal'c glanced at the other man, and then returned his attention to Sam. "Seshat may have used the profits from weapons sales to procure necessary scientific equipment, from a variety of sources."
"To keep anyone from being the wiser," Sam mused. Teal'c inclined his head in agreement.
"We aren't sure exactly what she was looking for, and it doesn't look like she got very far in her research, but the preliminary analysis of her records shows that Seshat thought there was something special about the people of the first world, or Earth." Daniel said.
"Hey, we're special," Jack said, frowning as he realized that his fingers might just be stuck inside the whatever it was he'd been playing with. Surreptitiously, he tried to pull them out, and failed.
Daniel narrowed his eyes at Jack as he began to tug more insistently. "Some of us at any rate," Daniel observed, under his breath. After watching his team leader struggle for a moment, Teal'c silently reached between the two men and easily removed the entrapped object, replacing it on the table. Jack flexed his fingers in surprise, and then looked suspiciously at Daniel.
"Hey, what's that supposed to mean?" Jack demanded. Daniel just blinked and looked innocent. Jack frowned, and started to reach for the object again, but Teal'c silently moved it out of reach. Jack scowled. Daniel turned back to Sam.
"Any plans for your last night as a five year old, Sam?" he asked, ignoring Jack's scowls.
Sam shrugged. "Well, I thought about driving home, but…" she motioned downwards.
Daniel bit his lip. "Err, no, probably not a good idea," he agreed. "Don't want CPS involved or anything, I mean, no offense Sam, but you already look like someone's been abusing you." Sam nodded. Her time as a prisoner had left its mark in a myriad of bruises, now fading to an impressive array of greens and yellows, with some of the more vibrant bruises still shades of red.
Having realized that his newfound toy was a lost cause, Jack returned to the conversation. "Yeah, well, I think we've already pissed off enough government organizations for now. Actually Cater, Teal'c, Daniel, and I were going out. Thought we'd catch a movie. Why don't you come with," he invited.
"We are?" Daniel asked, his brow furrowed in confusion. Teal'c nodded solemnly. Jack gave him a significant look. Daniel blinked in sudden realization. "Oh. Oh! We are," he said, facing her again with a sudden bright smile. Sam looked down, hiding her own smile.
"Kids are half price," Jack added temptingly. At that, Sam laughed, looking back up at her teammates, all of which waited hopefully.
"Ok," she said, a feeling of contentment beginning to grow as the guys looked pleased at her answer. "Just give me a minute to get everything shut down here."
"Take ten Carter, we'll meet you topside, I'll drive," Jack said pointedly. He made shooing motions, herding the other men out ahead of him. He paused in the door, suddenly seeming to remember something. He patted down his pockets, coming up with a pair of sunglasses, which he tossed her way. Sam caught them easily. "Here, that should help keep CPS from getting nosy," he explained.
"Thank you, sir," she said, trying to infuse more than just her appreciation for the sunglasses into the words. Jack just waved one hand dismissively, hurrying to catch up with Daniel and Teal'c.
Sam watched the door for a moment after the guys had left, already bickering about the movie, and smiled. She wasn't back to her usual body yet, but by this time tomorrow, she would be. But already, she felt normal.
It was good to be back.
A/N: I'd like to thank my beta readers, without whom, this story likely never would have gotten off the ground. From countless emails to hammer out details and ideas before writing even began, to meticulous suggestions on wording and grammar. My beta readers are a special group, and even some of them did not able to devote their time to the story with me from beginning to end, real life getting in the way of them being to follow the story to its finish. All the same, they all deserve appreciation. So thanks to Nyx Ro, for long, email discussions before the story even started and for providing unique insights into her favorite character, Daniel. I hope someday you will be able to read this. To Janissima, who provided so much in the way of opinion on the developing child from her own background as an elementary school teacher, as well as thoughts and insights on the characters and story. And to samfan9, who was first and always a fan of the story, but eagerly stepped up to the challenge of beta reading, spending countless hours going over the story to provide thoughts and opinions, plot suggestions, sometimes even wild hopes, and patiently correcting grammar while tightening sentence structure and wording.
And again, I'd like to offer many thanks to my readers, especially those that held on during the long silence on my part, ever daring to hope. And special thanks to those who take the time to leave reviews; I always love to hear from you guys. I know many of you may have hoped for a little more from this ending. Perhaps you expected me to put all my toys back the way I found them. All I can say is that I have my reasons for leaving a few things a little open ended. Perhaps someday, some years from now, you will hear from me again. If not, I hope this ending will serve, and small Sam will live forever on in your imagination, as she does in mine, having adventures, and perhaps saving the world again. And on that note, I will leave you with a thought from Albert Einstein:
"Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions."