The Things I Do For My Planet...
by Suz

Disclaimer - MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them.

You know all those clichéd and seriously overdone story ideas? Well, now it's my turn. And I obviously seem to have sex on the brain at the moment...shame ;)

Part one is more OTT than I usually like to do, but it’s a necessary evil. It calms down afterwards . My science teacher would be turning in her grave...if she were dead.

Spoilers for ‘The Broca Divide’, ‘Solitudes’, ‘Divide and Conquer’, ‘Beneath The Surface’, ‘Redemption, Part 1’, ‘Nightwalkers’ and ‘Abyss’. Set in season six.


He should have known that coming back would be a bad idea, but at the time there had been nothing to dissuade him from going. They'd get to meet some old 'friends', have a nice relaxing mission - something they all could use - and best of all; he'd get to tease Carter mercilessly.

Naturally, things hadn't gone according to plan. No, things had gone spectacularly *off* the plan given the fact that Carter was currently grinding her groin against his leg.

They'd discovered, amazingly, that the fastest way to get her home was to leave her where she was. The initial attempt to remove her had resulted in a fit of screeching that even Teal'c had looked surprised by.

Now, at Jack's command Jonas had run ahead to dial the gate and warn the SGC, and Teal'c was helping push him - correction, *them* - towards the Stargate. In another time and place, he might have been enjoying himself, but frankly Carter's sheer aggressiveness was creeping him out - much as it had done five years ago.

In fact, by far the freakiest moment had been when she'd growled his name into his ear. No 'Colonel', no 'sir'...just his actual name.


So okay, maybe he *was* enjoying himself a little.

Thankfully for his sanity, she'd since been reduced to growls, sighs and noises that sounded suspiciously like purring - that he was trying very, very hard *not* to enjoy.

They were nearly at the gate, and Jack was thankful as hell for Teal'c's assistance. Over the last few minutes, he'd really come to understand just how difficult it was to walk while his second in command was unsuccessfully trying to hump his thigh.

Man, she was never gonna live *this* one down. Not if he had anything to do with it.

They'd reached the steps and even as Jack considered the unlikely possibility of climbing up them with Carter's tongue in his ear, suddenly Teal'c seemed to be carrying the both of them, pushing them through the gate.

The wormhole spat all three out the other side, as if it was glad to be free of such disgusting carnal displays.

Jack wasn't surprised when he fell and landed painfully on the ramp; he was surprised, however, when Carter pushed him onto his back and started tugging at his clothes. "Hey, hey!" He yelled, slapping at her hands. "Down girl!"

Then security and the medics were surrounding them, pulling her away. He tried to shout a warning but it was much too late: the screeching started.

Several of them instinctively covered their ears and she broke free, exhibiting much more strength than usual.

This was far worse than it had been first time around.

She was back by his side (heck, actually *on* his side) by the time he'd stumbled to his feet, growling at anyone who came near.

And that was when the General spoke up, standing a few feet away from the end of the ramp. There were so many people present he couldn't get any closer.

"Colonel? I take it Major Carter's been re-infected."

She grabbed a certain part of his anatomy.

"YES!" He cleared his throat and added feebly, "Tuplo says 'hi', by the way. He's still got that stupid hat thing going on."

The medical team moved forward. Carter growled.

"Tell you what," Jack murmured. "This'll be a whole lot easier if you guys just stay out of the way. I'll get her to the infirmary, and then you can work your magic." The weird thing was, this shouldn't have been happening at all. Fraiser had given them anti-histamines before they left, just on the off chance of re-infection. "Now just...step aside."

She did seem to calm, somewhat, just by being in his presence. Had his ego had time to notice it might have been pleased; instead, Jack's ego - firmly attached to Jack's body - slowly made its way through the parting crowd.

Teal'c and Jonas were closest to the doors. Jack nodded at them as he walked out, trying to maintain his dignity while Carter's right hand dug underneath his top. "Fellas,"

Unfortunately, his voice was two octaves higher than normal.

The trip in the elevator was interesting. Though she wasn't as wild as she'd been earlier, he really didn't want to be left alone in an enclosed space with her - but there was no way all the people following them were going to fit in there, and Carter's response to anyone who wasn't him was quite memorable. In the end only one guard had accompanied them - and Carter spent the entire time glaring at him distrustfully.

They made it to the infirmary eventually, and soon they were sitting on a bed together; Jack with his legs dangling over the edge, and Carter picking at his hair. The worrying thing was that she kept putting whatever she found in his hair in her mouth - and he was pretty damn sure he didn't have any fleas.

The medics swarmed in the background, well away from them, preparing whatever it was that they prepared...

And then Fraiser made the mistake of walking into the infirmary.

He hadn't noticed before, but suddenly it hit him with full force: Fraiser was the first woman Carter had been near since they'd returned.

Before he could even think up a warning Carter had moved, pushing in front of him but not off the bed; until she was leaning across his body, planting her hands firmly onto the bed and snarling - at The Doc.

Of course, the position meant that her rear was practically shoved in his face.

Surprised, Fraiser stumbled back a few paces, until she was resting against the wall - as far away as she could get from Carter without actually leaving the room. "Looks like it's true then."

He was *not* gonna stare at her butt. He was *not*. "Looks that way, Doc. Recommend you get the N-E-E-D-L-E-S A-S-A-P." It was hard to believe but for the first time in his life, Jack was actually requesting an injection - albeit, not for himself.

"I don't understand," Fraiser murmured mostly to herself, staying close to the wall as she shuffled towards her staff. "This shouldn't be happening."

"Tell me about it," Jack responded, reaching a hand out and trying to calm Carter down by rubbing her back. Much to his relief she didn't pull away or turn on him; instead, she actually seemed to quite like it, pushing her back up towards him.

Okay, this he could do. If it kept Carter relaxed and happy then he could keep doing this...even if her butt was dancing in front of his face. Even if, through some deliberate plotting on her behalf, his hand was now under her shirt and touching the flesh at the base of her spine.

Oh she really, *really* liked that.

And he suddenly had the urge to get a dog.

Well all right, that wasn't the real urge he was experiencing, but with an audience this large it was the only urge he could allow himself to think about.

So he concentrated solely on getting the job done. Just moving his hand back and forth, maybe flexing his fingers a little occasionally, and trying to judge from her reaction which part of her back she wanted his hand to go to next.

Jack thought he was really starting to get the hang of it when she moved, backing up and forcing him to lean back himself, until her rear placed itself firmly on his lap.


*So* not focusing on where she was sitting - or at least trying his hardest (oh God) not to - he rubbed at her arms and the side of her waist. Lots of touching seemed to be keeping her, well, almost sedated.

Speaking of sedated...not taking the risk this time, Fraiser had sent an emissary in the form of a male nurse Jack vaguely remembered being called Simpkins - yet there was no way he was going to make it to the bed without Carter seeing him coming.

Signalling from behind Carter where she couldn't see, Jack indicated for Simpkins to wait. Once the nurse stood down Jack moved suddenly, hoping to surprise her. It seemed to work. Carter yelped her amazement as she was suddenly lifted and turned, and - as he'd planned - they were lying on the bed, facing each other.

With his legs firmly clamped around hers.

Her eyes were wide, but happy. At least, he prayed to God that it was happiness, and not some insane lust for vengeance. Jack was pretty sure he could distinguish between the two, but given the luck they'd had today he wasn't taking any chances.

"Okay," He said softly, holding Carter's gaze, pretending he was talking to her. "Get your ass over here."

Responding, Carter leant her face towards him and gently began sniffing: his face, his hair, his neck.

Jack shivered.


Where the hell was that-?

She yelped, angrily swiping a hand out behind her but not really intending to hit anything. She obviously just wanted to scare whoever had bothered her away.

Well, that was done, at least. All he had to do now was wait. Wait, as she rubbed her nose against his neck. Wait, as her hands starting playing with his chest through his clothes (he thanked God for small favours). Wait, as he really, really had to fight the urge to get a dog.

This was taking too long. "I don't think it's working," He said, again trying to make it sound like he was talking to her.

"Just what I was thinking," Fraiser responded, barely loud enough for him to hear.

He wasn't sure he'd be able to hear much anyway. Carter's eyes were amazingly hypnotic. It was strange. It was her, but it was *not* her, too. Any second he expected her to spout off something confusing and boring that included lots of words with four syllables.

The Doc continued. "We've already given her more than a safe dose of sedative. I'm reluctant to give her more; it could cause brain damage."

Couldn't have that, now could they? Not *her* brain. Not Carter's. He couldn't help himself; he tapped the end of his finger on her nose, and she smiled.

Uh, he had to speak. Right. "What would you suggest?"

"Well, she seems rather calm at the moment. She should fall asleep on her own eventually. Then we can move."

They wanted him to wait until she fell asleep *naturally* before he could move again?

She rocked her hips towards his. Jack closed his eyes, and his voice broke.


He could do that.

* It was a very strange situation. Admittedly, since coming to work at the SGC - and especially since becoming a member of SG-1 - he'd encountered many strange situations. But nothing quite so strange as this.

General Hammond, apparently, shared Jonas' confusion.

"What happened?"

He'd joined them in the infirmary a few minutes ago. According to Dr Fraiser Sam had fallen asleep not long before that - and Colonel O'Neill was sitting on a chair, rubbing at his knees.

Neither one of them really wanted to say what had happened, purely to save Sam any embarrassment. Yet it had to be done. Thankfully, Teal'c spoke up.

"As per our mission directives, we made contact with the people of the Land of Light. Negotiations to excavate the area our archaeologists found progressed well, and we received their consent. To my knowledge, at no time did Major Carter come into physical contact with anyone."

The Colonel looked decidedly embarrassed.

Teal'c continued. "We progressed back to the dark side of the planet to return to the Stargate, and shortly after we noticed that Major Carter's behaviour was becoming increasingly erratic. Within minutes, she was..." He actually hesitated.

Colonel O'Neill finished it. "She jumped me, sir. Much as she did first time this happened."

Jonas vividly remembered reading that report. And although he vividly remembered everything he read, that report in particular had stood out. Almost everyone at the SGC being reduced to an earlier stage of evolution?

A very strange situation.

"'Jumped you?'" Hammond questioned.

"Yes sir," The Colonel nodded, stamping his feet about. Evidently his knee was bothering him. "We quickly discovered it was best not to try and pull her off," He winced at the memory, as did Jonas - and even Teal'c. "And as we were closer to the gate than Tuplo's place, we brought her back here. End of story."

"Not quite, I'm afraid," Another voice interrupted, and all four turned to see Dr Fraiser approaching.


Sighing, she shook her head and looked down the clipboard she always seemed to be holding. Colonel O'Neill had suggested once that she get it permanently welded onto her arm.

She hadn't been amused.

"It makes no sense."

Hammond frowned - not his first one of the day. "What doesn't, Doctor?"

"I was sure the chloropheniramine wouldn't have had enough time to leave her system, and the blood work confirms it. It's still there."

"What does that mean?"

"That it's no longer having an affect." As if realising something, her eyes widened and she lifted her gaze. "Sir, recommend that no one leaves this base-"

"Don't worry, Doctor," The General reassured her. "As a precaution I've had the base locked down since SG-1's return. No one will be getting in or out until I know for certain that there's no chance of this spreading."

Relieved, Dr Fraiser nodded. "Yes sir. I can only assume at the moment that there's been some kind of change to the microbe, and that it's no longer susceptible to the chloropheniramine. If that's true...then we have big problems."

Standing up and absently scratching at his back, the Colonel looked back to where Sam was laying. Her brow ridge was already beginning to form; it really was fascinating seeing the human evolutionary process in reverse.

Colonel O'Neill apparently didn't see it that way. "Biiiig problems."


After being tested and cleared of the microbe, the rest of SG-1 were released from the infirmary. All three immediately headed to the locker room, to get cleaned up and change into new BDU’s.

It was after Teal’c had left to kel’no’reem that Jonas seized upon the opportunity; it was just he and the Colonel now. The perfect time. “Colonel?”

His shirt was partway over his face, muffling his words, but the sigh was unmistakable. “Yeah, what is it Jonas?”

“Are you all right?”

The shirt was down, over his body – his hair sticking out in all kinds of interesting directions. “Why would you think I wasn’t?” He asked, sitting on the bench to begin pulling on his boots.

“I don’t know,” Jonas shrugged, standing in front of his assigned locker space, already fully dressed. “Just a feeling. Having Major Carter attack you like that must have been a shock.”

He briefly paused doing his laces up. “Yeah, well after you get jumped by Carter once, you kind of get used to it. Not the type of thing you tend to forget.”

Not quite understanding, Jonas nodded anyway. “And now that the microbe doesn’t have an cure...”

“*Yet*,” the Colonel pointed out, slapping at his thighs as he stood and turned to face Jonas. “It doesn’t have an cure *yet*. Fraiser’ll think of something.”

“Colonel, I’m not belittling Dr Fraiser’s talents – she is a *very* skilled doctor. But what if she can’t solve this?”

“She will.” He said it as if it were as simple as his belief in her.

“But what if she *doesn’t*?”

Sighing, the Colonel shook his head. “Then I guess everyone around here’ll start regressing, and before long we’ll be able to keep ourselves entertained just by smelling each others body parts.”

Jonas grinned, shaking his head. “Colonel...”

“Oh come on Jonas,” he waved his hands around. “Haven’t you figured out by now that this is what happens here? Something bad happens, Carter or Fraiser fix it, and we all ride off into the sunset. Or at least the Stargate, anyway.”

Considering his words, Jonas sighed. He did have a was as if the base itself had a strange kind of good luck. Bad things would happen a lot, but most of the time there was a happy ending. “I guess,”

“You ‘guess’?” O’Neill mocked. “You mean you don’t *know*?”

Knowing he was being made fun of, Jonas grinned – but the Colonel’s words had reminded him of something else. “ you think I’m strange?”

SG-1’s leader didn’t move for a while. In fact, didn’t even blink. “I don’t believe I’ve ever said that.” He started moving towards the exit.

Jonas jogged after him. “That’s not what I asked.”

“Well, who *isn’t* a little odd?”

“True,” Jonas conceded as they entered the corridor. “From a Kelownan’s perspective, most humans are a little strange.” He paused speaking at the look he received. “Not so much anymore. I suppose it was just because I didn’t know you.”

“I sup-pose...” The Colonel mimicked, placing his hands in his pockets as he meandered along the corridor with little purpose. “Although you don’t need to be an alien to be odd. Carter, for example, is *majorly* weird.” Amused at something, he barely grinned. “The *Major* is *majorly* weird...heh.”

Frowning, Jonas walked alongside him. “She is?” He hadn’t noticed any bizarre behaviour...well not since he’d gotten to know her, anyway. “The only ‘strange’ behaviour I can recall from Sam is when she,” he might as well use the Colonel’s own term, “‘jumped you’ back on the planet.”

They’d reached the elevator now – evidently, there *had* been some purpose to O’Neill’s meandering.

“Jonas,” He declared, after swiping his pass. “A word of warning: if by some chance I happen to become’d better stay out of the immediate area.”

Was he concerned about him? “So I don’t get infected too?”

“No,” the Colonel shook his head, patted Jonas on the shoulder, and stepped through the gap in the opening elevator doors. “It’s never know what might happen, now do ya? See you later.”

Still confused, Jonas watched the Colonel disappear, only to realise after the elevator doors closed that he’d meant to get in with him.


Sinking lower into his chair, Jack sighed. Some ten hours had passed since they'd returned from the planet, and there was still no sign of any cure. True, he knew medical stuff could take a while - and that was roughly all he knew about medical stuff, other than the fact that Fraiser was good at it - but since that chat with Jonas a couple of hours ago, he'd performed a rapid about face on his own opinion.

He wanted it fixed. Now.

Glaring at the mug he was holding, he wondered why he'd even bothered getting a drink. Maybe just to blend look like he belonged. After leaving Jonas in the corridor, he'd retreated to his office to write up his mission report.

But he'd never finished it. Somewhere around paragraph five the inclination to write the report - which was never very high under the best of circumstances - left altogether, and he'd spent ten minutes just staring at the small white space where the next word should have gone.

Frustrated by his lack of progress and feeling the need just to move, he'd begun prowling the base. Getting the elevator to the top floor, he'd then worked his way down, level by level, encountering people and personnel he didn't usually get a chance to see.

And somehow, he managed to see Siler on every floor.

When that was done and he still felt the need to do *something*, he'd entered the commissary, grabbed a mug of coffee, and slumped into a chair, only the fact that he was leaning against the table keeping him upright.

He wanted it fixed.


Ah, Teal'c. Jack looked up at him, unmoving. "Nice kel'no'reem?"

His friend shifted, gently lowering himself into the chair opposite his, on the other side of the table. He had no mug, no tray, no food. Nothing that said he was trying to fit in. "Indeed. Have you slept?"

"Nah," Jack's hands played with the mug, spinning it around, seeing how fast he could turn it without the coffee splashing out. "Not tired." Actually, considering how long he'd been awake now, he was surprisingly alert.

Then he focused on his coffee...and figured maybe it wasn't so surprising.

"You appear perturbed."

Just like Teal'c. Straight to the point. Jack stopped spinning and started fiddling. "Still no cure yet. Worried this thing is gonna spread is all."

Teal'c said nothing. Just observed.

Sighing, Jack relented - a little. "Okay, so I'm worried about her. What's the big deal?"

"There is no 'big deal'," was the response. "You are the only one who makes it so."

Jack honestly didn't know whether to feel threatened or relieved. "Huh." That was as far as he got, before Teal'c spoke again.

"Dr Fraiser will find a solution," He smiled. He'd been doing more of that lately. "It is the way in which the universe works."

"Yeah," Jack shifted, drumming one hand against the table. "I was trying to explain that to Jonas when he was a little doubtful earlier."

"Are you not doubtful now yourself?"

"No. Not all. Just impatient."

Teal'c nodded once in comprehension. "A common theme."

Lifting his mug, Jack opened his mouth to take a gulp...when the words Teal'c had spoken actually started to make sense. The mug paused. "Are you making fun of me?"

Whatever reply had been about to emerge was interrupted by the PA system. "SG-1 to the briefing room, repeat, SG-1 to the briefing room."


"Gentlemen, we have a dilemma."

Surprised, Jack moved his chin from where it had been resting against his hand. Dilemma? Since when did Fraiser use words like that?

There was no immediate answer, as she was moving already, charging around the briefing room. The three uninfected members of SG-1 plus Hammond were seated around the table, and Fraiser paused by every one of them, handing over a cardboard folder to each person.

When she was finished, she took the seat closest to the General and addressed him directly. "General, I respectfully request that the SF's be asked to leave."

Jack's eyebrows definitely shot up at *that*.

"Do you believe that's really necessary, Doctor?"

"For Major Carter's sake, yes sir."

Needing no more convincing, Hammond agreed to her request. Turning to the SF's currently sharing the room with them - one by the doorway, the other near the top of the stairs - Hammond spoke. "Dismissed."

Complying, both left.

As Hammond turned back to Fraiser, Jack was doing a lot of blinking. Jonas seemed to be doing pretty much the same, and even Teal'c looked perplexed.


Sighing, Fraiser pulled her chair closer to the table. Dramatically flipping open her own folder, she began to speak. "What you're looking at here are the latest test results for Major Carter."

Realising he was probably actually supposed to know what she was referring to, Jack hastily opened his folder. There were lots of long words, lots of a paper, and - ooo. Carter's brain.

Jonas evidently spotted something right away, because he cleared his throat. "Dr looking at this, am I right in assuming that-?"

"The microbe has mutated or evolved in a way we couldn't have expected?" She nodded. "It's not even feeding from histamine anymore - instead it seems to be living right off the chemicals in her brain. Don't ask me how. And that's not the only problem."

Oh, Jack did *not* like this. "This would be the 'dilemma' you were referring to earlier?"

Hesitating, Fraiser glanced towards Hammond - and that was when Jack realised. Hammond knew. Whatever Fraiser was about to come out and tell them, she'd already reported it to him.

Jack hadn't really been paying attention to his superior officer earlier - more fool him - but now that he did he realised Hammond looked pensive, slightly annoyed, but mostly embarrassed.


Returning her gaze back to the paperwork, Fraiser turned to the picture of Carter's brain. "Our understanding of the human brain has progressed a great deal in the past five years. Although much of it remains a mystery, we have been able to isolate the areas of the brain that have been affected - and we may also have found an answer there."

Jonas looked up from his folder. "How?"

"We produce a chemical reaction, but one that's *much* stronger than this thing has had to deal with before. It will essentially be 'too much' for the microbe, and it'll be killed off."

Jack nodded, liking the idea. "It'll overdose."

She smiled tightly.

He had to ask the inevitable. "So what's the problem?"

Her gaze flicked to Hammond, then back to him, then back to the table. "The areas of her brain that have been affected by this...are associated with sexual activity."

Oh, no no no no nooo...


"If we don't find a cure soon, her transformation will become permanent."


"I've tried mimicking the chemical responses, but to no avail. This thing is smart. It knows that it's not-"


"I'll keep trying to find another solution of course, but we really need this resolved as soon as-"

"Doc." "We have nothing else we can even try at the-"

"Doc!" He waved his hands around, desperate to get her just to shut up. When it was evident that she was finally doing that - and that his two teammates were regarding him with raised eyebrows - he lowered his voice, and continued. She couldn't possibly mean... "Are you saying that unless she has..." Nope, he couldn't say it. "...has, you *know*, with someone some time soon, she'll become a Cave Girl *permanently*?"

Exhaling heavily, she nodded regretfully. "Yes Colonel. That's exactly what I'm saying."

Ah, crap.

"Seriously? You're not yanking my chain? She really has to...?" He gestured emphatically with his right hand.

It was Hammond who replied this time. "I'm afraid so, Colonel."

Wow. That was...odd. A virus that forces you to have sex to get rid of it? Had it not been Carter who was in trouble, he might have made some joke about *wanting* to get infected with it.

"Hence the dilemma," Fraiser continued, casting her gaze to the three members of SG-1 who were present.

Frowning, Jack sat forward in his chair. Dilemma? was certainly a prospect he'd considered - hey, he was a normal guy, after all - but-



"You need someone to..." He winced, even as the words came out. " the job, so to speak."

As it turned out, he wasn't the only one who winced. He shrugged an apology. Agreeing, Fraiser nodded. "That's why I asked for the SF's to be dismissed. To protect Major Carter's privacy and lessen any embarrassment she may feel should this work, we want as few people as possible to know about it."

"Of course you do." Man, this was uncomfortable.

Jonas closed his folder. "And you told us because...?"

"Because you're her teammates, and because it would probably be...easier...if it were someone she was already close to. And there's also the top secret classification of the Stargate program."

Yeah - try explaining the brow ridges and her manic behaviour to an off-base boyfriend.

Not that she had one. Right? He'd know, surely.

The full implications of what Fraiser was saying finally hit Jack's brain. "Wait, want us to choose which one of us is going to..." No way! "How the hell can we make that kind of decision for her?"

"Colonel, we have no choice," She rebutted. "You think I enjoy debating this with you? That I know how embarrassed she's going to be? She's a professional colleague, someone I respect immensely, *and* she's my best friend. I'm enjoying this no more than you are."

Jack felt like he'd just had his eyebrows singed off. Yet fool that he was, he couldn't let it lie. "But she's *Carter*. She doesn't need anyone to decide *anything* for her."

"Unfortunately, she's no longer capable of making any decisions herself. Purely from a professional point of view, we have to make it for her."

Jonas intervened. "Maybe we won't have to."

Confused, Fraiser turned to face him. "What do you mean?"

"Admittedly I'm no expert on earlier forms of human evolution, but it's been plainly obvious both times she's been infected that she *has* chosen someone."

Jack frowned when he realised everyone was staring at him.

Teal'c joined in. "I concur. On both occasions, it was O'Neill she chose as a potential mate."

Nooo. No way. No. "Maybe I was just handy," He wasn't quite sure why but that sounded rude, so he shifted in his chair and continued speaking. "In any case, that's not allowed." Jack couldn't quite believe this. He was arguing *not* to have sex with Carter.

Jonas shrugged. "I know about the regulations Colonel, but surely given the circumstances..."

"I'm sorry Jonas," The Generally, finally, *finally* stepped in. "But Colonel O'Neill's correct. Quite frankly, none of you should really be chosen, but the regulations concerning off-world members of SG teams are still somewhat vague."

"Quite a loophole," Jack muttered, carefully keeping his gaze angled away from Fraiser.

"So, what you're saying is..." Jonas paused, glancing towards Jack. "That it has to be me or Teal'c? How can we make that decision?"

Finally, someone backing up his argument. Even if it was Jonas. Who was one the guys who had to...

And then Teal'c ignored the argument. "As Dr Fraiser said, we have little choice."

"Does it have to be..." Jack couldn't believe he was about to say this - but say it he did. "...a guy?"

Fraiser's eyes widened.

"That's a good point," Jonas agreed. "Surely much the same happens - in the brain at least."

"It's a fair argument," Fraiser spoke carefully. "But the point of intercourse for early man - on in this case, woman - was procreation. She wouldn't be able to accomplish that with someone of the same gender, so wouldn't *want* to be with a woman."

Jack almost, almost, said something about Fraiser underestimating her own appeal - but was extremely thankful when he didn't. Punishment would have no doubt been painful, and unbelievably scary.

"Look," Good God; *why* was he taking charge? "There's only one way to do this fairly. Pen?" He glanced towards Fraiser, who rolled her pen towards him across the table. Ripping two squares off what looked like the least expensive piece of paper in the folder, he drew a 'X' on one and then folded both up carefully.

Pushing his chair away he stood up, and stalked over to the small table near the windows. Outwardly calm he picked up one of the glasses next to the jug of water. Inwardly, he was screaming at himself as he deposited the sickest lottery tickets in existence into the glass, covered the top with his hand, and shook it up and down.

What the hell was he *doing*?

He stopped moving.

What he had to.

Moving back to the table, he walked to the side Jonas, Teal'c and Fraiser were sitting at - he'd been relegated to sitting by himself since Carter was absent.

Speaking, he shoved the glass under Jonas' nose. His feelings about the Kelownan were still largely ambivalent, but he swore to God, if he got the paper with the X on it... "Here,"

Jonas eyed the glass as if it were deadly. "Colonel, I really don't think-"

"Then don't," Jack argued, rebelling against the thoughts he'd been having just moments before. Some things were more important than petty jealousy. "We can't let her stay that way forever. Who else is going to understand what you're talking about most of the time?" And he added something else, silently: we have no choice.

Jonas' fingers moved, squeezing into the glass, fingertips trapping a piece of paper against the edge, and slowly pulling it out.

As satisfied as he could be, Jack held the glass out to Teal'c.

Teal'c. If nothing else, Teal'c would view it as a duty, something that simply had to be done.

Quietly but quickly, the Jaffa retrieved the second piece of paper.

"Gentlemen," Hammond announced, reminding everyone that he was there as Jack made his way back to his seat. "If you wish you can of course open those in private."

Jack was back where he had been before: in his seat, opposite the others, exactly the same.

Except for the glass he was holding between his hands. Except for the pale flesh of his palms as they pressed against it. Except for the fascination with the watermark he could see at the bottom.

"I have no need to leave the room."

"Yeah, uh...I'm good too."

"Very well. You may proceed when ready."


The sound of paper, moving.

The sound of silence.

The sound of someone not wanting to ask the question that had to be asked.




Jonas knew without a trace of doubt that if his upcoming sexual encounter with a de-evolved Sam didn’t end up killing him, Colonel O’Neill would shortly after.

Though the Colonel had been insisting this was to actually save Sam – and that was the only reason Jonas was considering it at all – it was blatantly obvious that he wasn’t happy about it.

No, he was very *unhappy*. Extremely unhappy. Incredibly, worryingly...

Jonas studied the piece of paper again, searching for an escape. Not that he wanted to place the responsibility onto his friend...the person he’d certainly bonded with easier than anyone else, but...maybe it wasn’t an ‘X’. Maybe it was a ‘Y’ that had been very poorly written.

Yes. That was it. That could be an escape clause; technically it wasn’t an ‘X’, so they couldn’t say it was up to him.

It wasn’t that he didn’t enjoy sex, or that she wasn’t attractive; she was just *Sam*. That wasn’t the way their relationship was supposed to be. And there was the guilt from the fact that he’d be having sex with her more or less without her consent.

Did that amount to rape?

He didn’t close his eyes, didn’t look up, didn’t move; didn’t do anything that might give some clue that it was *him*.

But for all his internal arguments, Jonas knew that he had to do this. She couldn’t stay like that forever, and as Dr Fraiser had said herself – if it didn’t happen soon, she *would* be that way forever.

Sighing, he scrunched the paper up in the palm of his hand, lifted his gaze, and looked at the Colonel.

“It’s me.”

Only it wasn’t Jonas who’d spoken.

Amazed, the Kelownan looked to his left, at the person who’d broken the silence: Teal’c.

The Jaffa didn’t even glance at him, instead staring at the Colonel resolutely.

The Colonel himself appeared to be fascinated by the glass that, had it been alive, he would have been throttling to death.

Still stunned, sure his wide eyes were bound to give him away, Jonas only half-remembered to turn towards Dr Fraiser as she began to speak.

“All right,” A sigh. “We still have some time before that becomes absolutely necessary – and we may yet find another solution. With your permission General, I’d like to return to the infirmary and keep working on it.”

He nodded. “Of course Doctor, thank you. Dismissed.”

Briefly pausing to study everyone in the room, she nodded back; then within seconds she was gone.

The Colonel, evidently, took that ‘dismissed’ as applying to him as well, because he was just behind her.

Not particularly surprised if his expression was anything to go by, Hammond betrayed a brief moment of weakness by rubbing his right hand over his head. “These are indeed...very strange circumstances.” Standing up, and causing them to stand up with him, he moved away without looking at them. “Dismissed.”

They watched until he was in his office, and the door closed.

The moment it was, Jonas spun round. “Teal’c, what are you *doing*?”

Calmly pushing his chair towards the table, Teal’c shrugged. Or, as much as he ever did. “I possess greater chance of recovery should I sustain serious injury. You are physically strong, Jonas Quinn, but you are not as strong as a Jaffa.”

“You can’t do this.”

“There is a greater chance of forgiveness if it were me.”

Jonas frowned. Forgiveness? “From Sam?”

The briefest of smiles touched his features. “She is a warrior. She will understand.”

Then what-? Oh. “You mean from the Colonel? Isn’t he a warrior, too?”

The faint smile grew slightly bigger. “The situation is complicated.” Apparently having said all he was going to say, he began to walk towards the exit.

Jonas, as ever, had more to discuss. “You can’t tell me you want to do this. I mean...physical gratification aside, this is *Sam*. She’s part of the team. It isn’t right.”

Having reached the doorway, Teal’c paused, but didn’t turn back. “Though it would indeed be a great, it is not ‘right’. That does not erase the fact that it almost certainly has to happen.”

He didn’t know what gave it away – would probably never know what gave away – but the information funnelled into his brain, and Jonas suddenly found himself jogging until he was next to his friend. And he said it. “You’re lying.”

Teal’c finally moved, lifting an eyebrow. “About what?”

“I don’t know, but something.” He’d gotten to know his friend pretty well by now. “What are you planning?”

Lowering the eyebrow, turning away, standing with his hands clasped behind his back, Teal’c quietly addressed the corridor he was facing. “It occurs to me that, in her current state, Major Carter may not be happy with either of us.”

“Because her behaviour both times has dictated that given the choice she’d prefer...” He trailed off, wondering. “Dr Fraiser would probably argue that Sam could get to a point where anyone would do.”

“Perhaps,” Teal’c conceded, still talking to the corridor. “But there is only one way I can think of to ensure that the person she currently desires is chosen.”

Frowning, mind postulating, Jonas spoke in astonishment as he realised. “You’re *serious*?”



It wasn't satisfying.


It wasn't satisfying at *all*.


It wasn't in the least big satisfying, but he kept doing it anyway. What else was he supposed to do? Sit around and twiddle his thumbs? Mope in his office until Fraiser told him it was time for Teal'c to...

Do what had to be done.


He had to keep reminding himself of that. Without it, he'd no longer be able to sneak into her lab and watch her act surprised when he turned up. Without it, he'd no longer be able to tease her about something and receive that partly embarrassed, partly amused, partly annoyed look in response. No more theoreticals, exponentials, a whole bunch of other 'als'; no more gentle rolling of the eyes, or the humour in her face when she laughed at something he said.



It had to be done.

"You'd probably actually be enjoying yourself if you were punching some*one* instead of some*thing*."

Jack didn't pause, having known that voice for far too long to mistake its source. "That sounds suspiciously like you're volunteering."


"Well, it'd be kind of dumb if I did volunteer. Or if you took me up on the offer, even if I *were* volunteering. Which I'm not, by the way."


Jack half-shook his head. No one spoke quite like he did. "My fist would go right through you. Unless you've..."

"No," He interrupted. "I haven't."

It wasn't a surprise, but it was a disappointment. "Then what are you doing here? This isn't exactly a life or death thing."

"It some ways, it is," He argued.

Growling, Jack hit the punch bag again. Despite what he'd said before, he was definitely getting vaguer. Joy.

"But," He continued, much to Jack's relief, "I actually came here to tell you to listen to him."


"To whom?"

"I know you're not really in the mood to listen to anyone at the moment - myself included - but frankly I'm hoping for a little sway in your opinion considering what happened the last time I saw you. Well..." An almost silent chuckle. "The last time *you* saw *me*, anyway."

Ba'al. Knives, pain, acid, screaming-

Jack stopped punching.

The voice moved closer. "How are you doing?"

He wasn't asking about Cave Girl, or what Teal'c was going to have to do soon. He was the only one who ever asked about the...other thing.

"Like you said," He looked down at his hands, breathing heavily, imagining that he could actually see the bones inside his skin scrunching up into balls.

But that wasn't possible.

"I'm okay."


Again he didn't move, the voice this time not as recognisable, but familiar enough that it caused a flicker of annoyance. Not so much at the man who had spoken anymore, but at what Jack just *knew* he was going to say. "Don't,"

"Don't what?" Jonas asked.

Turning around, Jack regarded the newcomer. Unsurprisingly, there was no one else in sight. "Don't ask me if I'm all right. Now is *not* a good time to try and 'bond' with me." He wasn't entirely stupid - he recognised Jonas' behaviour for what it was. He didn't really mind most of the time, mostly because he knew what the guy was really up to, but today he just wasn't in the mood.

"I disagree," Jonas began walking, reaching the cupboard where the gloves and the headgear were stored, and pulling out enough for both of them. Facing Jack, he lobbed a pair of gloves and some head protection at him, before he started pulling on his own.

Surprised, Jack blinked at the equipment he'd haphazardly caught. "What are you doing?"

Chuckling, Jonas finished fitting his head protection on. "Funny question, that. I've noticed it gets asked a lot around here."

Jack shrugged, confused as hell. "*What*?"

Beginning to tug on his first glove, Jonas shrugged and ignored the question. "Are you really going to tell me that hitting me won't be more satisfying than hitting that bag?"

Was this a trick question? It didn't seem like one, but...

His team mate spoke again, lifting his hands up. "Can you help me finish getting these on, please?"

A few minutes later, they were both gloved and ready to go.

"So what are you really doing here?" Jack jabbed once slowly, trying to gauge Jonas' reaction time. To his own surprise, the guy was quite fast. In fact, as the 'fight' progressed, he realised he was incredibly fast. Not particularly smooth or elegant, but whenever he went down he popped back up like a...well, like something that popped back up really quickly.

"You're in a bad mood," He replied, dodging a fist, only to get hit with the next one as a result.

Jack waited until he was back on his feet again - which wasn't very long. "There's those keen observational skills that make you such an asset to the team."

"I knew I'd come in useful for something," Jonas ducked, trying to draw breath. "In any case it stood to reason that you'd be frustrated, and this is one of the best places on base for venting that frustration."

"Now what makes you think I'm frustrated?" Jack taunted, clipping the right side of Jonas' head.

The Kelownan stumbled, but didn't go over. "The fact that Sam's in trouble, and there's nothing you can do to help her."

Damn little know-it-all...he stopped moving. "Hey, I'd feel exactly the same if it were any other member of my team."

He should have seen it coming, and in some ways, he thought he might have. He still didn't move, and Jonas' fist connected with his face. The blow wasn't particularly heavy - Jack suspected Jonas wasn't putting any real weight behind it - but he tumbled to the floor, panting.

"Then why aren't you treating her like any other member of your team?" His fighting partner asked, standing over him. "If it were anyone else - Teal'c, or even *me* - you'd be in that infirmary keeping an eye on us, pestering Dr Fraiser for the latest update. Not feeling sorry for yourself, pounding a fist into a punching bag."

Unmoving, stunned, Jack could only watch as Jonas stripped himself of the gloves and headgear before he quietly left the room. He couldn't quite comprehend that Jonas of all people had just kicked his ass - and made a good point on top of it.


Some five minutes later, he found himself hovering outside the infirmary. After promptly being informed that she'd been moved to isolation - God, why hadn't he been told? Why hadn't he *been* there? - he made his way to the cluster of rooms that were scarily familiar.

He remembered being on the other side of the door. Of wanting, needing, and knowing nothing else other than wanting and needing.


It'd been so long since Samantha.

Trying to clear his head of those thoughts, he wasn't particularly surprised to find Teal'c sitting outside her room - much as he'd been when Jack had been infected five years ago.

There was no one else around.

"O'Neill," Teal'c greeted, standing up from the small plastic chair that still seemed hideously undersized for his large frame.

"Teal'c," He made an attempt at a smile. "What are you doing here?"

"I volunteered to 'keep an eye' on Major Carter while the medical staff continue their attempts to find a cure. It seemed prudent."

Good. Of course. Just like Teal'c. Always doing what was prudent. Jack was doing his best not to think about what else was prudent, but was failing most of the time. "I, uh...I guess I just came to see how she was doing." It was weird, admitting that. He tried not to so often.

Acknowledging the intention, Teal'c half-turned and lifted an arm, sliding the hatch open. Through the metal mesh, Jack could make out Carter's form lying on a bed.

"She has been strapped down for her own safety," Teal'c told him, "And has been quiet for some time."

Jack exhaled. Well that was good...or was it? "Is she all right?" He tried to see if she was breathing.

"She is as well as she can be considering her condition, O'Neill. Would you like to see for yourself?"

"Oh no," Jack objected immediately. "That's really not necessary; I don't want you thinking I don't trust your judgement or anything..." He kept peering through the mesh. From this angle it was hard to see much of anything.

"I don't believe that at all, O'Neill. Here," He began moving, unlocking the door.

Hesitating, Jack wondered if this was the right thing to do. He knew she was strapped down so she wouldn't be a risk to anyone, but Fraiser probably wouldn't appreciate it if she knew people had been in to see Carter...but then no one was going to tell her they'd been in to see Carter, now would they?

The decision made, he waited until the door was open before striding in, hands resting comfortably in his pockets.

He was a little surprised when Teal'c didn't come in with him, and then when he shut the door behind him.

He was even more surprised at the sound of the lock sliding into place, but nothing quite compared to the shock evoked when Carter lifted her head, sniffed, and turned towards him.

Confirming the realisation that she was most definitely *not* strapped down.


He stumbled backwards, thumping on the door even as she leapt towards him.



“*What* do you think you were doing?”

Huh. Seemed Jonas was right. That question *did* get asked a lot around there. Jack shrugged, shifting on the bed he was sitting on in the isolation room next to Carter’s. “I was just checking up on her. Ow,” He moaned, as she treated one of his numerous scratches.

“And you really though it was good idea to check up on her *alone*, while she was strapped down and in isolation?”

“Without the strapped down,” Jack pointed out, wincing as she brushed against another injury.

“Still not sure what happened there,” Doc muttered, continuing her treatment.

“In any case, I wasn’t alone. Teal’c was there,” Even if he had been outside, which in itself was distinctly odd. “And if anything he saved me. If he hadn’t been there to let me out...well, let’s just say you’d be seeing more of me right now than you ever wanted to.”

Fraiser didn’t seem amused. “Yeah, well that’s try and determine just how much ‘saving’ he did, shall we sir?”

Jack regarded the outfit she was wearing. “Does this have something to do with your latest fashion statement – and our current location?”

Glancing down at her full hazmat suit – the red did *wonders* for her hair...or at least what he could see of it – she nodded.

“The fact that no one else has been infected since your return is telling. It could be that this new form of the microbe is spread only by physical contact or exposure to an infected persons blood.”

Jack studied his scratches with concern.

Fraiser met his gaze. “Now while Major Carter was quite...physical with you when you first came through the gate, she didn’t break any skin. We’ve already contacted Tuplo’s people and – unless they’re lying – there have been no new cases of the ‘Touched’ since our previous visit there.” Pausing, she sighed. “We’re very similar, we would have to be or the chloropheniramine would never have worked on them in the first place, but there are *some* differences in our physiologies. It is conceivable that our physiologies are just different enough that the newer form of the microbe would have no effect on them, but would definitely have an effect on us.”

How did anyone speak with that many four-plus syllable words? Well, apart from Carter. But he knew what she was getting at. “And you’re worried that my little tussle with Carter,” Tussle? Hell, more like a full-out wrestling match without the acting. “May have infected me.” It wasn’t a question. It didn’t need to be.

“Yes sir, I am concerned about that possibility.”

Groaning, Jack let his body lean back until it was touching the wall. “This is gonna mean more needles, isn’t it?”

As if by magic, one appeared in her gloved hand. “What gave it away?”


Teal’c and Jonas visited a couple of times, always asking the same questions:

“How are you feeling, Colonel?”

“Are you well, O’Neill?”

“Haven’t noticed any...changes, or anything?”

“Are you still yourself?”

“Hope you’re not infected.”

“That would indeed be unfortunate.”

Jack didn’t feel any different every time they asked. In fact, he felt reassuringly normal, and spent most of his time trying to convince himself that he couldn’t possibly be infected.

Because if he thought about being infected, he had to think about the obvious solution.

The forth time he had company, it was Teal’c by himself. And ‘company’ was really much too strong a word. As with the previous three times, Teal’c only communicated with him by talking through the mesh.


“Teal’c,” Jack looked up from his study of the floor, but kept strolling around his cell. He was never one to stay still for very long. “Before you ask, still feeling normal.”

“That is good news,” He may have nodded. “I wish to apologise for my delay in opening the door earlier.”

“Hey – not your fault. You weren’t to know that she’d got out of her restraints, or that Junior suddenly required your full attention. Though it doesn’t surprise me what with him being a Goa’uld an all, I didn’t realise he could be quite so demanding.”

“It does not happen often.”

That was certainly the truth. To his knowledge, it had never happened before. Nodding, Jack clucked his tongue against the roof of his mouth. He was getting extremely bored. “Don’t suppose you can bring me some magazines, or-?”


Jack spun, intending to secure his immediate area, but realising the immediate area was pretty darn secure already and feeling rather dumb. It didn’t stop him from panicking. “What the hell was that?”

Teal’c’s head was angled to the left. “I believe it was Major Carter.”

Woah... “Carter?” He knew she’d ‘regressed’, but still...

The head angled back towards him, half-shadowed by the mesh. “As I understand it, the sedatives are becoming increasingly ineffective.”

Ha. “They weren’t particularly effective in the first place.”


Jack’s head jerked to the right; the noise had come from the wall. “What...?”


Teal’c vanished, though his voice returned mere moments later. “It is Major Carter. She is throwing herself against the wall.”

A memory, an image, flooded Jack’s mind: Makepeace hurling his hands, his fists, his body at the wall, staining it with blood.


He moved towards the grey cement wall, pressing a hand against it. “Carter,”


Dammit! “Carter!”

Teal’c again. “She has stopped moving, O’Neill. I will gather assistance,”

“No, no,” Jack replied, lowering to his knees. “She’s not gonna do that again.” The knowledge had no scientific basis; he just *knew*. Instinct. His hand brushed against the surface. “Carter?”

He was speaking so quietly that she couldn’t possibly have heard him – the walls were so thick that nothing short of throwing your body against it would make a sound.

But he knew she heard.

“I’m here, Carter.”

She whined pitifully, the noise echoing through the hatch in her door and reaching the hatch on his scant feet away.

He hated that. The idea of Carter needing anyone or anything went against everything he knew about her. But right now, the woman on the other side of the wall wasn’t Carter. She was...the un-Carter.

So he shifted, placing his palm flat against the wall, somehow knowing she was doing the same, the right side of his face soon pressing against the cold, hard, surface.

He spoke in barely a whisper now; the words unimportant but tumbling out anyway. “I’m here.”

And it was as if the wall wasn’t there anymore; he could feel her flesh against his, their fingers tangling together, the smell of her skin. There were no names, no identities – though a vague recollection of a woman in dark brown clothes – it was just *Him* and *Her*.

And the need.

His eyes, which he hadn’t even realised he’d closed, snapped open as he scurried away from the wall backwards, propelling himself with his hands and feet.

The feeling didn’t go away.

Oh this was bad. This was *really* bad.


“The tests confirm it,” Dr Fraiser sighed, absently rubbing the back of her neck with her right hand. “He’s infected.”

Jonas nodded but didn’t lift his head, keeping his gaze lowered. He was having a considerable amount of trouble looking her in the eye. Certainly he’d lied through omission before, but never to anyone he respected – or at least not without a very good reason. And he *liked* Dr Fraiser as well as General Hammond. They were good, trusting people, and he was continuing to have difficulties with the charade.

Apparently Teal’c had no such compunction. “That is unfortunate.”

Half of SG-1, Dr Fraiser and General Hammond were holding an unofficial briefing in the corridor outside Colonel O’Neill’s ‘cell’. They were all taking turns to peer through the hatch, and at that particular moment the Colonel was spread out on the bed, catching up on his sleep.

Jonas still wasn’t sure if he and Teal’c had done the right thing. Although part of him argued that it *had* to be right because both times the regressed Sam had gone straight to the Colonel first, indicating her preference for him as a mate, it was still an ethical minefield.

Earlier Teal’c had claimed the situation with Colonel O’Neill and Sam was ‘complicated’, but there weren’t many relationships that couldn’t be described as that. Certainly, from the first time he’d met them and throughout the passing months, he’d been witness to a good working relationship. They often anticipated each other needs, sometimes even going so far as to finish each other’s thoughts with nothing more than a “Yeah,” or “I know.” Obviously it was something they’d worked on; or maybe it had developed naturally over the five years they’d been working together, and as a result a strange kind of symbiosis had formed.

But that was on a professional level, while they were working. On a personal level, he didn’t have a clue.

He’d seen concern on both sides, but never anything that could be considered inappropriate. And he’d certainly heard the rumours of course, but rumours were rumours and he’d learned a long time ago not to pay attention to any of them (in fact, one of them had stated quite categorically that he was involved with Dr Fraiser, which he knew by being half of the implicated party wasn’t true).

The fact was, he’d never seen them discuss anything that didn’t relate to their work, or even really interact away from the base. However, neither one of them were the type to openly show or discuss any feelings they may or may not have had, so...

In the end, he didn’t know either way.

General Hammond’s sigh sounded remarkably similar to Dr Fraiser’s. Jonas suspected they’d had to spend too much time doing that in each other’s company since the Stargate project had been opened.

“And there’s still no other solution?”

“No sir,” She responded regretfully, the dark circles under her eyes testimony to the fact that she’d certainly been trying to find one. “And we’re seriously starting to run out of time. While the Colonel has only recently been infected, Major Carter...” She hesitated, worried for her friend. “She doesn’t have long, sir, before she’ll stay that way forever.”

Hammond’s features strengthened with determination. “I need an honest answer from you, Doctor. Can you cure this thing?”

Her chin lifted, her mouth tightening, wanting to give him an answer he wanted to hear just as badly. “No, sir. I *do* believe that given enough time we could eventually solve this...but at the moment it’s time that we just don’t have.”

Sighing again, Hammond moved until he was looking through the mesh. “So there’s no other course of action,”

Jonas risked lifting his head, to sneak a glance at Teal’c. He still didn’t seem bothered by any of this. In fact, he verbally responded to the General’s statement.

“Unless you wish to allow Major Carter to remain as she is for the rest of her life.”

His words sparked something in Jonas, and he found himself speaking. “We’d lose all of her knowledge, her expertise, and her personal experience.”


“Not to mention losing Colonel O’Neill’s...” Jonas struggled for the right word. “...skills.”

“Agreed,” Teal’c nodded. “And you would have to find another two new members for SG-1.”

“Gentlemen, there’s no need to convince me.”

Jonas’ mouth stayed half-open, his next argument going unspoken. Did that mean...?

The General was already turning towards Fraiser. “Doctor, are you willing to sign an official document stating that neither Major Carter or Colonel O’Neill are in their right minds, and not responsible for their actions?”

Her eyes lit up as she smiled. “I can do better than that sir. I can get Dr MacKenzie to sign one.”

Though contributing nothing to the new conversation, Jonas agreed internally. It would be more persuasive if the base psychiatrist – the resident expert on the human mind – signed the document. Not that they really *needed* to be was, after all, the truth.

But this was a precarious situation, and he knew the Air Force didn’t approach these things lightly.

“Good,” General Hammond acknowledged, rubbing a hand against the side of his face as he pondered. “How long before Major Carter’s condition becomes permanent?”

“Well it’s hard to be exact sir, but I’d more than six hours.”

“All right. Get to work, Doctor.”

“Yes sir,” Smiling tightly at everyone, she soon left the corridor in search of MacKenzie.

“If you two will excuse me,” Hammond announced. “I have a few phone calls to make.”

“Of course General.”

“Yes sir,”

And then he was gone too, leaving Jonas and Teal’c hovering outside the Colonel’s room.

Deep in thought, Jonas focused on the wall a few feet away. His sudden pro-active behaviour after feeling so guilty had surprised even him, and he was busy trying to rationalise it.

“Jonas Quinn,”

Still distracted, he barely responded. “Hmm?”

“Are you well?”

Well? Paying attention, he lifted his head. “Sorry?”

Teal’c was studying him with curiosity. “You seemed quiet, earlier.”

That was undeniably the truth. “I guess I...I don’t really feel right about not telling the truth.”

“You don’t believe we should have done what we did?”

And that was it. Realising, he smiled. “I didn’t say *that*. I don’t like lying to General Hammond or Dr Fraiser, but...ultimately, I think we did the right thing. Colonel O’Neill is very protective of Major Carter.” “Indeed,”

“I think it’ll have less of an effect on the way the team functions...” He paused, frowning. Maybe he *did* know more about their relationship than even he realised, and just hadn’t noticed yet.

“...if it were not you or I?” Teal’c concluded.

Jonas shrugged. “Yeah.”

Teal’c’s subtle smile slid into place. “You are progressing well, Jonas Quinn. I require refreshment. Would you care to join me?”

“Sure,” He could use a drink, and more time to do some thinking.

Pleased, Teal’c turned towards the isolation room door, and slid the hatch shut.




Ignoring them, he rolled over, burying his head deeper into the softness. They weren't near him. They weren't a threat.



He groaned, wanting to be left alone. He pulled his body tighter together, trying to hide. Maybe if he disappeared, they'd go away.


Strong, loud, commanding voice. He didn't know what it was saying, but he did know that he used to pay attention to it.

He didn't now; pulling his arms up to cover his ears.

"We require your assistance with Major Carter."

The arms lowered, his body moving until he was half sitting, remembering...something.



Yellow, blue, brightness.

Pushing himself away from the softness he moved down onto the hardness; then he was at what separated them, knowing she was on the other side.



His head jerked. *Her*! That was *her*! She knew he was there. He called back, pounding against what separated them.


"Gentlemen, we have no choice. He's going to hurt himself. The sedative hasn't been particularly effective on Major Carter, so I won't expect it to very effective on him either. We just need him to slow down for a few minutes until we can get them in the same room together."

Had to get through, he had to get through...she called to him again, causing him to hit harder.

"Of course, Doctor Fraiser."

"Teal' careful. He was incredibly violent last time."

"I remember,"

"Ready? And...move!"

Loud noise. Metal, scraping, footsteps, smell:


A female, but not *Her*.

He growled, backing up towards what separated them, trying to protect *Her* even through that. They had to stay away from *Her*.

The biggest one moved, grabbing him, but he fought back - howling, kicking, biting - and then the pain. Brief, deep, before leaving.

Big One let him go and he tried to swipe back, but he was already feeling heavy, awkward, not himself. Sighing heavily he collapsed onto his front.

The others in red grabbed him, dragging him away from what separated them. Trying to fight against them he only managed a whine. Where were they taking him? What were they going to do? Where was she?

Take him back, they had to take him back...

"Careful, you got him?"

More metal; loud, echoing.

A scent. *Her*.

His head moved, trying to rid itself of the fog.

"Easy, Sam. Take it easy. We're just bringing him in; that's all. We're not doing anything to either of you."

Lowered onto the hardness again, he was released.


"Woah, Sam!"

"Dr Fraiser, I recommend we depart-"

"To hell with 'departing' - let's get out of here!"

The metal moved. Face, body, legs pressed against the hardness, he tried to shift.

Something touched his head.


She poked at him: annoyed, curious, worried. Her hand came near his face and he tried to breathe on it, tried to show that he was alive.

She grabbed him, grunting, pulling him onto his back.

Feeling the sleepiness start to lift, he stared up at her, muttering.

Yellow, blue, brightness.

Her head lowered, pushing against his hand as it lay across his chest.

Feeling able to move it, he let it fall down.

She pushed it back up.

He let it fall down.

She pushed it back up.

He let it fall down.

Amused, she snorted, starting to play with his entire arm. Again, she would push it to somewhere, and he'd let it fall back.

"This is fascinating."

"What is, Doctor?"

"Their behaviour, sir. It didn't really occur to me before but...they seem to be acting more like animals than anything else. Not early humans."

"I'm sure I remembering your initial report comparing Major Carter's behaviour to that of a any case, it's not like you really have any basis for comparison for early humans, right Doctor Fraiser?"

"True, Jonas. There were some similarities, but nothing quite like this. And...we can make educated guesses following certain discoveries, but no; no one alive has actually seen the way an earlier form of man - or woman - reacts."

By now he was starting to feel his strength returning, and really was enjoying their game. She was too, simple pleasure obvious on her face.

It was the next time she lifted her hand to push his arm...that he moved. Still foggy, he reached his goal, grabbing her as they tumbled together across the hardness.

She shrieked her approval, willingly tumbling with him. Twisting and pulling and gasping and laughing and teasing-

Until they hit what had separated them.

She was on top of him, looking down, and had stopped smiling.

"Uh, know, I think we should give them a little privacy."

"I concur, Jonas Quinn."

"Agreed. Doctor? If you wouldn't mind doing the honours?"

"Of course sir."


He stared up at her - yellow, blue, brightness. He wanted...needed...but there was still some part of him that *wasn't* him. That was who he used to be. That didn't want to hurt her, or do anything that might *ever* hurt her. He thought she knew that. He thought she was looking at him because she knew that.

And then her head moved, lowering to his neck, sniffing, licking, tasting.

His hand reached out and hit the wall.

Wanted, needed to protect her...couldn't risk...

She shifted, settling lower on his body.

He moaned.

Wrong. Wrong. He knew right and he knew wrong and this was-

She moved back towards his face, tasting his lips, and the last part of him that *wasn't* him fled completely.

He acted, pushing them away from what had separated them, rolling in a tangle of limbs; touching, growling, not thinking, biting, breathing, pulling, becoming entirely what he was supposed to be.




Shivering, rolled onto his side, feeling the hardness beneath and wanting to pull her closer.

She wasn't there.

Confused, he opened his eyes, wincing as they adjusted to light - and realised why he was cold.

He wasn't wearing anything.

Placing a hand on the, no, on the *floor*...for stability, he pushed his body up until sitting. Wasn't entirely sure what'd happened, but knew she was supposed to be there.

Every part of his body ached. As he studied his nakedness, he studied the evidence; bruises, scratches, nail marks...

It came back to him.


A noise from behind: a sigh, a gasp, maybe sob. He turned to see her hiding in the corner, leaning against wall, trying to conceal body.

He moved towards, crawling over clothes, trying not to groan. He knew he'd have to deal with what had happened in this place, but not yet. Later. When he was all better. He was starting to think better, but not quite yet the way he was.

She had been not her for a long time. Confusion, fear, what was happening? She managed to pull away even though there was nowhere to go, as he reached for her.

His hand hovered, slightly away.

She knew it was wrong. She knew that.

His hand moved, not letting her escape, touching shoulder. She struggled but he only held tighter, willing her calm.

And then it happened.

"Let meeee..."

He was as surprised as she was.

She stilled, eyes huge, as she met his gaze.

He couldn't say more, didn't know how he'd said that, but he tried to silently express what he was thinking: was helping you, was curing you, had to bring you back. Would have done anything to bring you back.

Didn't relax, but didn't object when he shifted closer, either.

He tugged at her arms, pulling towards him. Still quiet but mostly curious now she relented, moving until they were...holding?

She squeezed tighter. He remembered.


Right hand moved; first rubbing her back that he knew she liked, then up to play with her hair. Yellow. Yellow. Blonde. Beautiful.

Sighing against him, finally relaxing, her hand found its way to top of his thigh, exploring.

He liked that. He liked that *too* much.

Her forehead was smaller as she lifted her head to smile at something.

He knew what it was. Concentrating, he tried to form the word - because it would make her laugh. "Ssssside...aaarrrm."

She giggled.


"Well," Dr Fraiser declared, softly closing the hatch and turning towards him. "There's no way to know for sure just yet, but I think it's worked."

Jonas smiled. It'd all been worth it! "That's great! But we're not taking them out yet?" He had no idea how this was going to work. At the moment it was just the two of them. General Hammond was in his office, and Teal’c was in the gym, doing his daily training.

"Uh, no," She smiled - a huge, almost evil grin. "I think we'll wait a little longer before separating them. Just in case."

"Oh..." Realising, Jonas hesitated. "Were they, um...?"

"They're in the corner, cuddling."

Jonas tried to envision the Colonel cuddling anything. He liked to think that he had a decent imagination, but he was seriously having trouble with that one. "Cuddling?" But thinking about it... "That's kind of sweet."

Rolling her eyes - though he could tell she didn't really mean it - she folded her arms across her chest and leant back against the door. "Jonas, you'd think it was sweet if General Hammond and Teal'c were in there cuddling."

So? "Are you saying that's a bad thing?"

"Not necessarily," She conceded, still smiling. "My point is that you have a soft spot a mile wide."

'Soft spot'? Even after all these months, there were still some terms he was having trouble with. "And is *that* a bad thing?"

"Not really," She conceded again. "I guess I'm just not used to anyone around here really expressing what they're feeling."

Taking it as a compliment he shrugged as he pondered her words. "Maybe it's because they're're all military people. You know, working in that kind of environment..."

"It's a possibility," Her gaze became contemplative, internal. Her smile more self-satisfied. "But Jonas, I've known some *very* passionate military peop..." The Doctor's words trailed off as if she really hadn't meant to mention that, and she was suddenly aware of her surroundings again. "Uh, never mind."

Most definitely intrigued, he decided he'd try and bring that subject up again in the future. Right now he had something else to ask. They really hadn't spent that much time alone together, and he found he was enjoying her company. Mimicking her pose, he crossed his arms over his chest; the only difference being that he leant his right arm against the wall, not his back. "Can I ask you something?"

She was looking away from him. "Sure."

"When you first realised what had to be...done, in order to help Sam, you weren't very happy - for obvious reasons. But now you're...well you're smiling a lot." He shook his head, wondering if it sounded a little crazy. "Why the sudden change?"

The smile was back, as she looked at the ground. "Let's just say I'm as happy as I can be considering the circumstances. And I'm pleased that it wasn't you who had to go through with it." As she continued to speak, she lifted and turned her head until she was looking at him, both eyebrows arched in silent accusation.

Stunned, his humour dissipated. She knew! Not everything, but certainly about who’d been chosen. "How did you-?"

"You really should be more careful about where you dispose of your trash,"

Confused, he began searching through his various pant pockets. He was sure he'd shoved the piece of paper into one of those...

She was holding it in her hand.

"It fell out of your pocket earlier. I guess the group tussle with the Colonel earlier must have forced it out."

Taking it from her outstretched hand, he opened it, staring at the familiar black 'X'. "Guess I should get rid of this."

Her voice was warm. "That would be a good idea."

"You're not angry?" He asked suddenly, completely unintended.

"At what? That Teal'c decided you wouldn't be the best choice? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out. Teal'c was just being...Teal'c. And as for you not speaking up?" A smile, a shrug. "I can't say I blame you, Jonas. We *are* essentially animals." She glanced deliberately at the door she was leaning against. "And as animals, we all have a sense of self-preservation."


She jumped as the door shook, then quickly stepped away.

Jonas didn't need *any* help there. "That's not so sweet."

Chuckling, she began walking away from the isolation rooms. "Well, I'm getting something to eat before collapsing in the infirmary." She *did* look very tired. "You coming?"

Staying in the corridor listening to the sounds of what was going on in the room, or eating with Dr Fraiser...


"I'd love to," He replied, jogging the few steps until he caught up with her. "So...for what particular reason are you glad that it wasn't me?"

Her hands had moved into the pockets of her white jacket now. "Well, there are a couple of reasons. One of them being...extremely complicated."

Complicated again. "Teal'c said something about that earlier."

"Makes sense," She acknowledged. "He was there. And even if he wasn't there, he'd have known anyway."

"Known what?"


He was alone again.

He knew instinctively before he fully reached consciousness, before he became aware of his surroundings, his body, and who he was; he knew that she was gone.

He was alone again.

As his mind continued to wake up, so did his body. The pain he remembered from earlier was still there, but masked; almost muted. Under control.

He began to take in further sensations. Comfort, covers, the feel of clothing pushing against his skin. The familiar hum of a particular room. He knew exactly where he was.

Jack opened his eyes.


Carter's voice.


Fraiser, distracted.

"He's awake."

As he was trying to rub the sleep out of his eyes, those loud footsteps echoed through the infirmary, and suddenly she was there with a penlight in her hand. For once, he didn't object.

"How are you feeling?" She queried; part doctor, part friend.

Did she want the truth? He spoke, and it wasn't a challenge this time. "Normal." His thoughts seemed to be his; his body didn't feel like it was sprouting any unnecessary hair; a quick grope of his forehead confirmed no bumps. He felt...normal.

It occurred to him that somebody must have taken his naked body out of that room to put him in the bed. He didn't really feel embarrassed about it; it was hardly his fault he got infected, and he felt that - given his age - his body wasn't in *that* bad condition.

"That's good," Her penlight flicked off, and his wincing stopped.

Blinking away the bright spots in his eyes, he tilted his head to the left. Carter was three beds over - was that intentional, to be that far away? - and was facing away from him. How had she known he was awake? Had she been watching him, and then moved? Had she just *known*?

"How is she?" Jack asked, which may have seemed like a stupid question. He'd heard her speak - he *knew* she was back to being Carter. That wasn't what he was asking.

Fraiser's gaze lowered, briefly, before she smiled and looked back up. "Both you and Major Carter are going to be fine, Colonel." Then, as if she really had been talking about their physical condition, she cheerfully pressed on. "It worked. You're both free of the microbe."

It wasn't exactly startling news - functioning speech and not dragging his knuckles across the floor was a bit of a give away - but it was good to hear anyway. Kind of. He was just worried that this may have totally screwed things up. "Great."

"Doctor, do you have a minute?"

Fraiser's head moved towards the direction of a person Jack couldn't be bothered to look at.

"Of course, Mandy, I'll be right there." Focusing her attention back on Jack, she briefly touched his arm. "Stay here and *rest*. I'm not releasing you yet."

"For once, you'll get no argument from me." He was exhausted.

"Good. I shouldn't be too long." With a final smile she moved away, and as he listened to the footsteps departing, he realised she'd left the infirmary altogether.

It was just him and Carter. Carter and him.

The silence grew.

Wasn't there supposed to be a nurse in here at all times or-?

"Janet gave me the morning after pill."

His mind, which had been resuming normal operations, crashed briefly. Had his head been a computer, he imagined a blue screen with the words 'a fatal operation has occurred' would be blinking on it. That was about as much information as he ever got out of the computer he was supposed to use on a daily basis.

Morning after. He hadn't even *considered*...but then, he hadn't really been in the right mind to consider...and if he hadn't been infected, and Teal'c had been the one who'd had to...his friend would have used protection. Of course, there was nothing to say that a Jaffa would be able to get anyone from Earth pregnant anyw...

He had to stop this. He had to stop running. "Good. That's good." Damn, that was lame, even if it was the truth. A kid would seriously screw the both of them up even further at the moment.


At least she agreed.

Jack knew they had to talk about this. Not *talk* talk...but get just a little closer to the edge of the issue they usually avoided entirely. This was too big to ignore, but he just wasn't used to discussing...stuff...

Enough procrastinating. He just had to do it. Now.

"It wasn't us." It was almost a relief when the words came out.

"I know."

"Those people...that wasn't us."

She was nodding; he wasn't looking at her, but she was nodding. "I know."

He wasn't expecting her to say much. There was no need for apologies despite the guilt he was feeling, and thank you’s were even less necessary. It'd just been a matter of necessity. Once he'd been infected, he'd needed her as much as she'd needed him.

And he knew it was him that Cave Carter’d wanted. He played it down, tried to ignore it, but he knew it was true. Just as he knew that he'd needed her long before he'd become infected - it just depended what level of denial his brain was in at any particular moment whether he admitted it or not.

But that was the thing they didn't talk about. Even now.

"Are we..." He cleared his throat, trying to come up with something that wasn't a cliché and failing spectacularly. "I mean, is this...?"

"We're gonna be fine, sir."

Her words finally made him move his neck, until he was looking towards her. She'd moved; by now she was sitting up in bed, staring down at her hands - miles away from the woman who'd cried out for him, pounding against the wall...


Forcing herself to turn her head, she met his gaze. "We're both adults. Neither of us is inexperienced."

True, but... "So you'll have no trouble putting it behind you?" He didn't mean to question her professionalism, or her capabilities. It was just...though the whole experience had been disjointed, almost not real, he knew he'd always remember.

"Depends on your definition of 'putting it behind you'." She shrugged, smiling for the first time since he'd woken up. "I won't forget what happened; it'll simply be another part of my life. I can't hide from it."

And he understood: it was a part of who they were now. Just as the confession forced out by that damn machine two years ago was a part of who they were. Just as everything that had and hadn't happened while they were Jonah and Thera was a part of who they were.

It was merely something new that added to the sum of their parts. Another piece of a very complicated puzzle.

He had nothing else he could offer to the conversation, nothing else he was ready to say. So, when all else failed - and as corny as this was - he came back to something he'd grown to rely on: her grin. "You're a wise woman."

It appeared, briefly. He didn't expect it to stay for long considering recent circumstances; he was just pleased that it turned up at all.

And as they continued talking of nothing, teasing, forcing smiles, and awkwardly trying to get back to whatever 'normal' was for them, Jack could only hope that, one day, the last piece of the puzzle would slide into place.




Teal'c had commented in the past that 'the underground communication network of the SGC is quite formidable'. In other words - gossip flew around here faster than a Goa'uld cargo ship.

Jonas had just experienced his first taste of it.

Though - thankfully - no one actually knew the reason why Sam and Colonel O'Neill were recovering in the infirmary, news had reached even Teal'c and Jonas of the fact that there were now both awake, even though the Colonel himself had apparently only 'just woken up'.

As theories, suppositions and wild ideas (some of them frighteningly close to the truth) buzzed throughout the commissary, Jonas and Teal'c overheard and tried to ignore many of them, before leaving to check on their team mates.

As they left the elevator on level twenty-one, Jonas broke the comfortable silence. As per usual, he'd been thinking again. "How do you think they're doing?"

Teal'c glanced towards him. "There is little point in contemplating that question. We will see for ourselves shortly exactly 'how they're doing'."

"That wasn't what I meant."

"I am aware, Jonas Quinn," He replied, knowing that wasn't an answer. "Do you believe it would have been easier on either one of them if it had been you or I who had gone through with it?"

Jonas didn't know. His talk with Dr Fraiser earlier had been interesting and enjoyable, but when he'd asked her about what Teal'c had 'known', she'd closed up, claiming she hadn't meant anything at all. Teal'c himself was proving similarly clam-like on the subject. Still, Jonas wasn't stupid. All the avoidance, and 'complications', and the uncomfortable looks...though he'd never seen any direct evidence, he thought he knew what was going on.

And he didn't care what Dr Fraiser thought...okay, so *that* wasn't true...

Regardless, he really did think it was sweet. The Colonel was so brusque with everyone, that the very idea that he may have had feelings for someone made him seem more...human.

He chuckled to himself at the irony. "Probably not. I guess I should just be relieved that we don't have to find out." As he spoke, he couldn't help but remember Dr Fraiser expressing much the same sentiment earlier - so was surprised when he realised she was standing at the side of the corridor they were using. "Dr Fraiser,"

She looked up, her head having been lowered, lost in thought. "Jonas."

"Dr Fraiser." Teal'c greeted.


"We have come visit Colonel O'Neill and Major Carter."

Understanding, she nodded, though didn't grant them entrance - her look alone blocking the path to the infirmary. *No* one got in while she was outside of it without her permission. "Just give it a few minutes before you go in, huh? I think it'd be best if no one interrupted them for a little while."

Jonas was intrigued. "'Interrupted?'"

"They're talking," She told him, watching as he stopped walking until he was standing next to her.

That made sense. Given what had happened, they would need to discuss it. "Do *you* think they're going to be all right?"

She sighed, shrugging. "I'm optimistic - they *are* both adults, after all," She paused, a grin forming as she obviously thought of the Colonel. "Well, most of the time. But even so, it's going to be a tense situation."

Especially given the fact that there may have been feelings between them, and that... "He is her commanding officer."

"It's not just to do with the regulations, Jonas. Let me put it another way:" The Doctor hesitated briefly before thinking of an appropriate example. "How would you feel in their position?"

"Me?" He risked a glance towards Teal'c. He hadn't told him about Dr Fraiser knowing the truth, and he wasn't sure he wanted to.

"Yes. Say for example that it wasn't Sam and Colonel O'Neill in there, but instead you and any woman you were just friends with - irrespective of your professional relationship with her."

Teal'c nodded. "Such as yourself, Dr Fraiser."

Her argument lost a little of its force; her cheeks gained a little more of their colour. "Uh, sure. That's a fair example. Let's say it was you and me in there at the moment, Jonas. Wouldn't it be awkward?"

He didn't know how to answer that. He didn't know how to say anything that wouldn't give away the frankly enjoyable images dancing inside his head at that moment. And suddenly he knew: "Maybe...but we're not complicated, are we?" Part of him couldn't believe he'd said it - he still barely knew her. Sure, it *could* sound innocent enough, but...

"No," She replied, overcoming her own surprise, and holding his gaze. "We're not."

She moved them on a few minutes later, finally allowing access to the infirmary and their embarrassed friends. As he watched her walk ahead, wondering exactly what had just happened, Teal'c quietly brushed by him.

"You are learning, Jonas Quinn."


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