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Admissions

Chapter 1


One grumpy Jack O'Neill appeared on the other side of the Stargate. He just as much as glanced at his surroundings before barking out orders at his teammates. At least, at two of his teammates, since the fourth member of his team wasn't joining them on this mission, which would explain his grumpy behaviour. Major Samantha Carter had been needed back home at Stargate Command. Jack hated to admit it, but he liked having his 2IC around, in fact he really liked it, probably too much for his own good…

"Let's get the show on the road kids, lots of sights to see and things to do!", he yelled at the two men that were accompanying him. Teal'c acknowledged him with the usual eyebrow-raise and Daniel just rolled his eyes at him. He sighed. At least Carter had the decency to smile and comply when he yelled out an order… With another sigh, he made his legs move and began the long walk towards the village.

Not another word was spoken between the three men as they neared the village. Having arrived there, and marking the area safe, the three split up to do their usual things. Daniel happily searched every ruin and got over excited at any sign of ancient cultures. Teal'c watched him with amusement, but kept close, knowing how the archaeologist could be a bit clumsy at times. With Teal'c watching over Daniel's safety, Jack didn't really have a job left, so he dumped his pack and sat down.

Suddenly his radio came to life. "Colonel, it's Carter, come in please." With surprise and joy clearly written on his face, Jack quickly grabbed the radio. "I'm here Carter, go ahead." "SG1 can come back home Sir, the Tokr'a need our help again", she said.
Even though the mention of the Tokr'a dampened his spirits, Jack was glad to call off the routine mission they were on, and get out of there to get some real action with his favourite major by his side. "Let's pack it up, campers, we're going home!", he yelled while getting on his feet again. Daniel's usual protest rang out but Jack didn't even hear it, already thinking about what the Tokr'a would have in store for them now…

"Welcome home SG1! Get cleaned up a bit, debriefing is in 20 mins". "Yes Sir", Jack answered the General. He looked up, expecting to see Carter behind the glass, but didn't see her. "Major Carter?", he asked Hammond. "She's with Jacob colonel, now get your team to the showers!". Jack smiled and walked off the ramp, 'at least it's not Anise' he thought.


***


SG1 sat at the debriefing table along with their beloved general and Tokr'a ally. Jack was glad Jacob had decided to come himself and hadn't sent Anise in his place. Or Freya? Whatever...
"Well, everyone's here, go ahead Jacob", Hammond said. Jacob nodded and bowed his head. "Oh great, we get to talk to the snake", Jack muttered.

"We need the help of the Tau'ri, General Hammond", Selmak began, "we have discovered a legendary Goa'uld device on a deserted planet, but it seems the Tok'ra cannot touch it." At the mention of 'legendary' Daniel's interest peaked. "You can't touch it?", he repeated. "No, it seems to have some sort of defence mechanism against our kind.", Selmak admitted. Apparently Carter was hooked too. "What happened when you touched it?", she asked. "The people that touched it became ill and died within mere days", the Tok'ra replied coldly. "Oh", she said quietly and looked down at the table.
'Oops' Jack thought, 'wrong question Carter.' "How do we know the same won't happen to us?", he asked the Tok'ra. Selmak looked at him and answered "It is most likely that the device can sense the symbiote inside of us Colonel.". "Right". He sighed again, he really didn't like the Tok'ra attitude of 'we'll explain along the way' and 'it is likely'... 
Selmak bowed his head again and Jacob's voice rung out: " I think Selmak's right Jack, it wouldn't be useful to have a device that nobody could touch, I believe it can sense the presence of a symbiote."
"What is the device supposed to do?" Daniel asked. "It's a source of great power Daniel, one much like a naquadah generator", Jacob said. Hammond nodded, "SG1, I suggest you pay a visit to the planet, act with caution and investigate this device, maybe try to avoid touching it directly." he stated, "you leave in one hour". As he stood the 'Yes Sir's rung out glumly in the briefing room.

Jack, Daniel, Sam, Teal'c and Jacob stood at the ramp, ready to go to 'the doomed planet', as Jack now called it. "SG1 you have a go! God's speed!", Hammond said to them. "Here we go", Jack muttered as he stepped through the gate. 
On the other side was... nothing. Nothing but grass, and plants and ... trees... "Oh for crying out loud," Jack uttered, "even doomed planets have trees?". Carter smiled at him and started moving towards Jacob. Jack threw a smug smile at Daniel, did a dance of joy in his mind and followed...

***

SG1 followed Jacob along the path towards the temple where the infamous alien device would be. Jack fell into step next to Teal'c and started up a conversation.
"So Teal'c," he said, "what do you think about all this?"
He had noticed Teal'c had been silent during the debriefing. It wasn't as if the Jaffa was known for his spontaneous outbursts of opinion, but still Jack would have liked to know how he felt about this whole ordeal.
Teal'c raised the usual eyebrow and spoke: "I am uncertain O'Neill… I have not heard of this device. "Jack copied his facial expression. "So you think it's a trap?" he asked.
"Not necessarily, it is possible Apophis wasn't aware of its existence", Teal'c stated calmly and lapsed into silence again.

Jack sighed. He knew the Goa'uld never expected the human race to have come this far, but that didn't mean they would exclude their race from any harm the device might cause…Surely they wouldn't take that risk? Although the Goa'uld were pretty complacent…

"This is it, Jack", Jacob informed him. He looked up and saw a familiar Goa'uld temple. 'Yep, this is it alright', he thought. Carter took out her little mini-computer-doohickey and looked at it for a while. "Carter?" Jack asked. She looked up and understood his need for information. "No unusual energy or radiation readings Sir", she answered.
Jack looked at her and nodded. "Alright then, lead the way Jacob!", he said. Jacob smiled slightly and led the way inside the temple.

 

Chapter Text

Admissions

Chapter 2

Jacob Carter entered the Goa'uld temple with caution gained from much experience on the field. SG1 followed and, upon entering, immediately noticed the bodies of dead Tok'ra.

Feeling less and less at ease, Jack shook his head and came to a stop when Jacob suddenly halted in front of a closed door.

"It's in here", he said.

Jack nodded and let his team enter the room. He stepped in last and saw a big humming sphere.

"Do you read anything odd Carter?", he asked his favourite scientist.

"No Sir", she answered him, "but strictly speaking that doesn't mean anything, as we've seen that our instruments aren't always effective enough to detect Goa'uld technology".

'Right, that's a comforting thought', he muttered and looked at Daniel, silently telling him to check the object for any writing.

The archaeologist nodded and approached the sphere. "I see some symbols here Jack, but they're not Goa'uld", Daniel remarked.

He beckoned Teal'c to come closer. The Jaffa took one look at the symbols then turned back to Daniel: "I agree, Daniel Jackson, these symbols do not appear to be Goa'uld". Jack turned to his Major, with confusion written on his face.

Samantha Carter took her cue immediately. "That actually makes sense Sir," she said, "the Goa'uld only became as powerful as they did by stealing technology from other races and cultures."

'Right, I knew that', Jack said to himself.

"Can you identify the writing, Daniel?", he asked. "I think it resembles ancient Latin, but I'm not sure, I might need my books", he answered. Jack sighed, realizing this was going to take a while.

"Alright kids, let's set up camp outside, I'm not taking any risks. Daniel, figure out what the symbols say and uh, Carter, find out why it's humming, will you? Teal'c, you and I are going to take a look around." he ordered his teammates and with one last suffering glance at Jacob, left the room.

*

Jack O'Neill was annoyed. This time his bad temper had nothing to do with the fact that he was separated from Samantha Carter, as was the case on his previous mission. No Sir, he was just annoyed. Well, if he was completely honest he would confess he was annoyed because he didn't really like the idea of his team fuddling with the 'device of doom'…

How Carter and Daniel were going to solve this without touching the device was a mere riddle to him. But then again, they always had the more brilliant ideas…

Jack and Teal'c had been walking for a good half hour now and both men were coming to the conclusion that the planet was probably safe, or at least as safe as a planet with an alien device could be…

"So Teal'c," Jack addressed his friend, "what do you say we check on our scientists?"

The tall, broad man turned and said "I concur O'Neill; I believe the immediate surroundings are safe."

The two members of SG1 switched direction and fell into an easy step back towards the temple.

*

"Daniel, come here for a second please" Major Samantha Carter said. Daniel Jackson looked up from his work, rubbed his eyes and walked over to where his friend was standing.

"Yes?" he asked her.

"Watch this, and listen!" Sam mysteriously answered. She stuck out her arm so that her hand was about a meter from the device. Daniel nodded to show her he was paying attention and to make her continue. Sam then slowly moved her hand closer to the device, inch by inch.

"Sam…" Daniel warned.

"Hush, just listen!" his friend all but whispered.

He decided to trust her on this and strained his ears. And then he heard it… The humming became louder and louder as Sam's hand got closer and closer.

"I think it gets its energy from warmth…" she explained.

Just then Jack O'Neill entered the room. When he saw his major's hand still hovering near the device, he yelled: "Carter, what the hell are you doing?"

Samantha Carter jumped up in surprise and shrugged. "I think I discovered something Sir…" she stated quietly.

Jack sighed, was she trying to give him a heart attack?

Daniel, always the diplomat, suddenly spoke: "Actually Jack, I've made some progress too, this writing resembles Ancient, it might be some dialect…"

At this, Jacob turned to face Daniel. "Are you saying this is an ancient device, Daniel?"

Sam tore her eyes away from her superior officer and faced her father. "The Goa'uld did steal a lot of ancient technology dad, they might have tried to get their hands on this device too, maybe they thought it was some sort of weapon…"

"Is it?" Jack asked her. Seeing the confused look on Sam's face, he clarified: "Is it a weapon?"

Carter shook her head. "I don't think so sir. Even though it's obviously lethal to symbiotes, I don't think that's the goal of the device…"

Daniel nodded, "Yeah, I agree. If you give me some more time with the text I might be able to figure out its true purpose."

Jack nodded. "Alright, I'll go radio Hammond, seems we'll be here for a while."

 

*

General George Hammond quickly ran down the stairs leading to the Gate Control Room at the sound of the alarm. SG1 was the only team off-world and they weren't due for a check-in for at least another 4 hours.

'This could only mean trouble…' Hammond thought to himself, as he came to a halt next to his best gate technician.

Walter looked up at him and said: "SG1 Sir, video only."

"On screen", he immediately replied.

Jack O'Neill's face appeared on the small screen, followed by his finger tapping the camera on the MALP.

Hammond rolled his eyes impatiently and said: "What's wrong Colonel?"

Jack's finger moved away and he grimaced at the camera as he said "We're going to be here for a while Sir, Daniel thinks the device might be ancient. It's some kind of energy source."

Hammond nodded. "If it's ancient, shouldn't it be safe for us?" he asked his 2IC.

O'Neill ran his hands through his hair and sighed. "I'd rather not take that risk before we know the Goa'uld haven't done anything with it General".

"Alright", Hammond agreed, "be careful Colonel. We'll dial back in 24 hours."

Jack nodded and saluted him "Yes Sir!" he yelled and his face disappeared from sight.

George Hammond sighed and rubbed his temples. He was still waiting for the mission when every member of SG1 came back unharmed… Shaking his head, he went back up the stairs and hoped for the best.

*

Major Samantha Carter looked up from her equipment as she suddenly heard the buzzing of the sphere increase. She frowned and glanced at Daniel, whose hand was nearing the letters on the device. "Daniel!" she yelled.

The archaeologist flinched, pulled back his hand and muttered a resentful 'sorry'. He then stood up and walked over to where his friend was standing. "Look Sam," he began, "I think some of those letters are keys."

At Sam's uncomprehending look, he elaborated: "The letters are ancient, but the whole doesn't make any sense. The device is probably protected in some way and to make it work we need the code, it's like a password, we have to choose the right keys."

Carter nodded. "Do you have any idea which keys to press?" she asked him.

At that, Daniel Jackson smiled and said "I do."

Jack O'Neill entered the room and his eyes immediately sought out the position of his team mates. Seeing they were again very close to the humming device, he walked over to them, suppressing another sigh.

"Found something, kids?" he sweetly asked them.

Daniel looked up at him from his position on the ground and said: "Actually, yes."

Sam smiled and stood up, meanwhile stating "Daniel thinks the letters on the device are in fact keys Sir. We need to press certain keys or letters to form a password and that should deactivate the protection."

Jack was impressed, "Nice!" he whispered. But the smile was quickly wiped off his face when he glanced at his 2IC, only to see her falling to the ground. "Carter!" he yelled, as he quickly moved to catch her.

"What happened?" Daniel asked with concern.

O'Neill looked at him bewilderedly and softly said: "I don't know, it's like she just fainted…"

 

*

Samantha Carter woke up in a hospital bed at the SGC. Slowly opening her eyes, she groggily tried to remember coming back through the stargate, when suddenly the head of her commander popped into view.

"Carter?" he asked, clearly concerned. Sam smiled; Jack O'Neill was a tough soldier, but also a very caring man who never failed to be by her bedside when her luck ran out.

"Hi Sir", she croaked.

"How are you feeling?" he asked her, shifting his weight nervously. "Okay, I think, what happened? The last thing I remember was studying the device…"

"You just sort of collapsed", Daniel's voice rang out. Sam looked around to see her other teammate standing on the other side of her bed. Although touched by her friends’ concern for her, she was getting a tad impatient. 'Where is Janet already?', she thought.

As though Daniel could read her mind, he took her hand and softly said: "Janet already ran some tests, she didn't find anything wrong."

"So this may not have been linked to your little doohickey?" Jack piped in again. "What else could it be?" Sam asked him.

"Well, Carter," O'Neill cautiously said, "you have been known to push yourself… maybe your lack of sleep just got to you."

Sam rolled her eyes. Just as she was about to deny her fatigue, Janet Fraiser pushed aside the curtain and approached her bed.

'Saved by Janet', Daniel thought.

"Hey Sam, I'm glad to see you're awake" her friend and doctor said. Sam smiled. "I'm gonna let you go but I want you off active duty for a couple days just to be sure" she continued.

Sam nodded; she had expected Janet to say that. Besides, she could work on her notes in her lab.

*

Jack O'Neill jumped up, immediately wide awake when he heard the sirens go off in the base. 'Carter', he panicked. Leaping out of his bed, he hastily grabbed a t-shirt, stuffed his feet in his boots and ran towards the infirmary.

When he arrived, Daniel and Teal'c were already there. Apparently Daniel had gone to check on Sam and found her unconscious on the floor. Fear settled in his stomach when he saw Janet trying to wake the blond woman to no avail.

Dr. Fraiser soon kicked them all out of the infirmary, aggravated by their endless questions and hovering.

Daniel, Teal'c and Jack were not likely to leave, so they stayed in the hall, pacing outside the infirmary. General Hammond came by and told them to go rest, but none of the team members wanted to, anxious to know how their friend was doing.

At last, Janet came out of the infirmary. She faced the three men with a look of surprise that quickly turned into an exasperated smile.

"How is Major Carter?" Teal'c was the first to ask. Jack was grateful, he felt way too sick to open his mouth.

Janet sighed. "I don't know. There seems to be some sort of virus in her bloodstream. It wasn't there a couple of hours ago and it's nothing like I've ever seen before…"

Daniel jumped in: "A virus? Do you think the device may have caused this?"

Jack was confused. "Daniel. Did Carter touch the device?"

The archaeologist rubbed his neck awkwardly. "Well…"

"WHAT!" Jack yelled. "After I specifically ordered you NOT to?"

"Look Jack, we figured that the drawings were keys, to punch in a code. So… we were trying out a combination, when you walked in."

O'Neill's face was positively red. He was about to yell at his friend again, when Janet interrupted:

"Wait Daniel, you said 'we'. Does that mean you touched it too?"

Jack turned his head back to Daniel so fast that he must have strained something. Not facing Jack's withering stare, he ran his hands through his hair and quietly admitted: "Yeah…"


***

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 3

Jack O'Neill, Daniel Jackson, Teal'c and Dr. Fraiser were all gathered in the briefing room, waiting for General Hammond. As soon as the General had heard that another member of SG1 had touched the sphere, an emergency meeting was called.

Each of the people around the table had a remarkably similar grave look on their faces. All of them had their eyes trained on the table, except for Jack, who was still staring at Daniel. In fact, he was so focused on the archaeologist that he didn't even notice Hammond come in the briefing room and therefore jumped up quickly when he heard his heavy voice boom out.

"Okay people, I need some more information here. Dr. Fraiser, how is Major Carter doing?"

They all looked up to face Janet, who had not been very forthcoming with information lately.

"Well Sir," she started, "she's not doing good. We started her on a course of antibiotics, but without knowing more about this virus, I don't see what else we can do."

Hammond nodded.

"I also took a sample of Dr. Jackson's blood to see if he was infected", she continued quietly.

At that point, Daniel jumped in: "General, I'd like to request that I return to the planet."

"What?" rang out in Hammond's as well as Jack's voice.

With a sideward frown at his 2IC, the General turned back to the archaeologist and continued: "Why would you want to go back, son?"

Only now did Daniel look up to face Jack. Still coming face to face with a pair of blazing eyes, he turned to the General: "There were keys on that sphere, Sir. Sam and I were trying out a combination when she fainted. I think that if I insert the right code, this virus, or whatever it is, will go away."

"And how do we know you won't end up in a hospital bed, just like Major Carter?" Hammond asked him.

"We don't Sir, but I'm fine now... So please just give me a chance to try and fix this. I already touched the device so I won't be putting anyone else's life at stake. And honestly, I think it's the only option we've got."

General Hammond sighed. "Fine. Colonel O'Neill, you will accompany Dr. Jackson to this planet but under no circumstances will you touch the device, is that understood?"

Jack looked pretty pissed, but still managed a reasonably polite "Yes Sir."

*

The two men didn't speak a word to each other as they walked towards the building where the device was located. Jack had that stubborn look on his face; jaw locked and eyes trained straight ahead. Daniel rolled his eyes.

"Look Jack, I know you're upset, but I really think this will work."

O'Neill looked at his friend and said: "Why?"

Daniel knew Jack wasn't a man of many words, but his answer still surprised him.

"Why?"

"Yes, if touching the device infected Sa.. Carter a couple of hours ago, why would you touching it now, cure her?" Jack said impatiently.

Jack clearly wasn't listening before, Daniel thought bitterly.

"Like I told General Hammond, I think we have to insert a code. The virus is probably some sort of defence mechanism to avoid that the device would fall into the wrong hands. Pressing the right keys would be like entering the right security code into an alarm system. Before you came in, I had just told Sam I knew which keys formed the right combination."

By now, they had reached the room, still filled with the bodies of the Tok'ra. Daniel glanced at Jack, and approached the sphere.

"Look," he said, "see this inscription?"

Jack nodded.

"It's kind of like ancient Latin, it might even have belonged to the Ancients..."

"The point, Daniel!" Jack interrupted.

"Right, well, it says 'Think of the greatest source of power'. Now, if you put the word for 'think' next to their word for 'source', you get a new word."

Daniel saw he wasn't making any sense to Jack. Still, he ploughed on:

"It's a rare dialect, so I can't be sure, but I think this word means 'knowledge, wisdom'. Wouldn't you say knowledge is the greatest source of power?"

"Sooo, it's a riddle?" Jack asked. Daniel looked relieved; finally Jack was working with him. "Yes, I think if we press the keys that say source and think... Well, we'll have answered their question", he concluded somewhat lamely.

Jack nodded. He looked at his friend and saw the determination on his face. "Fine," he said, "go ahead."

Daniel smiled and raised his hand. Slowly he pressed the first key, then the second.

The sick feeling in Jack's stomach increased when nothing seemed to happen. Then, suddenly, the two keys lit up. Not sure whether this was a good or a bad sign, he looked over to Daniel, just as his friend was engulfed in a bright light and disappeared.

"Oh for crying out loud!" Jack O'Neill yelled out to the now empty room.

*

One furious and very anxious Jack O’Neill exited the stargate in a hurry. With determined footsteps he made his way to the infirmary, pointedly ignoring General Hammond’s astonished “Where is Dr. Jackson?!”

Arriving at the infirmary, Jack stopped short when faced with the woman causing a fuss in the ward. Janet and three nurses were currently more than occupied, apparently trying to revive his favourite major. 

Meanwhile, General Hammond had caught up with him, evidently still expecting O’Neill to inform him of the whereabouts of Daniel Jackson.

Jack sighed. He knew he owed the General an explanation, but he wasn’t even sure what happened to Daniel himself. Besides, he wasn’t quite keen on leaving Sam now. It actually seemed like Janet got Sam’s heartbeat back. 

Allowing himself a small sigh of relief, Jack entered the infirmary without waiting for Janet’s consent. His eyes searched out the beautiful blue ones of the woman he had come to care for, more than he should.

Unfortunately, Sam’s eyes were still closed, and she lay motionless on the military blue standard sheets. Panic rose like a bubble inside Jack’s chest and he immediately glanced over to Janet, who was already standing by his side, clasping his arm reassuringly. “Sir,” she said quietly, “let’s step into my office.”

Jack could only nod slightly and let Janet steer him away from the bed and into her small office. Facing him from the other side of her desk, it occurred to Janet how small the man in front of her looked. He looked lost in thought, his brows furrowed and his eyes dark.

“Sir?” she tried. Jack tried to focus on the doctor’s voice, but his mind seemed determined to keep him occupied with the image of Sam’s body, just... lying there. He shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts and faced Janet. “Um..., how is she?” he asked gravely.

“Not good,” Janet answered him honestly, “in fact, Sam’s just lapsed into a coma.”

The bubble of fear suddenly spread out throughout Jack’s whole body and sucked the air out of his lungs. He felt positively faint, and as his wobbly legs could no longer hold him, he collapsed into the nearest chair. He rubbed a shaking hand over his eyes, thinking: ‘This is not happening...’

“How did this happen?”, he asked Janet dejectedly. She glanced up at him as she explained: “As far as I can tell, Sir, this device injected a virus into Major Carter’s bloodstream. The reason it wasn’t noticeable before is probably because her body did not react to it immediately.”

She paused, searching for eye contact, but getting no response from Jack’s dull eyes, she continued on anyway:

“I believe this virus reacts to the presence of a Goa’uld symbiote, which is why it had a lethal effect on the Tok’ra. Now of course Sam doesn’t have a symbiote, but the virus seems to have been triggered by the residue that Jolinar left in her system, which is why it infected her slower.”

Jack nodded, but Janet wasn’t sure that he had understood a word of what she had just said. He proved her wrong, however, when his grave voice rung out:

“So can we come up with an antidote for this thing?”

Janet sighed. “It seems highly unlikely Sir, we’ve tried a course of antibiotics, but honestly... I wouldn’t even know where to begin.”

Janet Fraiser stepped back and left the colonel some room to deal with the information privately. 

*

As Jack wandered back to the hospital bed and let his body collapse into the closest chair, numerous moments flashed before his eyes.

All the times that this woman had ended up in a very similar condition, lying in a hospital bed, with the rest of the team, and especially him, fearing for her life.  And how, miraculously, they had been able to save her every time. It seemed almost too good to be true when he thought about it now. Sam had put her life on the line for him, for her team and for the planet more times than he could count, and now some alien device was gonna be her downfall? 

He pinched the bridge of his nose, wondering ‘why he hadn’t been there to stop this from happening? Damn it, why was she always so damn stubborn?’

His head hit the mattress as the frustration, grief and anger poured out of him wave after wave. 

Feeling like she was witnessing something the colonel would rather keep private, Janet left the infirmary quietly and set out to inform General Hammond of Sam’s condition.

*

"God Sam, please wake up." Jack begged. He took her hand in his and stroked her cold fingers.

"You can't leave me Sam, you just can't...", he continued. "I'm not sure I can go on without you Carter. I need you. I... love you."

Finally, he had said the three words he had been afraid to admit for a long time. All this time it had been cropped up in his chest, and now he had finally said it. But it didn't help him at all, he didn't feel free, or relieved. Sam couldn't hear him, and that made him feel even worse.

It was too late. He had finally picked up the courage to admit to himself how he felt about her, but it was too late.

A tear ran down his cheek, and he wiped it away forcefully. Angered by his own weakness, he jumped up and sent his chair flying backwards. "Damn it, Carter, WAKE UP!", he yelled.

Just then, Janet Fraiser entered the infirmary? "Sir?", she asked. Jack looked at her and tried to control his voice. "What?", he said. "Daniel just came through the gate." Jack's eyes grew wide as he processed the information. Without so much as a glance backward he flew out of the infirmary and raced to the gate room.

Daniel Jackson was standing at the briefing table, talking to General Hammond. His voice was raised and he seemed very agitated. Barely one foot through the door, Jack had already questioned his friend and teammate: "Daniel, for crying out loud, what happened?"

"Jack!", the archeologist cried out. "Finally, look, I know how to save Sam!" he said urgently.

Jack looked at the General, hoping what Daniel was saying was true. Hammond however shook his head, "You know the procedure Jack, Dr. Jackson was off-world, alone, he could be compromised, we need to make sure he is who he claims he is, before we let him anywhere near Major Carter."

Before Jack could protest, he added "You said yourself that he disappeared before your own eyes."

Unsure of how to disagree, Jack looked at Daniel, hoping that his look would convey the urgency of the situation. "General," Daniel started quickly, "I was barely gone, and time is of the essence if you want to save Sam. I can help her, you just have to trust me", he pleaded.

Hammond sighed and looked at his 2IC. He cared about Samantha Carter as well, but this was definitely not protocol. Seeing the desperate look in the two men's eyes, he decided to give in. "Go", he said shortly.

In the infirmary, Daniel hurriedly explained what had happened to him: "The device transported me somewhere, to a place where the builders of the device used to live. I suppose it was a virtual environment...", he trailed off.

"Daniel", Jack snapped.

"Right, well anyway, the people who built this were not Ancients, but they knew them and inherited some of their knowledge. They were confronted with the threat of the Goa'uld and decided to leave their legacy in a sphere, which would present their descendants with all their knowledge, but which was deadly to the Goa'uld."

Jack nodded. "So you know everything they knew?" he asked. "Yes, but sadly they weren't that much more evolved than we are now. They lost the war to the Goa'uld, but the virus that killed the Tok'ra is definitely still useful", Daniel stated. "As I know what made up the virus, I also know how to cure it. I can save her, Jack", Daniel said.

*

Samantha Carter woke up to a tingly feeling in her thigh. She felt slightly nauseous and thirsty. She tried to remember if she had gone drinking the night before, but that seemed highly unlikely.

Opening her left eye slowly, she immediately recognized the ceiling of the SGC base infirmary. Suddenly, her memory returned, 'the sphere', she thought.

Lifting her head to locate the source of the tingling, she noticed that the head of her commanding officer was lying on her lap.

The pressure had caused her leg to fall asleep. Smiling, she realized that he must have fallen asleep sitting by her bedside. She didn't dare to disturb him, so she lay her head back down carefully.

Minutes later, Janet entered the infirmary. Barely pausing to register Jack O'Neil's position, she rushed over to Sam when noticing she was awake. "Sam?", she asked, "How are you feeling?".

Sam smiled, "Fine, Janet", she said, "I could use some water though." Janet nodded and headed off to get her friend a drink. Suddenly, she felt the pressure lift from her leg, as Jack O'Neill's head popped into sight.

"Carter", he whispered.

"Hi Sir", she smiled. 'He looks awful', she thought. "How long have you been sitting here?", she asked carefully. Her commanding officer just grimaced.

"Ah, I see you're awake Sir?" Janet asked, walking back into the room.

"Uh, yep."

Sam swore she saw O'Neill blush a little, but decided it was probably her imagination. Instead, she decided to focus on Janet.

"What happened?", she asked for what felt like the millionth time.

"You're fine", Janet comforted her. "Daniel figured out how to save you, it seems that the sphere was not intended to harm us, but the residue of Jolinar in your system caused it to attack."

Sam nodded, she remembered Daniel talking about the goal of the sphere back on the planet.

Noticing that she still looked confused, Jack chipped in: "The sphere took Daniel somewhere where he learnt all their secrets, he says the damn thing was like their legacy to future enemies of the Goa'uld".

At Sam's look of curiosity, he continued, "Not much there though, Daniel says they weren't much more evolved than we are."

She nodded disappointedly and sank back into the bed. "You should get some more rest Sam," the doctor said sternly, "I'll go inform General Hammond."

Jack watched Dr. Fraiser walk out the room. He took the chair and sat back down next to Sam's head.

"Sir?", she questioned.

"Carter, I…", he sighed. Was this really the right thing to do? Bother her with his feelings? His eyes wandered to her pale hands, resting on top of the sheets. Thinking back about all the times he had come to sleep by her bed, anxiety eating up his nerves, he decided to soldier up and be brave.

"I love you", he stated plainly.

Sam sucked in her breath. "Wha… What?"

Jack smiled. "I love you, Samantha. I have for such a long time. And I can't hide it anymore, I won't. You have to know how I feel. When you were lying here, as good as dead… my heart froze over. I need you Sam", his eyes pleaded.

Heart thumping in her chest, she looked her superior in the eye. Thousands of questions popped up in her head, but for now all she said was, "I love you too Jack", and smiled.

*THE END*