NOTE from the PHOENIX: This is the next story in the SG-1 K-9 series that starts out with...well... SG-1 K-9.
The Capitoline Wulf
"Car…uh…River, stop that!"
Using Sam's icy blue eyes perfectly River glared at Jack. Sitting on one of the beds in the infirmary River once again grabbed the front of the lightweight jacket she was now wearing. Jack reached out and took her wrists.
"No." Jack said with a stern tone.
With a look of defiance River jerked out of Jack's grasp and ripped the jacket open with enough force to send the buttons flying. With the jacket torn she went for the collar of the black undershirt. Jack took a firmer grip on River's wrists to stop her from undressing herself. Restrained the wulf in human clothing started biting at the evil shirt.
"Daniel!" Jack barked. "Get over here and help me!"
"I'm sorry, I thought you two were having fun."
"I don't know what you expect me to do."
"How did you keep Jackson from stripping you down?"
Daniel looked down at Jackson who in turn looked up at him with his head tilted to the side. Meanwhile River struggled to worm out of Jack's hands while she munched on the collar of the black undershirt.
"I never really had to, Jackson had just always accepted whatever I happen to be wearing."
"Why isn't River doing the same?"
"I have no idea."
Jack grumbled in frustration. River suddenly gave up on trying to remove the shirt. She threw her head back and bayed in a heartfelt wail of despair. Jackson jumped up, put his paws up on the bed and howled along with his distressed daughter.
"Airman, has anyone found Colonel Carter yet?"
"Daniel, why don't you and Jackson here go give finding her another try."
"Sir," Janet chimed in "perhaps it would be best if I gave her a light sedative."
"She certainly didn't take well to Jackson leaving the last time." Daniel agreed.
"Alright, just don't dope her up too much."
Janet nodded and instructed the nurse to bring her a low dose sedative. When she approached with the needle River widened Sam's eyes till the whites showed all around. Realizing that her display wasn't going to be enough to make the small doctor back off she bared her dull teeth and snarled at Janet.
Jackson let out a sharp warning bark that River understood loud and clear. Falling into a submissive pose River put her head down and whimpered. Having put River back in her place Jackson sat back. Janet administered the sedative and it worked quickly. River didn't fall asleep or even lay down, but it was instantly clear that she was calming.
"Okay, guys, go find Carter, she has to be on this Base somewhere."
"What if she isn't?"
"What if Sam's not on the Base anymore?" Daniel elaborated. "What if she left?"
"Why would she do that?"
"You told me yourself how upset she was about the discharge."
"Yeah, but she must be in River's body now right?"
"I assume so, but I'm sure she doesn't know that."
"How could she not notice?"
"A better questions is 'how could she?'." Daniel looked around. "How many mirrors are around here? When was the last time Sam even wanted anything to do with one?"
"I am such an idiot." Jack sighed.
"The mirror in the VIP room that she and River have been living in kept getting broken. I blamed River of course and after the third time it happened I simply didn't have it replaced. It never entered my mind that Carter was breaking it on purpose."
"I know I had a hard time facing myself when I thought I'd never switch places with Jackson."
Jackson made a huffing noise.
"No offence." Daniel apologized.
"Well when you got off this Base you found yourself at the local humane society."
"Sam's probably better at evading capture than I am."
"No contest there."
Daniel was about to retort, but he realized that not only had he walked right into that one, but it was also one hundred percent accurate. Switching places with Jackson Daniel padded out of the infirmary and made his way towards the main entrance. He was fairly certain that Sam hadn't left that way, but he figured he might as well take the easy route himself.
Once out into the bright morning of Colorado Springs Daniel blinked a few times to adjust his sensitive eyes. He started by sniffing at the air, hoping to catch Sam's scent. It wasn't until he caught a musky odour that he realized it was actually River's scent in the air.
"At least now we know you did switch."
Having caught the scent he tried to follow it. However the trail was several hours old and it seemed to go in circles. It looked to Daniel like Sam had paced around the woods around the mountain in indecision. There was a high barbed wire fence around the perimeter, but Daniel knew that wouldn't be able to stop her, after all it hadn't stopped him when he was in Jackson for the first time in a panic.
Daniel searched desperately in the woods near Cheney mountain, hopeful that she hadn't left the whole SGC. He even tried howling a few times to let her know they were worried about her. After an hour's worth of hard search Daniel returned to the infirmary and reclaimed his body.
"She has definitely left the mountain." Daniel reported sadly. "We have to figure out where she would go before she gets hurt."
Jack bowed his head and pinched at the bridge of his nose. River, still under the influence of the sedative, leaned forward and nuzzled against Jack's chest. Not in the mood for such comfort Jack pushed her away. Without a word he suddenly turned and went to leave.
"I have an idea."
Not hanging around long enough to explain himself Jack left. He made his way to the parking lot and got in his car. Driving into a quiet neighborhood he pulled up to a familiar house and parked across the street. They had been forced to sell Sam's house recently, a young couple now lived there.
Getting out of his car Jack just stood on the sidewalk for a moment. When nothing happened he carefully made his way around the side of the house. There was a small wooded lot behind the house. Jack thought he caught a motion out of the corner of his eye, but before he could investigate the new owner of the house came out.
"Can I help you?"
"I'm just looking for a friend of mine."
"Really?" The homeowner said with obvious distrust.
"In my backyard?"
"It used to be hers."
"I see…" The man began edging back into the house. "Please leave."
"Carter," Jack called to the woods "are you coming with me or do I have to let this nice young man call the cops on me?"
The homeowner was now visibly nervous. He gasped sharply as Sam stepped meekly from dense wood. River's body was now a year old, she no longer looked like an awkward puppy. She was twice the size of any native wolf, with the striking facial markings and sliver coat of her mother and the black saddle on her back from her father. She walked up to Jack with her head held low.
"I'm not mad at you, Carter." Jack smiled. "Come on…I'll give you a ride home."
Sam glared her mismatched eyes at the man now living in what she considered her home. The homeowner backed into the house and quickly shut the sliding glass door. With an audible sigh she made her way to Jack's truck. He trotted over to the passenger side and opened the door for her.
"Ma'am." Jack said respectfully.
Despite herself Sam's toothy jaw opened into a smile. She jumped up into the passenger's seat and waited for Jack to get in. Once he did she started a barking, whining, and whimpering an explanation for going AWOL.
"Easy, Carter, it's alright. In fact it's better than you think."
Sam turned her head to the side in confusion. Jack smiled once again and reached up and adjusted the rear view mirror so that Sam could look at herself. She pretended to not understand his intentions and kept her eyes adverted.
"Come on, take a look."
It took Sam a moment to bring herself to raise her eyes to the reflective surface. Although her colour view of the world was drastically muted she could instantly see that her eyes were different colours. Closer inspection showed her that the markings on her face were all wrong for her true wulf form. She turned a startled expression on Jack and barked sharply.
"River changed places with you during the night, and she was nice enough to turn you human again. She's waiting back at the Base."
Sam was so excited that her tail was suddenly wagging uncontrollably. Unable to contain herself she lapped her long velvety tongue up the side of Jack's face. Jack laughed as Sam realized what she had done. She muttered an unspoken apology.
"Not the best kiss I've ever received…but still in the top ten."