by Suz

Disclaimer - MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them.

Spoilers for ‘There But For The Grace of God’, ‘In The Line of Duty’, ‘The Gamekeeper’, ‘The Tokra, Part 2’, ‘Point of View’, ‘Divide and Conquer’, ‘Beneath The Surface’ and ‘Entity’.

An ‘Entity’ episode addition. Feedback would be appreciated.


It hovered in front of him, balancing precariously on the edge. Any sudden movements would certainly cause it to fall off so he kept his hand steady, firm, unwavering, as he moved it towards his face.

Opening his mouth, he swallowed the forkful of jello and then returned his gaze to what he was reading.



Sighing at the dullness of it, he stabbed his fork back into the jello and muttered under his breath. So far, this little glass of jello had been the highlight of his-


-which had just got brighter.

Tilting his head, he smiled up at her. “Major.” To his eyes she still looked a little pale. Fraiser had assured him that she was fully recovered and while he didn’t doubt the Doc for a second...well, okay. Maybe he did, but not because he didn’t think she was properly qualified or a good enough doctor.

Carter was holding a file folder out to him.

“What’s this?” He asked, trying to send out silent, psychic messages for her to sit down opposite him.

Apparently receiving the messages, she promptly sat down.


“My report.”

“Report?” He reached out with his fork-free hand to take the folder.

“About the...incident.”

His hand stopped moving, as did hers, both of them holding either end of the folder. Suddenly he lost his appetite for the jello. “Oh,” Letting his fork fall into the glass, he waited for her to relinquish her hold on the folder before taking it completely. “That.” Barely glancing at the folder, he placed it carefully on the table.

An awkward few moments passed.

The...incident. That’s what everybody called it; even with that pause between the words. Oh, he knew that in a few months they’d talk about it easily – about the entity, about energy based life forms, about the fact that he had killed her.

In a few months time, he’d stop flinching every time it was referred to. Hinted at. Alluded to.

In a few months time, maybe the nightmares would stop.

Lowering his head, he grabbed the fork and continued stabbing at his jello, as if it were some kind of competition he could win a trophy for. “Carter...are you all right with this?”


Closing his eyes tightly, he then opened them, exhaled silently, and faced her. “Your report. On the...incident. Are you okay with it?” It had been Hammond’s idea. A full report from Carter on anything she remembered; any thoughts she may have picked up from the Entity. Anything she experienced during the...hell, Jack knew it made sense! Just from a tactical point of view, if she had been aware of anything that may come in useful if they ever encountered that ‘species’ again. Anything that might give them an edge.

Jack hadn’t liked the idea. Still didn’t.

So he was asking her, not if her report was complete, not if she was happy with it, but something else. “I mean, if it’s too personal or something, we can tell Hammond you don’t remember anythi-”

“No,” She interrupted softly. “Don’t get me wrong; I appreciate the sentiment,’s fine. I think writing about it actually helped. It was quite therapeutic. Even cathartic.”

He guessed that made sense. While he assumed she’d discussed her experience with Fraiser, with everyone else she’d been notoriously tight-lipped. After her initial “I was shouting” comment, she hadn’t said a word about it unless it was absolutely necessary.

There was nothing he could say that wouldn’t sound stupid. Electing for a simple “Okay,” he idly opened the file folder and started flicking through the report, if only because it gave him something to do that didn’t involve staring at and worrying about her.

Jack made it to the second page when he actually looked at the contents. His eyes bugged out. “Carter...”


He was still staring at the pages. “You are Carter, aren’t you?”

Confusion was evident in her response. “Sir?”

“You’re not some alternate reality version, or a Gamekeeper induced hologram? I mean, you are *my* Carter, right?”


“Then would you mind telling me,” Leaving the folder on the table, he picked up the stapled pieces of paper held inside. “Why your report has been written? As in *hand* written? With a *pen*?”

His questions resulted in the desired response. Grinning, she shook her head. “My computer went down. The tech guys are looking over it now, I figured that shouldn’t stop me from handing in my report.”

“Well, I admire your diligence. But are you sure you’re handling it? Not going into withdrawal or anything?”

“Very funny, sir.”

“I’m just sayin’. You two are like...Lewis and Clarke. Abbot and Costello. Lucy and Ethel.”

“Mulder and Scully?”

“Dunno. Which one are you?”

“Mulder, obviously.”

“Does this mean your computer has to dye its roots?”

“Among other things.”

“I’m not sure I need *that* much personal information. The beauty habits of a laptop are things no man should ever know about.”

“You did ask.”

“My mistake. So...does it paint its nails, too?”

Giving up, she chuckled; seeming much more relaxed than when she had first appeared at his table. Calming, but still smiling, she tilted her head to one side. “Thanks,”

Damn. Two Goa’uld’s seemed to be doing the tango in his stomach. “No problem.”

She left, then, leaving Jack behind with the unnerving feeling that he had missed something...


It was blinking.

Just...blinking. Jack could conceivably understand how, if you sat in the dark, with only the light from the computer monitor illuminating the room, that the blinking cursor might be somewhat hypnotic, but only if you were a kid, a cat, or easily entertained.

Carter was none of those.

Yet she was staring at it, transfixed.

Not blinking.

He’d arrived at her house about five minutes ago. After getting no response and having a two second argument with his conscience, he’d picked the lock on her door and let himself in. He’d observed from outside that no lights were on and as he quietly entered he was proved right. Not a single light in the house was on.

Jack had thought, briefly, that she might be in bed, but it was only 8:30. Carter was never asleep by 8:30. Not that he knew that much about her sleeping habits, or that he spent a lot of time by her bedside when she was recovering in the infirmary or anything...but if he was wrong, and she was asleep, he’d simply sneak out without her ever knowing.

And then he saw something. Glowing. He didn’t know what it was at first; just that the diffused light was bleeding out of the small room where she kept her computer. He inched closer and closer, then finally saw that it *was* the computer.

Made sense.

There was nothing on the screen but whiteness, and a black, blinking cursor, in the top left corner.

Carter was a few feet away, in a chair, staring at it.

She must have known he was there. In fact, he couldn’t see how she couldn’t have heard him come in the front door.

Knowing there was *something* weird going on, he decided against switching on the lights. “I spoke to the tech guys,” His words sounded distant. As if they weren’t actually real. “As far as they know, there’s nothing wrong with your computer. It hasn’t even been reported.”

No response. Not that he had really been expecting one.

Grabbing the top of the computer chair – still pushed up against the desk – he slowly pulled it over next to her chair, its wheels rasping across the floor. Turning the rear towards her, he straddled it carefully. Fortunately it had no armrests, or it would have been damn uncomfortable.

She still hadn’t moved.


He was starting to get a sense of something. He wasn’t sure – he rarely was where she was concerned – but he was definitely starting to become aware of something. A few offhand comments Daniel had made, small things she said or did that seemed insignificant but were now starting to have meaning.

Licking his lips he frowned, not knowing how to start. “When you were hurt. After I shot you...”

“It wasn’t me,” She murmured, still staring ahead. “I...wasn’t there. I have no memory of you killing me.”

That fact didn’t make him feel in the slightest bit better. “We didn’t know that at the time.”

“I know.” No expression. None at all. Just a ghostly light bouncing off her face.

“After I shot what I *thought* was you, and Fraiser said we should let you...” He couldn’t finish it. He couldn’t. And his damn eyes were burning. This did *not* happen to him. “Do you know what I was thinking about? Do you know what my biggest fear was?”

A slight movement. Very, very slight. A vague indication of interest.

He continued. “My biggest fear was...what the hell am I going to tell Jacob?” He laughed bitterly, briefly. “I mean, you’re lying there, practically dead, and all I can think is; not only is he a General, not only is he a Tok’ra who is capable of kicking my butt, but he’s also your dad. And, as far as I knew, I had shot you. Killed you. How was I going to tell him that?”

“He would have under-”

“Yeah, he’s a soldier. He’d know why I did it. But trust me Carter; I know what I’m talking about. If I was him, I’d never be able to forgive me.”

Her gaze finally moved, just a little.

“And what about you, Carter? What’s your biggest fear?”

She closed her eyes. “Don’t.”

He was right. He knew he was. “You turned it on. You opened the program.”

“No, I didn’t. It’s part of my startup, so when the computer boots up the program launches automatic-”

“Carter. Do you really think I’d let it happen to you again?”

She had no answer to that.

Jack moved, shifting her without objection into the computer chair. From there he wheeled her towards the desk until she was situated a few inches from the keyboard.

The cursor was still blinking.

“I can’t do this,” She told him.

“Yes you-”

“No, you don’t get it. *This* doesn’t happen to me. I don’t need to talk. I don’t need to discuss my feelings. That. Isn’t. Me.”

Okay. Fine. He’d clearly struck a nerve. “Carter, will all due respect...shove it.”

“Excuse me?”

“Just use the damn keyboard.”

“I can’t believe you said that.”

“Just use the damn keyboard.”

“What gives you the right to-?”

“Why are all the lights out?”


“I doubt it’s for effect.”


“You didn’t want to touch anything electrical, did you?”

“I really-”

“When was the last time you turned on a light? Turned on the kettle? How long has that computer been switched on?”


“I need you on my team, doing everything you always do.”


“I need you to spend too many nights glued to a computer screen.”


“I need you to not have a life.”


“Just use the damn keyboard.”

“This is ridiculous.”

“Just use the damn keyboard.”

“I don’t have a problem.”

“Just use the damn keyboard.”

“I really-”

“Just use the damn keyboard.”


He couldn’t smile at the victory. There was no pleasure in it. “Thank you.” Standing from his crouching position, his hand fumbled along the wall until it found the light switch. He flicked it and they both winced at the sudden brightness.

She looked...furious. And she wasn’t facing him.

Still, she wasn’t staring at the computer anymore. That had to be a plus.

“Does Fraiser know?”

She was contemplating lying, he could see it. In the end, she didn’t.


Which meant no one did.

Sighing, he crouched down again. “Carter...this is gonna sound clichéd as hell, but I really think you should talk to someone. This one isn’t going to go away overnight.”

“But it’s so *stupid*. I handled Jolinar, I handled Thera, I handled the za...Martouf thing.”

“I can’t explain it, Carter. I’m not a shrink. But...McKenzie isn’t really *that* bad a guy. Maybe it’ll even be helpful.”

“You hate shrinks more than I do.”

Damn. “Yes. But for the sake of the team, for the sake of my own sanity, I think you should try.”

“Sanity?” She queried, finally looking at him with an expression that wasn’t disgust.

“Can you imagine me getting stuck with just Daniel and Teal’c? Or even worse, a new addition? No one to laugh at my jokes...”

“I don’t laugh at your jokes.”


“I don’t!”

“I see you’re still in denial. You should work on this with your therapist.”

A little of her humour returned. “I don’t want to.”

Jack understood. “I know. Really.”

Her hand drifted towards his, surprising him, but Jack certainly didn’t object. Studying their clasped hand, he frowned, remembering something. “You have no much I wanted to do this when you-”

“-came back,” She whispered.

Looking up, he met her gaze. “Yeah.”

Carter nodded. “I knew.”

Maybe, he thought. Just maybe.

Maybe the nightmare wouldn’t come tonight.


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