Saying Nothing At All

Chapter Five: One Way or Another

Based upon Stargate: SG-1

- - -

Sam started crying before she realized she was back in the Goa'uld brig. The blaring heat of Jack's eyes remained as the only vision in her mind. She put her head in her hands, and felt Khallil sit down next to her.

"It's okay, Sam. We'll get out of this. Greene and Richie are the ones who are causing the loop to reset, they're just waiting for us to save you," Khallil said.

She squeezed her eyes tighter, attempting to remove the vision of Jack's face from her mind. All she could see were his brown eyes; turned dark by what he had witnesses too many times. All she could hear was the soft way he whispered her name as if it was the most precious word he knew.

"I saw his face, Sam. I've been married for sixteen years and I know what a man's face looks like when he looks at someone he cares for. I know what he feels for you. One way or another, he won't let this happen again. He won't let himself let it happen again," he whispered.

She cried for a few moments. The pain wasn't from dying; it was reliving a thousand bad goodbyes to Jack. He had seen her killed so many times and was so powerless. Had it not been for his eyes, she could have endured it . . . but the love in his gaze . . .

She looked up when she heard footsteps. She took a deep breath and wiped the tears from her eyes. She would do it again. She took another deep breath, finding strength in her self. Khallil was right: Jack simply could not let it happen again. It was literally impossible for him to let it happen again.

Sitting upright, finding strength in her voice, "Let them come," she challenged to no one in particular.

- - -

As soon as Jack stepped out of the gate, he turned and grabbed Jacob by his shirt, throwing him up against the gate.

"I can NOT see that again!" he shouted. Livid couldn't explain his demeanor.

"Jack, what are you talking about?" He could tell Jacob was not only confused, but a little scared. Well, he needed to be scared. He needed to be scared out of his mind.

Jacob could not imagine what Jack had seen far too many times; could not imagine what Jack would not let happen again.

He shoved him against the gate again. "I know you think turning yourself in will save her, but IT DOESN'T! DAMN IT, JACOB! HE KILLS HER! I've seen it! I've seen it more than once, and I CANNOT see it again. Do you understand me?!" He felt like there were more words he should have used, he could have used, but he was never an eloquent man; Sam understood that.

Jacob looked past Jack to Daniel. "Daniel, what is he talking about?"

"We're in a time loop, Jacob," Daniel said quietly. "In every loop thus far, you've given yourself up and Ericthonius has tortured and killed Sam. I know you think your way will work, but . . ."

"It doesn't, Jacob," Jack hissed. "I need you to trust me. I need you to trust me so I can save her. If you trust me, maybe, just maybe, I stop him from blasting a gaping hole through her chest."

- - -

"Alright, Teal'c." Greene said as soon as he realized the loop had reset. "This may sound weird, but we are going through a time loop. We cause it when we activate the mothership's hyperdrive. Something about those binary starts sends us right back to now.

"We need to take control of the Pel'tak, shut out auxiliary control and wait to see if the others can save Major Carter. If they do, we're going to help them take the ship, if not, we have to reset the loop and figure out a way to save her ourselves. Got it?"

Teal'c studied him for a moment. "How did you come by this information?"

"We can remember the loop," Richie explained, "but you can't. We think it has to do something with the symbiote you carry. Ericthonius, General Carter, and the other Jaffa don't remember anything either."

"We will proceed."

Greene slapped Richie on the shoulder. "We can make this work!"

- - -

Jacob was making Jack feel nervous. Jack knew he couldn't have said nor done anything else to convince him of the truth. He knew that the life of his daughter would be enough to cause him to make the right decision, but that was only if Jacob believed him.

If they looped around again, so help him . . . He was going to leave Jacob on the planet. He was going to shoot Jacob and leave him behind. One way or another, this would be the last time.

Their party stopped and the First Prime approached them. "Colonel Jack O'Neill, Doctor Daniel Jackson, and . . ."

"Jacob Carter," Jacob identified himself.

"You wouldn't happen to know a Major Samantha Carter, would you?"

"Only by reputation," he lied.

The First Prime smiled. "I respect your wish to protect your kin, but I know you lie. She is your . . . daughter?"

Jacob pursed his lips. "Yes," he admitted.

"Very interesting." He paused gathering his thoughts. "You are Tok'Ra. Which?"

Jacob paused. "Delak," he lied. Both Jack and Daniel were glaring at Jacob, and Jack knew Jacob knew they were.

The First Prime nodded. "The Lord Ericthonius will see you now." He turned and headed back in the direction he had come. The Jaffa contingent followed him.

They walked into the room that Jack never wanted to see again.

From another door, five Jaffa brought in Sam and El Tahir. They both looked alright.

He made eye contact with Sam. "Are you alright?"

"I'm alive . . ." she replied. Her words meant so much more. They had a thousand different meanings, not the least of which were 'Now that you're here,' 'I believe in you,' and 'I love you.'

Jack glanced at Jacob, who looked nervous, but remained thankfully silent.

Ericthonius smiled. "They have been our guests. I now extend a similar welcome to you." He paused, reading the human faces before him.

Jack glared at him.

"Well, in that case . . ." Ericthonius recovered from the lack of reaction with a smile. "Their lives for the shol'vah, Selmak."

Daniel handed the First Prime a data crystal. "Selmak is waiting for you here. He does not have a ship and there is no stargate."

Ericthonius smiled. "Thank you so much for your cooperation. You may leave." He paused for a second, "Need I remind you that if this information is false, the next time we meet, which will be soon . . ."

Jack continued to glare at Ericthonius. "Our people's lives are too important to us," he growled.

He turned to his First Prime, "Signal the Pel'tak. We will depart when our guests reach the surface."

The Jaffa stood back, allowing Sam and El Tahir to join them. Jacob wrapped his arms around Sam.

Jack exhaled. She was okay. A huge weight lifted itself from his shoulders. He wanted to hold her. He wanted to kiss her. He wanted to stare into her blue eyes and tell her that he would never let anything like this happen again. He wanted to never let her go. But, they saved her, and all military etiquette allowed was for him to smile. So he smiled — falsely — but he smiled none-the-less.

"Lord! The Pel'tak is not responding!" the First Prime reported.

Before anyone could react, Jack pulled his 9 mm from its holster and started firing. Daniel and Jacob must have done the same because in a few seconds, every Jaffa was either dead or unconscious due to zat fire.

El Tahir grabbed a staff weapon from a fallen Jaffa and stood guard at one of the doors.

Ericthonius stood, "What is the-"

He didn't finish his sentence; Jacob shot him twice with his zat. "I should have ended this a long time ago," he whispered.

Jack was surprised, shocked actually. Given the chance, he would have done the exact same thing, worse actually. He just hadn't expected Jacob to act so swiftly.

"Colonel O'Neill, this is Major Greene. Congratulations, Sir. We've flooded the lower decks with an anesthetizing gas. Everything but where you are, we are, and a route between are out of commission. Would you care to join us on the Pel'tak?"

"Well done, Major," Jack replied.

He glanced at Sam, who was staring at Ericthonius. He took a step towards her and put his hand on her shoulder. She turned and they made eye contact. "I'm ready to go, Sir."

The word had never sounded so cold, so distance, so . . . official. But things were back to how they should be. "Alright, Carter," he said her name a little gruffer than he had become accustomed to of late. He activated his radio, "We're on our way."

- - -

Jack popped his head into Carter's lab. She sat in front of her laptop, but it was obvious that she wasn't working; it had fallen into sleep mode.

"Hey," he said, alerting her to his presence.

She looked up, somewhat surprised. "Oh, hello, Sir." The way she said his title had softened again.

He slowly approached her. "How are you holding up?"

She shrugged. "Oh, not bad . . ."

They both remained in a slightly awkward silence until Carter inhaled sharply. "What Ericthonius did to me wasn't what hurt the most," she said, avoiding direct eye contact with him. "Although it did hurt like a son-of-a-bitch," she forced a small laugh, attempting to air out some of the awkwardness that had begun to fester between them. "It wasn't even seeing my dad like that," her tone turned serious again.

She looked up at him and he understood. He took another step closer. "Com'ere," he said softly. He wrapped his arms around her and held her close. He had hurt her the most. He knew she couldn't have stood killing him one more time. But that was a little beside the point, because he would not have survived her death again.

After several seconds, she leaned back. "Thank you, Sir," she whispered. It was times like these that the word 'sir' leaving her mouth was not the word 'sir.' It did not mean 'CO,' it meant 'Jack;' it meant 'My Only.'

"For what?" he asked.

"For saying nothing at all."

Willing to do absolutely anything for her, he smiled, and replied gently, "Any time."

- - - Fin - - -