Oh. My. God. I thought I would neverget this chapter finished. Sorry it's short-ish. Working on getting the free-flow back. Writer's block sucks.

Day 30 (continued)

"Can you believe this load of bunk?!"

Sam watched him pace back and forth. "Jack, will you calm down?"

"Carter, I'm in a cell!" He waved his arms around dramatically in case she'd somehow missed that point.

"I can see that."

"It's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. No, I take that back. The LA Kings winning the Stanley Cup was the stupidest thing I ever heard. But this? This is definitely second." Jack wagged his finger at her accusingly. "And ya know, I don't remember reading anything about my mini-me being kept in a cell."

Sam rolled her eyes. "I'm not the one keeping you in here. And besides, it's probably your duplicates fault you are in a cell right now."


"Because he escaped the base and went fishing," she replied dryly.

Jack looked just short of kicking the cot in the corner and pouting. "Stupid little punk," he muttered.

Sam walked up to the bars. "We'll figure it out. And in the meantime, you get to be compared to Brad Pitt."

He didn't get it. "Why?"

"I've already heard two people calling you Benjamin Button."

Jack rolled his eyes and walked over to the bars, putting his hand on hers. "Did you take names?"

"You can't demote them," Sam replied, trying to hold back her smirk.

Jack raised his brows in question. "Ship them to Siberia?"

She shook her head.

"I'm not really still getting younger, am I?"

Sam's smile faded with the return to seriousness. "We don't know yet. It's too soon to run a comparison. I hope not. You get any younger and I'll be robbing the cradle."

Jack smirked just a little. "You cougar you." Looking down at his thumb as he rubbed it over Sam's knuckles, he asked, "Where's Emma?"

"She's playing basketball with Hailey." Sam licked her lip. "Listen, about Emma..."

"What'd the shrink say?"

"Nothing definitive yet. She's scheduled to meet with us tomorrow. She has said that she wants to talk to Emma again."

"Didn't look like she was doing much good to me."

"She only talked to Emma once. You can't expect a breakthrough to happen on their first meeting."

"I don't know," Jack replied noncommittally.

"I want to try Emma on the heart monitor tonight."

Jack frowned, visibly clenching his teeth.

"You're not going to be there."

"Don't remind me."

"It's as good as time as any to see if it works."

Jack pushed off from the bars, running his fingers through his hair as he paced a little. He puffed out an annoyed breath. "I hate that I'm not gonna be there."

"I know."

Jack walked back over to the bars, resting his forehead against one. He stared at her sweater with unnecessary attention. "Okay."

"Okay." Sam looked at her watch regretfully. "I have to go pick up Nathan from school."

Jack sighed. "Yeah."

"Janet should be in to start her shift in a little bit. A pair of fresh eyes might help."

Nodding, Jack releasing her hand so she could leave.

As Sam started to walk out the door, he called after her, "I'll just wait here."

"Try not to fall sleep this time."

"Try not to keep me in there for an hour," Jack retorted.

Janet rolled her eyes.

"Why am I getting put in the coffin again?"

"You're getting an MRI so we can look at your brain activity."

"And what exactly will that prove?"

"For one, it will prove you don't have some kind of alien device in your head. Always reassuring," Janet responded dryly.

Jack paused in getting on the MRI 'bed'. "Funny, doc."

Janet smirked. "I try."

"Gotten any letters from Cassie lately?"

"One just the other day. She's doing really good," Janet revealed with obviously pride. Then leveling Jack with a look, she said, "Now hush so we can get this over with."

As Jack's head started to disappear inside the machine, he grumbled, "Love the bedside manner, Doc. Don't know how I ever lived without it."

Nathan watched his mother knocking on the walls in the baby's room. Frowning, he contemplated this odd behavior while munching on chips. When she continued, Nate couldn't take it anymore.

"There's no one in there," he told her.

Sam turned to the doorway. "What?" Then when what Nathan said clicked, she answered, "I'm trying to find support beams in the wall so I can hang these pictures."

"Oh." Nathan glanced over at Emma. She sat cross-legged on the floor, content to watch. "Can I help?"


Sam made a fist and knocked on the wall. "Hear that hollow sound? That means there's not a beam there."

Sam knocked at a few other spots on the wall and then stopped when the sound became duller. "That's what we're listening for. Now you try."

Nathan went to the other wall, knocking in a few spots and then smiling when he heard the right sound. "I found one!"

"Good job."

Emma seemed relatively unimpressed with the whole thing, sneaking into the bag of chips Nathan had set down.

Sam looked at Nathan's hand. "Nathan, let me take a look at your cut. I haven't checked it today."

Nate closed his fist. "It's fine."

Sam frowned and reached for his hand anyway. He had a habit of picking at his scabs and not allowing them to heal. Sam pulled Nathan's fingers back and saw a clean palm. She must have grabbed the wrong hand.

Sam looked at his other palm. No scratch. Sam checked his other palm again. Still clean. Bending his head back, Sam looked for the cut on his neck. Nothing.


Sam wasn't even sure what to ask.

"...what happened to your cuts?"

"They got better."

She wasn't going to panic.

"They were there yesterday."

Nathan didn't say anything, so Sam took him by the shoulders and stared her son directly in the eye. "How did they get better, Nathan?"

He shared a worried look with Emma as if asking her if she, too, thought their mother was acting crazy. "They just did," he shrugged.

Sam abruptly released him and reached for the cell phone in her pocket.

"What do you mean he's doing it, too?"

"I don't know, Jack. Janet is running some tests now. In other news, she's decided you're not a clone."

"Well, don't I feel better," Jack replied sarcastically. He scrubbed his hands over his face. "This isn't good, is it? Do you think it's some kind of contagion?"

Sam opened his cell door. "General Landry has already ordered the mountain locked down until we know for sure one way or the other."

"Great." Jack knocked on the door for the SF to let them out. "Emma here, too?"

"Yes. She's with Nathan in the infirmary."

With a nod at the man in thanks, Jack passed the SF and headed toward the elevator. "So what do we think this is?"

"We don't know. You haven't been in contact with any alien technology and obviously Nathan hasn't. You do both have the Ancient gene but as for why it would start to have an effect on you now...I just really don't know."

"And Nate says he doesn't know anything?"


By the time they got to the infirmary, there was a flurry of people busy getting things organized. Finding Janet and the kids in the chaos, Sam asked, "What's going on?"

She didn't look happy. "Standard protocol. Until I know otherwise, I have to treat whatever is happening to the General and Nathan as a contagion." Janet looked at Jack. "I'm sorry, sir. But you're both going to have to go in quarantine."

Jack shifted his feet. "Oh, for cryin' out loud."

"What's corentine?," Nate asked from the bed he was sitting on.

Sam shared a glance with Jack. "It means that you and Daddy are going to share a room for a little bit. That's all."

"Can I go?," Emma asked, sitting up on her knees.

"No, honey. Only Daddy and Nathan can go."

Jack looked at Nathan with a searching look. "Sure you don't know how your cuts got better?"

Nate looked at Emma and then at Janet. "Sure," he said.


"Shhhh," Nate reprimanded loudly when Emma tried to talk.

"Nathan," Jack drawled suspiciously. Nate looked up at him guiltily. He did know. They both did.

Sam took Nate by the shoulders. "Nathan, honey, what do you know?"

"I don't," he denied. "They just got better."

Jack looked at Emma. "Emma, what were you going to say?"

"Is Nathan gonna get in trouble?"

"Not if one of you tells us what you know."

Emma looked at her brother and bit her bottom lip. Without any preamble, Emma confessed, "I did it."