Jack heard her crying before he'd even reached the door to the house.
She walked into the room, carrying Beth in her arms. Quickly wiping
the tears from her cheeks, she smiled
at him. "Jack."
"Are you okay?"
"I am well."
"She is well also. She has not cried in my
He smiled. "You're a natural. You'll make a great mother."
Jaylan returned the smile, but her eyes
were sad. "I am unable to
"Oh. I'm sorry, I didn't know."
"It is not your fault Jack. I
do not tell everyone that I meet."
"I can understand why."
"Would you like to hold your daughter now?"
wasn't sure why Jaylan had been crying, but he figured that if she
wanted to talk, she'd let him know.
wanted to see me sir?"
"Have a seat Doctor."
"Yes sir. General Carter, it's nice to see you again." She smiled,
taking the seat that had been offered.
"Janet, how many times do I have to tell you to call me Jacob?"
don't know sir." She smiled. "Was there something wrong?"
"No Doctor, nothing's wrong. We need to ask you a personal
completely off the record."
Janet looked worried but nodded. "Do you know if Sam's seeing
"As in dating?"
"Um…..she hasn't said anything to me. But I doubt it sirs."
do you doubt it?"
"Because over the past year and a bit, the only way I've been able to
get Sam off base is by
ordering her. She didn't have time to pay her
own bills, let alone date anyone. If she couldn't keep her house then
doubt that she had much time for men."
"Sam lost her house?"
Suddenly, Janet felt like she had a bad case of
foot in mouth
disease, but answered none the less. "Yes sir. She didn't pay her
rent or any of her bills. The gas
and electricity were cut off, then
the water, and eventually the landlord had her evicted, it didn't
bother her though.
She never left the base anyway."
"You had to order her to leave? What else did you have to order her
to do?" Jacob
"Um…..I can't say sir, doctor/patient confidentiality."
Jacob was very thankful that Hammond intervened
point. "Doctor, Major Carter isn't at her brothers. She lied about it
when Jacob rang her, we have no idea
where she is or if she's in
danger. I think we can waver the confidentiality rule in this case."
Sam had lied?
She sighed, and took a deep breath. "I had to order her to eat. She
times and I've had her on a drip to feed her on
several occasions. She was living of coffee and I had to put
in her cups to get her to sleep."
"My God." Jacob breathed.
This is how his little girl had been living?
don't understand her behavior any more than you do sir. It's like
she's obsessed with getting Colonel O'Neill home. More
so since the
"Accident?" Jacob repeated.
Exactly how much of his daughter's life had he missed
"Major Carter thought of a plan to bring Jack home. She had to build
a particle beam accelerator to get
the Stargate to work properly. The
first one she built exploded and killed three people. She blamed
"But it wasn't her fault." Janet assured. "No one but herself is
blaming Sam for the accident, but she
felt like she had to work
harder to build another one. One that was perfect, was what she told
could she be then?"
That, unfortunately, was the million-dollar question.
Sam couldn't help but
smile proudly, it was done.
It had taken her a year and a half, almost four of those months in
isolation, but she
had finished it. Sam was certain that this
generator would work. She had uploaded safety procedures, and even an
that would signal if the device was going to explode again.
She'd had a brief nap to regenerate herself and used her
burner to heat up a can of soup. Now all she had to do was work out
her next course of action.
be easy to sneak back out of her lab and get to the surface,
and then check back in like she had been at Mark's all along.
her father was here, then she'd have to wait a few days before she
could do that. Or, she could always put
the generator on a cart and
walk out of here and admit that she'd been hiding in her lab for
almost four months.
then they'd make her seem Mackenzie.
"Has anyone checked her lab?" Janet asked.
"Her lab is locked,
like it always is when Major Carter isn't on
base. And besides, we would have known if she came back in."
no disrespect intended, but Sam known this base better than
anyone else. Do you really think that she couldn't get back
in if she
had to?" Janet asked.
"But she'd need food. She couldn't survive for this long without it,
would have had to come out to get something to eat." Jacob
Something inside of Janet's head clicked.
"Sir, permission to be
excused. I have an idea, and I need to check something out."
and walked quickly to the door. "Sirs, don't go anywhere,
I'll be back in ten."
Walking faster than she though
her legs could possibly go, Janet
reached the elevator and stepped in, pressing the button for the
she waited impatiently for the cart to reach her
As soon as the doors opened, she ran towards the
main room on the
level. Spotting the man she was looking for, she ran over to
him. "James, can you come with me for
a moment?" She asked.
"The General needs to ask you a few questions."
James dropped his ladle
back into the pot he was stirring and
followed the doctor back to the elevator, and then into Hammond's
He nodded, snapping a sharp salute at both General's.
"Rogers." Hammond nodded. "Doctor, care to explain yourself?"
asked, eyebrow raised.
"Sir, James is the base cook. He's here every day and I think he
might be able to
answer our question."
Jacob smiled, for a red-head, Janet was pretty smart. "James, was it?"
like your Lemon Chicken."
"Thank you sir."
"It certainly beats what the Tok'ra have."
"I can imagine
"When was the last time you saw Major Carter?" Hammond asked.
"About four months ago sir."
hasn't been into the commissary since then?"
James shook his head, feeling like he was the barer of bad news. "No
she can't be on base if she hasn't been out for food." Hammond
concluded, forgetting that James was there.
sir, Major Carter may have had enough food to last her a
"Why do you say that?" Janet demanded.
the last time she came into the infirmary, everything she
took was packaged foods. Canned soup, sandwiches, bags of instant
salads. She had a tray load full of food as well as her pockets."
Jacob was momentarily stunned.
"Do you remember what everyone has?"
James shook his head. "No sir, but when Major Carter came in that
was surprised. We hadn't seen her in a while, and she
had something to say about it."
"What did she say?" Janet
"Um…..I think it was something about none of us having seen someone
who was hungry before." He replied.
"Oh and she also said for crying
out loud." He added as an afterthought.
"Jack's saying." She muttered, mostly
"So…..is she on the base or not?" Jacob asked.
The voice that answered didn't
belong to any of the original
occupants of the room and everyone turned to see Major Carter
standing at the doorway.
was getting sick of trying to fight her off.
Laira was attractive, he wasn't denying that, but part of him was
him that sleeping with her was not something that he wanted
to do. He didn't know why. His divorce from Sara had been
years ago, and although he did love her, he wasn't *in* love with her.
So what was holding him back?
with blonde hair, blue eyes and the biggest brain that he
had ever though possible. Okay, so he was probably never going
her again, and even if he did, he had a daughter now. But, despite
all of that, Jack missed Carter…..a
The rational part of his brain-which was small at the best of times-
kept telling him to
forget about her. Even if he did see her again,
and the chances were slim, then the regulations were probably still
He had a wife and daughter now.
But, not matter how many times he told himself this, his heart didn't
want to listen.
And Jack wasn't sure he wanted it to.
No one moved.
the possibility of a hallucination…..but all of them
could see her…..maybe it was a joint hallucination? Maybe
it was a
contagious for of Urgo?
Hammond couldn't take his eyes off her. Was he dreaming? Did she look
bad when he last saw her?
James stared, because everyone else was.
Jacob-and Selmak-let their mouth fall open
at the sight of her. She
was far too thin, her hair was greasy, but a lot longer than he
remembered-reaching her shoulders-
dark circles were present under
her eyes, and their normally lively blue depths were clouded.
were happy, her eyes practically screamed success.
Where had she been?
Sam looked back and forth between all
of the occupants of the room.
Were they that surprised to see her? Had they though that she
At least, not while Jack was on the other side of the Galaxy.
"Say something." She begged, hating
the silence and the wide-eyed
stares that she was receiving.
"You've lost weight."
"Janet, it's good to
see you haven't changed." She smiled a little.
"It's good to see you ma'am. I trust you enjoyed the soup?" James was
somewhat at a loss of what to say.
"It was nice. I recommend the vegetable soup."
"How was Mark?"
I think we both know that I wasn't at Mark's."
She waited, and wasn't disappointed. Hammond was next. "Then where in
blue blazer's have you been Major?"
Ooh, he was angry. "In my Lab sir, but you already figured
To be honest, I was surprised that it took you guys so long." She
shrugged. If they were going to court-martial
her for this-which was
very possible- why not add insubordination to the charges?
"And what did you think you were
doing in there?" He demanded.
"Working on the particle beam generator sir." She replied. "Oh, by
the way it's finished.
And it's perfect, just like I said it would
"How did you survive?" Janet asked, shell shocked.
military Janet, you know that we could survive in virtually any
conditions if we had to. And besides, I had luxuries."
What kind of luxuries?"
Ooh, so Janet was mad too.
"The basics. Plus I had a radio, I kept up to date with
the news. I
had clean clothes, toilet, fridge."
"You have a fridge in your lab?"
"Dad, I can build a particle
beam accelerator-two actually-you don't
think I can install a fridge in my own lab?" She deadpanned.
is unacceptable Major."
"Yes sir, I understand that. But I would appreciate it if you try the
generator and let
us go through the Stargate to Edorra and rescue
Colonel O'Neill." She asked.
Hammond's eyes flared in anger. "What
makes you think that I am going
to let you anywhere near that Stargate again Major?"
"Sir!" He eyes widened. "Please
sir, you have to. He needs our help.
I spent a year and a half working on this, please don't let it all be
Fraiser?" He asked.
"Yes sir. I think we should…..given what we talked about earlier."
Hammond got the
message. If Sam really was obsessed with getting him
home, then God only knew what she'd do if they said no.
well. You are to go straight to the infirmary for a physical.
We'll try the generator but if it doesn't work then we are
this project. Understood?"
"Yes sir." She smiled.
Sam and Janet left and headed to the infirmary,
needing to get back to a pot of Alfredo he had on the stove.
Jacob shook his head. "That's not
my little girl."
"What are you saying?"
"Oh don't get me wrong, it *is* her, but it isn't. Did that make any
Hammond sighed. "I know exactly what you're saying."
Janet didn't say anything during
the physical. Apart from `open your
mouth and say Ahh' and `step on the scales.' Not a word was spoken
Sam suspected that her friend was hurt that she hadn't trusted her
enough to tell her where she was going,
but other people's feeling
had been the last thing on her mind when she had headed for her lab.
The physical was
fairly quick. Blood samples were taken, Sam's glands
were checked. She was weighed. At least Janet was happy with that.
She was poked and prodded and finally allowed to leave and go to the
locker room for a real shower.
quick washes from a basin were nothing compared to a hot
Sam left quietly, promising to be careful on the
mission to Eddora
and Janet picked up the phone when she left.
"Sir, it's Doctor Fraiser, I've
just finished giving Major Carter her
"I can't find any reason not to let her go through
the Stargate sir."
"Admittedly, I was hoping you would."
"So was I sir. When she gets back, I'll have no choice
to send her to
Doctor Mackenzie for a full psychological evaluation. Until then,
Teal'c and Daniel are just going
to have to keep an eye on her."
"She won't be happy about being sent to see a psychiatrist."
"I've already told
her sir, it's one of the conditions that I let her
go through the Stargate."
"Very nice work Doctor. Where is she
"I sent her for a hot shower, then she'll no doubt be in the control
room with Siler while they set up the
"Thank you for the update Doctor."
"Your welcome sir."
Janet hung up the phone and went back
to pack up her equipment.
News of Major Carter's return to the base spread quickly.
No one really
knew where she went. There were rumors-as there always
were-but none of them had come close to the truth. James didn't
enlighten any of the gossiping airmen…..he had no idea where he would
be stationed if Hammond found out that
he told everyone on base where
Carter had really been.
Scrubbing toilets with his tooth brush was not on his `to
so he stayed quiet.
The few people that had seen her had commented on her appearance.
how thin she was, but they'd also heard that she was
going through the Stargate later that day, and Fraiser wouldn't let
her through if there was a problem, unless she was in on it.
Those speculations were spreading quickly as well.
She was never going to get this place clean.
Jack had told her that on Earth they had a similar tradition
one she was doing now. It was called `Spring cleaning.' Laira had
thought that it was a strange name, but she
The front door opened and Jack strode in, Beth in his arms. "Honey,
I'm home!" He called.
was another thing. He used that phrase, but she still wasn't
quite sure if it was something from Earth or if her was just
Probably both, knowing him.
"I am in the bed room!" She called back and heard him walking through
Jack stopped at the doorway, and saw the contents of the basket that
Laira was closely examining. "What
are you doing with that stuff?" He
"I just…..I though that you may not need these things anymore?"
hang on a minute, some of that stuff's pretty good. The
"Does it remind you of Earth?" She asked
Jack's eyes softened. "Toss it."
"Are you certain? If you wish to keep these things then I….."
rid of it. I have Beth now." Jack shrugged. "And you." He added
as an afterthought.
"I will take them to the river."
She stood and picked up the basket,
walking out of the house and down towards the river at a leisurely
watched her go with a lump in his throat.
Sam sat in her usual chair, which was comforting.
was down at the `Gate, making sure that the generator was fully
functional. Hammond was behind her, watching everything
with a close
eye. Teal'c was suited up and ready to go at her word. Daniel was
sitting next to her and Janet was no
doubt lingering at the back of
Reaching over, Sam grasped the microphone. "Okay, everyone out of
`Gate room now. We don't want a repeat of last time." She called
and the `Gate room was quickly vacated as she dialed
The wormhole established and the particle beam generator sprang to
life instantaneously, shooting a light
blue beam into the wormhole.
Hammond leaned a little closer to the glass, watching. "Are we sure
that this is going
to work?" He asked.
Sam sighed, why was everyone doubting her?
"Yes sir. But the important thing will be maintain
the beam for as
long as possible and re-establish connection with Edorra as soon as
he had faith in her, despite what she'd done.
Laira took the long route towards the river, and it was
hour before she reached it. The walk was nice, it was a pleasant day
and she could feel a light breeze blowing
through the trees. She
knelt down on the bank and set the basket in front of her.
She pulled out the jacket first,
and held it open, looking at it. She
wasn't so sure that Jack wanted to get rid of this stuff, but he'd
that must mean that he was finally accepting his place
among her people.
In time, she was confident, he would
come to think of himself as one
Spotting the radio, Laira pulled it off the jacket. Major Carter had
her how they worked, and she was just as fascinated with the
device now that she had been when she'd first seen it.
the button that she knew would turn it on, she turned it over
and studied the device.
"15 seconds to shut down."
A voice told her through the device.
Laira nearly dropped the object in the water out of surprise when the
came through. Was she going crazy? Was there someone from Earth
on her world? What was happening?
"5 seconds to
shut down…..3…..2…..1." The voice stopped.
Not knowing what to do, she turned the device off and
tucked it into
her pockets and rose. She contemplating throwing the rest of Jack's
things away, but decided against
it, leaving the basket of stuff by
the river, she ran home.
Teal'c continued to thrust his pick upwards,
to reach the surface. He'd been here for almost four hours exactly,
and he knew that his oxygen
tank was becoming dangerously low,
despite his symbiot's attempts to slow his breathing.
He wasn't sure that he
could survive much longer.
Jack sat on his chair, feeding Beth something that he guessed was
close to mashed pumpkin and potato. It had to be a vegetable,
because she made a sickly face with every mouthful.
sat quietly at the other end of the table, silent. "You okay?"
She looked at him, unsure of his response.
Surely he wouldn't leave
her and Beth if it really was someone coming through the Stargate?
Taking a deep breath,
Laira stood and walked to stand in front of
him, her hand snaking into the hidden pocket of her dress. "When I
taking your things to the river this morning, I thought I heard a
sound come from this." She handed him the radio. "Perhaps
Jack took the radio and slowly stood. A voice…..Home…..Carter. "Watch
He ordered, running out to the shed to grab a shovel.
Garran saw him and also picked up a shovel, even though he had
idea what it was for. "I will help you." He offered.
Jack stopped for a moment and looked at the boy…..young
man. "Thanks." He nodded curtly and the two ran to the area where the
Stargate once was.
Jack was on his radio
as they came down the hill. "This is Colonel
Jack O'Neill, can anyone hear me?"
"O'Neill, it is I."
He cried. "Where are you?"
"Attempting to reach the surface. It is most difficult. Little oxygen
was about as close to saying he needed help Jack had
ever heard his friend.
"I got you on the RDF. I'm right on
top of you!" He called and he and
Garran began digging frantically.
Something in his peripheral vision caught Jack's
eye and he turned to
see Laira watching them, Beth gurgling happily in her arms. Jack felt
a pang of guilt, knowing
that she'd realised that Edorra wasn't where
he wanted to be.
He felt vibrations from under the ground and returned
to his digging.
A hold was quickly formed and he could see his friend suspended over
the horizontal Stargate and he
couldn't help but smile. "Teal'c you
are one stubborn son of a bitch!" He laughed.
He and Garran helped pull the
big man out.
And waited some more.
Teal'c should have run
out of oxygen by now. She truly hoped that he
was on the other side of the Stargate, on the surface and having a
drink with Jack.
So, until the heard anything, she waited.
And waited some more.
nearly fell off her chair as the Stargate sprung to life.
"Call Hammond!" She ordered to whoever was closer.
chevrons were locked in and the iris slid shut. Sam watched while
the computer tried to scan the code coming through.
"Yes." She whispered to herself, smiling.
"SGC this is Teal'c."
"Come in Teal'c, we
"It is safe for you to come through the Stargate major Carter. The
people of this world are most anxious
to be reunited with their lost
"I'll bring them through ASAP."
"Is Colonel O'Neill
there?" She unconsciously held her breath as she
waited anxiously for his reply.
And he didn't
want to talk to her? She was slightly hurt, but covered
it quickly. "See you soon."
The Stargate disengaged and
Sam stood, turning to face
Hammond. "Permission to go through the Stargate and retrieve Colonel
Go and inform the Edorrans. They're on level 16." She
nodded and went to move away, but his hand on her arm stopped
"Bring him home Major."
"With pleasure sir."
Jack had had a lot of hopes for the day.
hoped that none of the Edorrans had died while they were on
Earth. He'd hoped that he could get through this with a small
of mess. And he'd hoped that his heart wouldn't do a little back flip
when he saw Carter again.
of his hopes had flown out of the widow when he'd seen her
leading the villagers down the well-traveled path leading to
Two of the natives had died, but only of old age. And his heart had
done several back flips when
he saw her.
"Sir!" She called, jogging the last of the way to stand in front of
"Her Carter." He grinned,
unsure what to say.
"Are you okay?" She asked, studying him carefully. She hoped that
Teal'c hadn't told him how
hard she'd worked to get home.
So, the conversation wasn't exactly flowing.
"Hammond's looking forward to seeing you. And dad sends his best. He
he'd come back in a few weeks when you've settled back in. Did
you know that Daniel and Janet were dating? Well, of course
they are, Cassie's thrilled, but she misses you and….."
"Stop." He pleaded, holding his hand up.
come back with you, but I won't be staying."
"I have a life here."
"I don't care. I have
orders to bring you home."
"I don't care."
"You *will* be coming back with me Colonel."
"Need I remind
you who the senior officer here is *Major?* I will not
leave my family."
Family? Oh God….. "You have to come
"No. I am staying here with my wife and child."
Sam sighed and pulled out her Zat, shooting him once.
"No, you are
Daniel could see Sam and Jack talking quietly. And, judging by the
on Jack's face, it wasn't a pleasant conversation.
He glanced back towards the last of the returning Edorrans, making
sure that they were still coming. Their path was being slightly
impeded by loved ones coming to hug their lost friends
but everyone was coming at their own pace.
He turned back to Sam and Jack just in time to see her shoot
her Zat, watching helplessly as he slumped to the ground unconscious.
"Sam!" He called, horrified.
followed him and they ran over to their friends.
"Daniel?" She asked, calmly.
"What the hell are you doing?"
my orders." She replied absently. "Teal'c, pick him up and
carry him back to the Stargate. We're going home."
Daniel, we're leaving." She snapped and Teal'c did as ordered.
Sam walked over to Laira, who was holding a crying child
arms. "I'll send another team through to make sure that everything's
alright here. And they can collect Colonel
"He is leaving?" Laira asked, trying to shush the child.
"He's coming home."
is his home now."
"No, it never was and it never could be. He wasn't happy here Laira,
you must know that."
said he was happy."
"But….he loves Beth, he loves me."
"He may love the kid, but he'd
never love you." She snapped. "Don't
bother following us or you'll leave your child an orphan. Goodbye."
stood at the entrance of her home and silently cried as Sam
walked away, following her friends.
punched in the glyphs for Earth and Sam sent the GDO code as
soon as the Stargate was activated. Jack still hadn't stirred
Teal'c silently carried his weight.
"Follow me through." She ordered, stepping into the event horizon.
stepped out on the other side and Daniel followed. Hammond was
waiting at the base of the ramp and Teal'c, carrying Jack,
through. Sam smiled at her commanding officer.
"Congratulations Major, you've brought him home." He smiled.
you sir." Sam smiled, and slumped to the ground.
"Medic!" Daniel called, frantically feeling Sam's neck for a pulse.
The fluttering under his fingers was a very welcome one.
Teal'c set Jack to his feet as the other man began
to stir. "Thanks
T." He grinned, rubbing his pounding head. "What happened?" He asked
"Major Carter shot you with
a Zat'nicha'tel while we were on Edorra."
"She did *what?*" He spun around to bawl her out and saw the blonde
on the ground. "Carter?"
Three Medic's arrived with a gurney, Janet not far behind. "Get her
on there. I want her
in the infirmary now! Organize an ultrasound, CT
scan, MRI and full blood work!" She ordered, running out of the `Gate
room behind the gurney.
Hammond watched as Daniel and Teal'c followed the party out of the
room before turning
to Jack. "Colonel, welcome home."
"Thank you sir. Um…..what just happened?"
"Come with me son, we have
a long debriefing ahead of us."
Sam's eyes fluttered open, and quickly closed against the blinding
lighting of the infirmary.
"You're awake." Janet smiled.
"Yeah. What happened?" She asked, looking at the worried
eyes of her
"You passed out."
"I gathered that from the bump on my head. Where did it happen?"
"That explains the bump."
"How are you feeling."
"Tired, hungry. Really hungry."
was the last time you ate?"
"Three days ago. I ran out of supplies in my lab and didn't want to
come out until
I had worked out a way to tell you all where I'd been.
I can't believe I locked myself in there for four months! That's
not like me. God, Janet, what did I do?"
"You don't remember?"
"No, I remember, but I can't remember
what compelled me to do what I
did. Shit Janet, I shot the Colonel with a Zat gun! I lied to
everyone, I was absolutely
horrible to Laira. Why did I do all of
Janet placed a gentle hand on Sam's arm. "Relax Sam, it wasn't your
"What do you mean it wasn't my fault? I did those things Janet, it
"No, it was the
drug in your system."
"Drug?" Sam repeated, confused. "What drug?"
"I'm not sure yet, but there was a drug in
your system. At best guess
it had been there for about a year."
"A year? But, then I must have contracted it off-world.
been off base in over a year."
"No, it's a drug with Earth based elements in there."
Sam sat up
on the bed and stared at her friend. "How do you know
"Because it has Shilatria in it. I wasn't sure exactly
what the drug
was made of so I got your lab assistant, Carl, nice guy by the way,
to analyze it for me. He recognized
"Shilatria? Isn't that the element with an atomic mass of three
hundred? Doctor Fredric Shilat invented
it a while ago."
"That's what Carl tells me."
"Someone put that in my system? To do what?"
her head. "That, I can't answer you."
"Are you sure it's out?" She asked.
"Yes. I noticed it when the blood
work that I took from you before
you left came back. You were off world so I had to wait until you got
been out for almost a day, and the blood tests that I
did yesterday came back normal."
"I wonder why it's gone."
it run it's course." Janet shrugged, wishing she had the
answers that Sam wanted.
"But what was it supposed to
do in the first place?"
Janet truly wished that she could answer that question.
"Hey Jack." Daniel
greeted, pulling up a chair across from his
friend. "Wanna take your feet off the table, I brought Jell-O and
you get beer on the base?" Jack asked, impressed.
"I learned from the best."
Jack opened the bottle and took
a long swallow, savoring the familiar
taste. "That is good." He sighed. "The stuff that they had on Edorra
Like Vodka, Sambucca, Scotch and Tequila all mixed
together, and twice as strong."
Daniel winced. "Sounds nasty."
"You miss it?"
Jack raised an eyebrow and lowered the bottle from his lips. "The
I guess I do."
"You and Laira seemed…..close."
"We got married." Jack admitted.
"I don't love her Daniel, we got married so that the Elder's wouldn't
exile me or something, so stop
looking at me like that."
"Looking at you like what?"
"Like I'm betraying someone by being married."
"She and I weren't together. Should I remind you of the regulations?"
"You don't have to, she says the
same thing every time I mentioned it
too. Can't you come up with a new excuse?"
"It's not an excuse Daniel, it's
a fact and a way of life. A way of
life, I might add, that we both chose a long time ago."
"If you say so."
do, and besides I have other things in my life now."
"A daughter. A wife."
"A wife you
"No, I don't love her but she gave me Beth, and for that I will be
nodded, accepting his words. "Did you hear about Sam?"
"That she locked herself up in that damn lab for four months?
Hammond told me. I knew she'd find a way."
"That's it? Have you even thanked her?"
"Not yet. She's
kinda been out of it since I got home."
"Jack she's been awake for two days. Been out of the infirmary since
one told me that."
"I guess everyone figured that you already knew."
"Are you going to go back
"Beth, yes. Laira, no."
"You think Laira will let you just have Beth and not her? It seems to
like they're a package deal."
"Maybe." Jack sighed. "I'm going to and hit the bag in the gym for a
catch up with you later." Downing the rest of his beer,
Jack left and headed for the gym.
She was getting no where with this.
For all of her adult life, beating the hell out of a punching
always relieved her frustration. No such luck now. She was probably
just out of shape.
she wouldn't admit it, Janet was right. She had lost a
lost of weight. For a Doctor, you'd think that Janet knew to check
patient's pockets before she weighed them.
Okay, so the metal in the pockets trick was an old one but it was
working. And until Sam put on some weight and got back into shape,
she was just going to have to keep using that one.
"Your right hook's getting a little slack there Carter."
Oh God, how was she supposed to face him after
done. "Sir." She acknowledged, returning her attention to the bag.
"Want me to hold that thing for you?"
He asked, gesturing towards the
"I'm sure you have better things to be doing as opposed to holding a
"I don't." He cut in.
"Knock yourself out." She shrugged.
Jack stood behind the bag and
held it in the appropriate position
while Sam continued to hit. "Who is it?"
In the middle of throwing her right
hook, Sam stopped and looked up,
her arm still raised. "Who is what?"
"The bag. I only ever beat it that hard if
I'm imagining it's
someone. Who is it for you at the moment?"
"No one interesting."
puppy dog eyes don't work, try another tactic. "I'll order you."
He teased, his tone light.
She finally hit the
bag with enough force to knock the wind out of
Jack's lungs. "Me."
"You're imagining that you're hitting yourself?"
I could do it for real but this is so much more stimulating
and it hurts a lot less." She shrugged. "What does it matter
"Why would you want to hit yourself?"
"Why would you want to metaphorically
hit yourself then?"
Sam threw a hard left and gave a small, satisfied grin. "Because I
should have got you home
sooner." She replied quietly.
"Not your fault Carter. Don't blame yourself, that's an order."
"Are you going
"I have to…..for Beth."
"Tell Laira that I'm sorry."
"For what?" He asked, being pushed
back a little by the force of her
high kick to the bag.
"I said some things to her. Things that I shouldn't have
"It doesn't matter, just tell her I'm sorry."
"Thank you for everything you did."
going back, you didn't want to come home. Why should you be
"Because I knew that you could do it.
No matter how much of a life I
built there, I knew that you'd get me back eventually."
"That's not the point. You
still didn't want to come back."
"Yes I did."
"But you're leaving."
"I wanted to come back to see how
everything on this end was going."
"Well, we're all fine. So have fun playing happy families with Laira."
don't love her."
"That's." High kick. "Not." Right hook. "The." Left. "Point."
"Then what is?"
"I have a daughter Sam, I can't walk away from Beth."
"And we wouldn't expect you to…..but
that's not the point."
"Then what is?"
"It doesn't matter." She muttered, throwing her gloves off and
Jack stood there, holding the bag for what seemed like an eternity,
trying to work out exactly what she'd
meant by that. Shaking his
head, he turned and decided that a hot shower would make him feel
better, and hopefully
clear his head enough to work out what Carter
It felt like he'd never left the base at all. He remembered
corridor, hadn't gotten lost since he'd been back. And he felt…..at
home. Which was more than he could
say for Edorra he mused as he
reached the locker room.
The men's sign was up so he walked in…..only to find
clad in only black underwear, drying her hair with a towel. He
watched her for a moment, shocked by
what he saw, until his brain
kicked in and over ruled his hormonal desire not to alert her to his
didn't change the sign."
Sam squealed and hurriedly covered herself with the towel. "Well you
could have called
before you came in here!"
"Drop the towel."
Her eyes widened. "*Excuse* me?
an order, she could tell by the tone.
Reluctantly, Sam let the towel fall to the ground. She knew why he
this, but she'd hoped that no one would see it for
themselves. "I though Janet said you were a good weight?"
"I can see your ribs Carter."
Sarcasm practically dripped off her words. "Take your shirt off, I'm
I could see yours too."
"No, because I'm a little more than skin and bone."
"I'm not skin and bone Colonel."
looked her up and down.
"Yes, you are." If her bones were sticking out any further than she
need the skin at all.
"I lost a little, not much." She protested.
"I think you lost a lot more than a little."
you've seen me naked before?"
"No, but fatigues don't hide much."
Sam bit her lip from saying anything. Moving
to her locker, she
pulled out a clean set of fatigues and pulled them on. "Well, you've
been gone for a year and a
half. A lot's happened since then."
"I realised that would happen. But finding that my second in command
anorexic was not one of the possibilities that I thought of."
"I'm not anorexic!" She snapped.
"You look it."
slammed her locker shut and picked up her towel. "Look, why don't
you just go back to your perfect world out there and
leave us here so
we can all moved on. I got you home, I achieved my goal I……oh my God."
She shook her head, hurriedly threw on her fatigues and
left for the infirmary.