Disclaimer: No characters or themes relating to SG-1 belong to me.

Summary: Jack, Sam, and Jacob get stranded on a former Goa'uld slave planet.

Timeframe: Season Seven, after "Death Knell" and before "Heroes."

Characters/Pairing: Sam/Jack

Genre: Drama, Angst, Romance

Rating: PG

Note: Written as a present for annerbhp for the sj_everyday Secret Santa on LJ.

Start Date: 11-11-08

Finish Date: 12-23-08

Almost Kansas

Part One

The last thing he remembered was riding in a Tel'tak with his team and Jacob, on their way back from a little off-world meeting with the Tok'ra at a location that had no stargate. Other than that he recalled some odd turbulence, then everyone getting into escape pods. Jack wasn't exactly sure what happened after that, or why he was currently lying flat on his back in a patch of long, dry grass after tumbling out of his escape pod, groggy and barely conscious.

Stumbling to his feet, Jack took a moment to reorient himself before searching for the rest of his team. He looked around the immediate vicinity and noticed another pod, this one still closed, about twenty meters to his left. The pod looked strangely out of place in the field, as did his own. Jogging over, he idly thought that the planet they'd landed on was a decent temperature, and reminded him a heckuva lot like Kansas.

When he got closer to the pod, the door suddenly burst open and Carter flung herself out of the confined space, dropping to her hands and knees. Feeling a rush of panic at the thought that she may be injured, he quickly went to her, grabbing her elbow and pulling her to her feet. "You okay Carter?"

Looking at Colonel O'Neill briefly with surprise, Sam gave him a somewhat distant nod before shaking her head to clear it. "Yes sir, I'm fine."

"Good." Jack nodded and looked around again. "Let's see if we can find the others." Not a trace of the anxiety he was feeling had crept into his voice. He was worried about what may have happened to the pods carrying Daniel, Teal'c, and Jacob.

Jack and Sam didn't go far before they spotted another pod by the tree line. The both ran over to find the pod open, and Jacob sitting on the ground beside it, looking to be a nursing a sore shoulder.

"Dad!"

The Tok'ra looked up as Jack and Sam came over to him, a disgruntled look on his face even though his eyes shone with relief at seeing them. "Are you two alright?" he asked, his face slightly pinched with pain.

"We're fine Dad," Sam answered him quickly. Her eyes immediately went to the shoulder that her father was holding.

Jack looked at the older man with concern. "How 'bout you?"

Jacob grimaced. "Had a bit of a bumpy ride. Minor injury though; Selmak's taking care of it." He blinked and tried to look past Jack and Sam. "Teal'c and Daniel?"

Jack shook his head, crossing his arms over a chest that felt strangely bare without his tac vest or P-90.

"We've been looking, but we haven't seen any other escape pods besides our own and yours." Sam chewed her lower lip in thought.

Jacob heaved a sigh and looked between his daughter and her commanding officer. "I don't want to be the bearer of pessimistic thoughts here, but it's possible the pods never deployed. They wouldn't have landed much farther away from any of our pods."

"No," Jack said forcefully, clenching his jaw. "I'm not buying that."

Sam was silent as her father tried to make the Colonel see the possibilities.

"Jack," Jacob sighed loudly again. "The ship took some damage as we went through that asteroid field. The shields weren't holding very well. Too many systems were failing. That's why we got into the pods, don't you remember?"

Jack sat down in the dirt across from Jacob and angrily rubbed at his forehead, feeling more exhausted then he cared to admit. He remembered the ship bouncing around a lot, and getting into the pods, but not really why.

Sam shared an apprehensive look with her father and knelt beside O'Neill, her hand touching his shoulder. "Colonel? Are you alright?"

"Yeah. Fine." He released a breath with a heavy sigh and rubbed at the back of his neck.

Unconvinced, Sam said, "Did you hit your head on the landing, sir? You could have a concussion."

"I said I was fine dammit!" Jack growled, suddenly springing to his feet and storming off into the trees.

"Take it easy Jack." Jacob warned. He reached out for Sam and she helped him to his feet.

Sam smiled tightly, a somber look on her face. "It's okay Dad. He's just worried about Daniel and Teal'c..." she trailed off and frowned. "And so am I."

Jacob nodded. His arm feeling better now that Selmak had healed it, he rested it across Sam's shoulders and pulled her to his side. "That makes three of us."

Both Sam and her father went into the sparse forest to catch up with O'Neill. Sam ran ahead a little and called out to him. "Sir, wait." When he didn't slow down, she called out louder, "Sir! Please!"

Clenching his fists, Jack paused but didn't turn around. He waited impatiently for Sam and Jacob to catch up to him.

"Jack, where are you going?" Jacob asked, worried that the younger man was just going to lead them all off into the deep woods through a blinding haze of anger and frustration.

Jack started walking again as he answered. "I'm goin' to find Daniel, Teal'c, and a stargate; not necessarily in that order."

Sam passed her father and started to walk with him.

"This planet doesn't have a stargate," Jacob called after the both of them.

This time when Jack stopped he spun around, a hard look in his dark eyes. "How do YOU know?"

Patiently, Jacob said, "Because the planet where you gated to - the one where I picked you up in the Tel'tak - is the next planet over."

Looking at her father with concerned curiosity, Sam blinked steadily. "That doesn't mean anything though. This planet could still have a stargate."

Shaking his head, Jacob sighed regrettably. "No. It doesn't. We scouted this one for a possible Tok'ra base before choosing Rylos instead."

Sam's brows furrowed and Jack crossed his arms skeptically.

"What's wrong with this planet then?" Cocking his head to the side, Jack eyed the Tok'ra steadily.

Reluctant as he was to say this, Jacob knew they deserved to hear the truth. "It was once used for a Goa'uld slave labor site. We didn't want to take the chance that the Goa'uld might take interest again."

"Why would the Goa'uld choose a planet with no stargate?" Sam was suddenly feeling very leery about the world they'd suddenly found themselves on.

"It had one, but the Goa'ulds took it when they left."

"Great," Jack muttered, heaving a sigh. "So where does that leave us?"

Jacob pulled a device out of his pocket that looked like a fancy little GPS thing. "Well, hopefully the slave village is still around here. We could use the shelter for now."

Jack nodded in agreement while Sam stepped closer to her father, interested in the little gadget he was currently toying with.

"What's that Dad?" Sam asked, peering over her father's shoulder.

"It's a new device we've been working with. I grabbed it before getting into the escape pod," Jacob began to explain, still adjusting some controls on the palm-sized gadget. "It's used to detect the most inhabited areas on a planet, even if those living there have been gone for some time. It scans the landscape for areas with the most wear and tear."

"Wow." Sam looked suitably impressed, just itching to get her hands on the Tok'ra's newest tech toy. "How does it work? I'd love to get a look at it."

"Ah-ah!" Jacob pulled it away with a teasing smile. "No way am I letting you take this one apart Sam. It's a prototype. No way."

Sam rolled her eyes and glanced briefly at the Colonel who was looking particularly smug and trying not to laugh.

"Hell, I don't care as long as it works!" Jack grinned crookedly and sent Jacob an expectant look, his spirits lifted somewhat. "Where to Dad?"

Adjusting a few more dials on the device, Jacob pointed off to the west of their current location. "That way."

Jack nodded and waved a hand for the Tok'ra to lead the way. "Let's go."

-

The trio had been walking for nearly two hours in relative silence before Sam's chin suddenly lifted as though a brilliant idea had struck her. Seeing the familiar look on his 2IC's face, Jack tilted his head and nudged her arm. "Carter?"

"I think Teal'c and Daniel may have gotten away on the ship sir," she said, looking over at him as they continued to follow her father, only five meters or so behind him.

Jack's brows twitched. "I thought we escaped the ship in the first place because it was...y'know, about to crash?"

She nodded. "Yeah, I know sir. But maybe they managed to land it somewhere? Possibly even on this same planet, but on the other side. We didn't see any evidence of a crash, only the three of our escape pods." Sam didn't want to mention the other less favorable possibilities like the fact that their pods may not have opened and the ship crashed on the other side of the planet where they wouldn't see it.

"Good," Jack said curtly as he continued walking. "Knowing Teal'c and Danny, I'm bettin' they're out there somewhere," he said with more confidence than he felt.

Sam didn't say anything, lost in her own thoughts as they trudged through the trees. She briefly focused on her father up ahead as he trekked on without saying a word. She guessed he was having a private conversation with Selmak in his head, and that they were trying to figure out a way to get them off this planet. A way to get off the planet was in the back of Sam's mind, but she was mostly contemplating the possibilities of what could have become of her two missing teammates.

Coming out of the trees another hour later and emerging in an large, barren cornfield, the trio could see a small, shabby-looking village on the other side, about a quarter of a mile away. The Colonel loudly exclaimed his relief at the sight of shelter, and Sam was feeling much of the same, though less vocally. She was simply glad for the prospect of getting to rest soon. It had already been a long day and the three of them had been walking for quite a while now. It was obvious to her that Colonel O'Neill's notorious bad knees were acting up, and he was getting very cranky, as though not knowing the fate of their two missing teammates wasn't making him grouchy enough.

"Once we get across the field we'll check to see if any Goa'uld goodies have been left behind, or anything else that might be useful," Jack said as they moved through the tall, dry grass. He knew there was no need to issue the silent request to search for any signs of Daniel and Teal'c as well.

Sam sighed inwardly. There went her thoughts of rest and putting her CO in a better mood.

Jacob figured Sam and Jack could use some rest first, but didn't comment. He wasn't too tired yet thanks to Selmak, but a break in the constant walking would have been nice, and he knew the long journey was starting to take it's toll on the other two. Unfortunately, he also knew that there would be no dissuading Jack once he had his mind on something.

-

They'd reached the shabby village and split up to look around for nearly an hour after deciding to meet back up in the center of town in front of the least-destroyed house. Sam didn't find much of anything, besides a few large burlap sacks filled with cornmeal, and was about to step into one more little house when she realized that it was already being looked into. She peeked in the open doorway slowly, disconcerted to find her CO sitting on the floor against the left wall, his head in his hands. "Colonel, are you alright?"

Jack dropped his hands and quickly began to get up, using the wall as leverage.

Sam didn't hesitate as she darted toward him and grasped his arm.

Shaking her off, Jack held up a hand. "I'm fine Carter, just a headache," he insisted, knowing that trying to ward her off with a simple "I'm fine," wouldn't do it.

Chewing her bottom lip briefly in thought, Sam looked at him carefully. "Sir, I think we should all get some rest. It's getting dark and we won't be able to get much accomplished anyway," she entreated. Seeing the stiff look on his face, Sam knew he needed further encouragement and added, "It's been a long day sir. We're all tired."

When he looked at her, Sam tried to get the message across that she was the one who needed rest. It wasn't a total lie. She did want to rest, but she wanted him to rest more. He was exhausted, that much was obvious, and he most likely really did have a concussion.

Sighing, Jack nodded and stepped out the door of the small house. "Okay Carter, let's get Dad."

She smiled tightly and followed after him. The man was stubborn as hell, but just sometimes she knew how to get to him.

-

The first night Sam, Jack, and Jacob all slept in the same house they'd marked earlier as their meeting point, each taking shifts to keep watch during the night. Sam sneakily made sure that the Colonel got third watch, having the most uninterrupted sleep, while her dad insisted she take first watch, so she could get a good amount of proper rest as well.

When they realized help wasn't coming as soon as they would like, the trio spent the next six days surviving and trying to keep themselves busy somehow. Jacob, Sam, and Jack were basically living together all in that one very small house. They found some supplies around the village that would be useful. For food they'd found bags of cornmeal, rice, and grain, and made traps to catch animals. Searching for a water source on the morning of the second day, they'd discovered a large lake behind the run down village. The pump inside the house worked, but they were glad to find the lake just in case.

Jack leaned up against the wooden table in the small room where Sam was still working on her homemade blueprint of the village and surrounding farmland. He was rather cranky because there was only one bed in the house, and since both he and Jacob insisted she take it, the men had both been sleeping in opposite corners of the room on the floor. Jacob had his symbiote to stop him from waking up sore and stiff in the morning, luckily, but unfortunately for Jack, who was (thankfully) symbiote-less, the hard surface was doing nothing for his back.

Sam tried to smile up at her CO, but her patience was wearing thin. His crankiness wasn't making her time on 'Almost Kansas' (as Jack had dubbed the planet) any more pleasant, and she was beginning to find their constant close proximity was making her feel things she knew she shouldn't be feeling for her Commanding Officer. It also didn't help that every time she tried to talk to him her dad appeared. She and Jack hadn't spoken all that much since the mission started, and she had a feeling it had to do with some close calls they'd had somewhat recently, as well as the news of her new boyfriend.

"Carter, where's Dad?"

If telling him where her father was would get him out of her hair for a while.... Wait. Did he just ask where Jacob was? Meaning Jacob wasn't around at the moment? Sam's eyes widened and for a second all she could think about was how Jack had sat down in the dirt beside her after the super soldier was destroyed and just held her for a while. She must have been lost in thought a little too long, because when her eyes locked on the Colonel's again he was looking at her with concern.

"Uh, Earth to Carter?"

"Oh, um, he went to collect some wood and clean his clothes down by the lake," she finally answered, still staring at him distractedly.

Jack heaved a sigh and made a face. "Okay."

Setting aside the papers she'd been working on for the past three days, Sam steeled her nerves and looked the Colonel in the eyes seriously. "Sir, on my last mission...when that super soldier was after me, all I could think about was the thought that..." she inhaled sharply. "..The thought that I would never see you again. That was it, and I'd never get another chance to tell you-"

"Carter, stop!" Jack interrupted gruffly, his face a mix of emotions she couldn't quite decipher. He waved his hands wildly and leaned away from the heavy wooden table. "Before you say too much. Don't." His jaw clenched. "This can't happen Carter. As much as I... It just can't. I won't let you throw your career away. Not like this."

A heartbroken look crossed her face, quickly followed by anger. Though it was a delusion created by her concussed mind at the time, Sam recalled something her father had said to her on the Prometheus. Don't let rules stand in your way. Outraged, she stood and slammed her hands down on the table. "You're not letting me do anything! This is my decision, and who's to say I'd be throwing my career away?!"

Surprised at the outburst, Jack took a step back. "Carter," he growled dangerously. They were playing with dynamite here. "We're gonna get home, and then what?!" Now he was getting angry. He wasn't necessarily angry at her, but he was angry that she was revealing all this to him when he knew he couldn't have her. It was against the rules.

Her breaths heaving as her temper escalated, Sam shouted back, "I don't care! I'm sick of waiting for something good to happen that will make it be okay for us to be together! I'm sick of trying to find substitutes that never last because they're not you!"

Taken aback by her words, Jack didn't know what to say. All he knew was right now he'd seriously pissed her off and he couldn't find a way to fix it.

Hurt even more by his silence, Sam turned her back on him so he wouldn't see her tears. "Just get out of here, SIR."

He took a tentative step toward her and reached out to touch her shoulder, but pulled back at the last second. "Carter.."

"GO!" she practically screamed, shaking with anger. "Please," she added very softly a second later.

Sighing heavily in defeat, Jack rubbed at the back of his neck and turned, not wanting to cause her any more pain. He could hear her choked sobs as he went outside.

-