TITLE : Lightbulb, Tape And A Box of Chocolate Part 3 - 'Thank You . For Everything'

" You know the twin that live just next door to me, don't you?"

" Yeah, what about them?"

" Well, I've received a challenge letter from them."

" Challenge letter, Sir? From the twin?" He's joking, he got to be joking.

" Yes Carter, and it's been a month. I haven't answered back, I was busy with all the stuff that's been going on around here. You know, the whole saving earth things."

" Why would they sent you a challenge letter, Sir?"

" Well, if you want a war, the side that you have war with has to be present right? Or else what's the point?"

" War, what war?" It's getting more and more weird.

" Laser Quest. You've heard about that, haven't you? We have one of them in Colorado Spring Mall."

" Yes, I took Cassie there once. But I don't see how.. "

" Let me finish first Carter."

" OK"

" OK, where was I, oh yeah the letter. Since I haven't answered it, they wrote another letter basically calling me coward. I could not accept that. Therefore I decided that if they want to have war, they gonna get it." He paused for a while. " That's where you come. I want you to be on my side kicking their butts."

" You want me to do what?" I'm shocked, I know the Colonel is a big kid, but this?

" It's not revolting, it's not embarrassing, it's perfect. I wonder why I didn't think about this before. Those little brats have been bugging me for years. Did you know that they painted my house walls pink once, I got odd looks from my other neighbors for a while after that." He looks a little disgusted by the memory.

" But Sir, those little brats couldn't be older than twelve years old." He wants me to fight against kids?

" And? But? So? Therefore?"

" I don't bully kids, Sir. I mean two USAF officers, one Colonel and one Major, against two twelve years old? It just doesn't seem fair Sir."

" They're going to bring their friends with them Carter, there'll be 6 or maybe 7 little brats in total. If it's only the two of them Major, I won't need the backup."

" But still Sir, they're just kids."

" They not kids Carter, they're big headed troublemakers. Someone has to shrink the size of their head a bit."

" But it's like taking candy from a baby Sir. Imagine what the Marines said if they ever found out about it."

" No one will found out about this. Beside, it's going to be just the two of us against 7 kids, that kinda make it fair, don't you think. Beside, you still want the tape, don't you?"

He already made up his mind. How am I supposed to refuse that. As if sensing my hesitation he took something from his pocket and put it on the table.

" Look Carter, here's the tape. I'm willing to give it to you in advance, as a gesture of my good will." He smiles. How could he do that, he knows as soon as I take the tape I have to go along with his plan. Bullying kids is so wrong (but it does sounds like fun), on the other hand the tape is screaming to me, begging to be burnt. Decision, decision.

" Come on Carter. Try to look at it as a mission, with those brats as our enemy instead of that non-good slimy snakeheads. It's a nice change for a while, don't you think. We'll have fun, I promise." He tries to convince me.

" I can not take Teal'c with me, he'll scare the kids right away. And I can not take Daniel, I'll lose for sure. You're the obvious choice, beside, I got something that you want." He gave me his 'I'm gonna make you do it, whether you like it or not' smile.

I look at him and then at the tape, and at him again.

" I need time to think Sir."

" Come on Carter, I know you're not as angelical as you look." Angelical? Did he just say angelical?

" You almost made Daniel had a heart attack yesterday, you know." I had to smile sheepishly at that. How did he know?

" Daniel deserved that Sir."

" Oh really? So, how is it different than taking candy from a baby then?" He got me there.

" OK, OK. I'll do it." He's grinning now.

" Alright. I'm going to write the reply for that letter. Meanwhile Major, see if you could get a blue print of the Laser Quest arena. We need to get ready. Oh yeah, and the tape is all yours now." He's getting right to business.

I still can't believe that I actually agree to did it but I must admit that I was having fun. We're outside the Laser Quest arena waiting for the results to come out from the computer. The Colonel and the twin are having heated conversation.

" We are the winner Colonel, you might as well give us the hockey stick now." One of the twin said, I think it's Roland, or maybe Ronald. I don't know which one is which. They're identical, with brown hair and blue eyes and same clothes.

" Huh, what makes you so sure you win it. The game is a walk in the park for me, maybe you're the one who must gave me those rare hockey cards now." Somehow, before the game even begun they managed to raised the stake of the game.

" Here we go again." I look at my side and see a boy with red hair and brown eyes sighs.

" Excuse me?" The boy look at me and said,

" They always like this."

" Always?"

" Always."

I smiles and bend towards the boy a bit. " The Colonel can be childish sometimes" I whisper at him, don't want the Colonel to hear it.

" The twin really like the Colonel a lot you know. But they argue a lot, I don't understand it." He whispers back at me. The Colonel and the twin are still arguing. The other kids are talking among themselves.

" The Colonel thinks of them as friends. That's why they argue a lot."

" Does he always argue with all his friends?" Suddenly, Daniel image pooped out.

" No, not always. But quite often." I let out a small smile

" What about you? Did he argue with you a lot?"

" No, I'm not allowed to argue with him a lot you know. I'm in the military, like him. He's my superior officer, I have to do everything that he ordered me to do."

" Oh, I bet it's not really nice."

" What do you mean?"

" What if he order you to do something that you don't want to do?"

" I just do it." I gave him a shrug.

" Why?"

Sometime I wonder about it as well. But I always know what the answer is.

" Because I trust him, he's a good man. Although sometime he's acting like a kid." I grin at him. He grins back.

" My name is Bryan. The twins are my cousins." He offers me his hand.

" Nice to meet you Bryan. I'm Sam. Colonel O'Neill is my friend." I take his hand and shake it.

The results are out and of course we win it. The Colonel lets out a triumphant 'YES' and the twin look a bit dejected. I couldn't help but feeling guilty and also feeling sorry for them. We start to leave the arena.

" Hey, don't feel so bad about it. You guys doing alright, just need a little bit more practice. After all, you were up against the pro." I try to cheer them up a bit.

" Carter, why are you siding with the enemy?" The Colonel gave me a mock glare. I just ignore him.

" If you want I could teach you guys how to hold and fire the laser correctly. So next time you could beat him for sure." I whisper to the twin and gave them a wink. Their faces light up.

" You promised?" ask one of them

" Promised."

" See you again Major Carter." After that they went on their own way and leave me with the Colonel alone. We're walking toward the elevator.

" Carter, what did you just said to them?"

" Nothing you should worry about Sir."

" Are you sure?"

I just gave him a smile.

" Colonel, can I ask you something?"

" Sure."

" What's with the challenge letter thing?"

" It's nothing. It's like making an appointment."

" You make an appointment to fight with kids, Sir?"

" We're not fighting, we're competing." I roll my eyes.

" Right."

We reach the elevator and get inside. I press the button.

" So, how's the tape doing?"

" The tape is ancient history now."

" So, I take it that you finally burned it."

" Yep, and it gave me a great satisfaction when it finally gone."

" So, blowing things up is not the only thing that gave you satisfaction then." I laugh at this.

" No, it isn't."

The elevator reaches our floor and we start walking towards our cars.

" You know, seeing you with the twin is like seeing you with Daniel."

" How's that?"

" You guys argue a lot. Over insignificant things."

" Really?" He put his hands on his pocket.

" Yeah, in fact you look like you enjoying it."

" Hell yeah, it will be boring if people just do whatever I said."

" Do you think I'm boring then?"

" You? Boring?" He chuckles." Hell has to froze first before that happened."

" But I always do what you said Sir, being your 2IC."

" Yeah, you do. But you're ... different." I stop walking.

" Different? In what way?" He also stops after realizing that I'm no longer walking beside him. We just a couple steps apart. He turns and looks at me.

" I don't know, just different. It's something that you couldn't put your finger at." He said affectionately. Suddenly the air feels heavy. All I want to do is reach him, make a contact of some kind. We're in the parking lot, nobody else is there.

So, I close our distance and hug him. " Thank you." It's all I said and I brush my lips against his cheek and let it linger there for a while. He put his hands around me and pulls me closer to him.

" What for?" I could feel that his voice is close to my ear, my blood is racing. I let my head rest on his shoulder, close my eyes and welcome the warmth of his body.

For being my friend, for having faith in me, for letting me be me, for making me laugh, for your fishing invitations, for not leaving me behind on that Apophis new ship, for being there for me when I needed you the most, for saying that you care about me. I could think of millions of 'for'.

" For everything."

I'm getting ready for bed. I feel really light now, as if a heavy burden has been lifted off from me. I didn't even know that I got the burden in the first place. I look at the table next to my bed, there's a box there. It's the chocolate box that the Colonel gave me after I fainted.

The sight of it makes me smile, it's empty now, but I couldn't bring myself to throw it away. I put it in my drawer and I know if I ever feeling down or sad, all I have to do is take a look at the box and everything will be alright. Yes, everything will be alright.


AN: Finally, thanks for all the reviews and feedbacks. I think this is the final part of this story. I hope I haven't left anything out.

Please send feedback to blue-topaz@lycos.com