AN: Before I start this, I do have to say thank you to all the fabulous people who reviewed, especially Eternal Density, acer-sigma, Harm Marie, HAZMOT and spacegypsy1 whose questions and comments helped me tidy up so many story points. You guys rock!
Epilogue: There's no place like home, but there's a couple of places that look like it…
When SG9 had stumbled through the Gate, running from enemy fire and obviously distraught, one of the first things that General Landry had asked about was their missing team member. Finding out that Adria had been separated from the group and had told them to escape while they still could, Landry immediately ordered a squadron to gear up and get ready to extract one of their own who had been left behind. It was therefore to everyone's great distress that when Walter tried to dial the planet back, he was unable to get a lock.
Quickly figuring out the problem and mapping a route around the supernova using a couple of different Stargates, the squadron arrived to find the area around the Stargate mostly deserted. Capturing the guard that the complacent villagers had left to monitor the Gate, they interrogated him only to find that he had clearly seen Adria enter the wormhole and depart the planet. Understandably upset at hearing this unwelcome information, they returned to the SGC and notified General Landry of what they had learnt.
"So, even though we have looked into every possible avenue, and we have run countless tests on the Gate, we still have no clue what happened to Adria?"
Turning away from the window overlooking the Gateroom, General Landry turned to face the assembled scientists. Nominated by the group using the tried and true method of a solid kick to the ankle, Dr Felger was the unwilling spokesperson. "I'm sorry sir, but the analysis of the Gate on Nullabour shows that a stable wormhole was created, but our Gate never activated. All of our research points to the fact that the wormhole was intercepted during its creation and that most likely anything that travelled through it…wouldn't survive."
"So you're saying that there's no hope."
"Not necessarily sir. Some of us think that the supernova's energy may warp the wormhole to a different destination, just not in our galaxy. If you recall when all those alternate SG1's came through the gate seven years ago, the initialising factor in the inter-dimensional travel was a large scale explosion. It could be that Adria landed in an alternate reality, but if that's true, we are unlikely to ever see her again. The energy needed to reverse the initial wormhole is too much for any current technology to…"
"Unscheduled Off-World Activation!"
Heading down the spiral staircase and entering the control room at speed, Landry looked towards Walter for answers.
"No IDC received sir, but we are reading a stronger than usual energy surge."
"Close the Iris."
Moving to operate the relevant controls, Walter was dismayed at the unexpected result.
"Iris controls are not responding sir!"
Ignoring the momentary flash of panic that raced through him, General Landry activated the comms system. "Defence teams at the ready!" Watching the men below raise their guns into position and prepare themselves for a possible attack, Hank felt the all too familiar tension rise.
Tension that dissipated upon seeing the familiar figure of the missing SG9 member step out of the blue puddle. Watching Adria as her eyes darted to the blast mark on the wall, and then towards the wrench that hung from the bottom-most chevron of the gate in memory of Sgt Siler, General Landry saw her eyes light up in relief.
"She did it! I'm back!"
Reaching towards the intercom with the intention of ordering the Defence team to stand down, General Landry was shocked to find that for the first time that he knew of, Master Sgt Walter Harriman had deserted his post. Turning to watch the shorter man race out of the room and down to the Gateroom floor, he smiled to see him duck between two gun-wielding marines and rush up the ramp to hug Adria as hard as he was able to.
"You're back! You're alive! You're back!!"
"I know, Walter. It's great to see you to!"
"Don't you ever do that again! You were missing for seven hours and no-one could figure out a way to get you back and I didn't want to be the one to tell him..."
"Walter! Walter, stop and breathe! I'm back and I'm fine!"
"As appreciative as we are of that fact, would you mind telling me where you went and how you managed to return?"
Facing the Base Commander who had entered the room while Walter's greeting had distracted her, Adria smiled at the General. "Well sir, Alternate Ascended Me sent me back and the rest of it… you may not believe."
"Well, it all started when I arrived in the Gateroom…"
As Adria, Walter and General Landry left the Gateroom in order for a debriefing to take place, the Defence team were disappointed to be missing out on what would undoubtedly be a great story.
Mind you, base gossip being what it was, they would hear it soon enough.
After having started her day by being shot at, hours being interrogated in another time and dimension, followed by her subsequent trip home and the resulting two hour debriefing, Adria's body was crying out for a bath and her bed. But there was something she had to do first. Parking outside a single level house in the Colorado Springs suburb, Adria took a moment to compose herself before she exited her car and walked up the path to the front door. Her gentle knock on the door brought a quick response, and as soon as the door had opened, she was enfolded in the embrace of Vala Jackson.
"Darling, are you okay? Walter called and told me what happened. Is everything alright?"
Smiling through the unbidden tears that popped up, Adria wiped her eyes and gave a watery laugh. "That was quick. The debriefing only ended forty minutes ago."
"I have learnt to never underestimate how quickly Walter can extract information."
Sharing a giggle, the two alien women entered the Jackson home and sat down together on the couch. "So, how bad was it?"
"Well, I was strapped to that damned chair again and interrogated by my friends, so it wasn't fabulous, but …"
"But what, darling?"
"I saw Adam again. He was alive there."
Enfolding her daughter in her arms as the younger woman broke down, Vala could only stroke her back as she cried her eyes out.
"And the thing is Mother, for half a heartbeat, I seriously wanted to stay. He was just standing there with that slightly confused look on his face, and all I could think about was holding on to him and never letting him go."
"But then the other half a heartbeat happened and you remembered what awaited you here?"
"Something like that." Sitting up and wiping her eyes, she turned to Vala with a questioning look. "Is he asleep?"
"Yes, he tried to stay awake as long as he could but he dropped off as we were looking through the photo albums."
"That's my boy." And with that, Adria stood up and walked down the corridor towards the guestroom that had become a second home to her. Opening the door, she spied the young figure in the bed, arms and legs splayed out and taking up as much room as possible, blond curls tousled and in disarray.
"Did he behave himself?"
"He and Davy decided to play 'SG1 takes on the Goa'uld' and there was a slight disagreement when choosing their roles, but they ended up okay."
Adria smiled as she looked upon the welcome sight of her two-year-old son, the main reason that she had fought her way out of the depression that consumed her after her fiancée's death. They had found out that she was pregnant only two weeks before Adam had lost his life, but she could still remember his joy at the thought of their future child.
"Let me guess, they both wanted to be the good guys, but AJ ended up forcing Davy to be the bad guy?"
"Something like that. Just as strong as his mother."
"And stubborn like his father."
With one final glance to the sleeping toddler, Adria closed the door and both her and her mother walked back towards the den. "Is it okay if we stay here tonight? I don't want to wake him…"
"It's fine. I'll grab some blankets so you can sleep on the couch here."
Smiling her gratitude at her mother, Adria removed her jacket and headed towards the bathroom in order to wash off some of the grime of the day. On her way down the corridor, she was halted by her mother's soft voice. "Before you go to sleep, I noticed when we were going through the photo albums that every time AJ sees a photo of Mitchell, he yells out 'Uncle Grover!' Did you have anything to do with that?"
Adria quickly smirked and then pasted an innocent look on her face. "I did promise him vengeance for the hair-dye trick. I never said there was a time limit on it!"
(For real this time!)