Under The Microscope
by Suz suzvoy@tesco.net

Disclaimer - MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them.

Set a while after Poking and Prodding and Penlights and Probing, and not as funny :)

Spoilers for 'Seth'.


Someone was clearing his throat.

She knew who it was, of course. Knew it was *him*. And as she'd been spectacularly good at avoiding him for the last 48 hours, she decided she might as well avoid him for a little big longer - even if it was only the next thirty seconds. "If you can just hang on a minute..." Sam mumbled, thanking some kind of God that wasn't a Goa'uld that she'd already been looking through her microscope when he'd walked in.

Of course, for the life of her she couldn't even remember what she was looking at. Something microscopic, no doubt.

All right. Enough stalling.

She lifted her head. "Sir!" There. That sounded genuine. That sounded...very pleased to see him. Maybe too pleased. Uh oh.

O'Neill did look quite surprised at her enthusiastic greeting. "Uh...hi Carter." He strolled into the lab, looking a little too casual. "What you doing?"

Good. She could talk about that. And thankfully she now remembered exactly what she'd been doing "Our clean up team managed to find some traces of nishta in the debris that hadn't been destroyed. I've been analysing its structure, trying to see exactly how it works."

"Is that your job?"

"Not really, no." She didn't want to admit the real reason for her research.

"Oh. Well. Found out anything we didn't already know?"

"Not yet, sir."

"Ah," Obviously nervous - nervous? - he shoved his hands in his pockets, a movement that was so familiar. "How's your dad? How'd it go with your brother?"

"How did you know about Mark?" Oops. That probably sounded more disrespectful than it should have been. "Sir?"

He didn't seem to notice. "Jacob told me,"


"Yeah. We had a little chat." Oh he definitely looked nervous all right.

"A 'chat'? You and my dad?" That was destined to be a fatal combination.



"Like I said - your brother."

Sam still wasn't relieved. "And that's all?" Why couldn't she leave well enough alone?

He suddenly appeared to have a frog in his throat. "Umm...not...entirely..." Coming to a decision he closed his eyes firmly, opened then again, then met her gaze. "Carter, we need to talk."

She swore. Internally. She didn't insult him by asking what they needed to talk about. "All right."

O'Neill looked relieved that she was so receptive to the idea. Grabbing a spare stool, he pulled it up and sat a few feet away from her. Clearly he'd been giving this some thought.

No big surprise, was it? She'd certainly given it enough thought. Maybe too much.

Which was exactly why she'd been avoiding him.

"See the way I see it," He began, leaning towards her and gesturing emphatically with his hands, "Is that that nishtar stuff didn't take away our restraint, it was more that it left our minds open to suggestion."

Sam nodded enthusiastically. "Yes. That's what dad said, and our behaviour while we were under the influence of the nishta certain follows that rule."

"Right!" He was grinning now. "Which means that we weren't in the least bit responsible for our actions while we were under the influence. Now, as for what happened afterwards..." He cleared his throat. Nervous again. No doubt about it. "Well, that was simply a matter of survival. If we hadn't...continued...Seth no doubt would have killed us, in fact the whole mission could have been blown, in fact our actions probably saved the entire world!"

Okay, *that* was overstating it. By quite a lot. But she wasn't about to argue. She'd agree with almost anything for an escape route. "For the good of Seth's followers. For the good of Earth."

"Exactly. I know things have been...awkward since then, and truth be told I've been trying to avoid you as much as possible. It's just...not something I'm used to. I mean, you're under my command for crying out loud. The very idea is just *wrong*. It's only natural that we'd be thinking about it a lot."

Yes, yes that was the reason! Not because she'd enjoyed it, but because it was *wrong*. That's why she'd been thinking about it so much. That's why she'd been considering a transfer.

"But," He continued. "We need to put this behind us. If this continues eventually it's going to affect the team and I can't let that happen. Neither can you." O'Neill stared at her. "Can we put this behind us? The only other option I can think of is not acceptable."

How the hell did he know what she'd been thinking?

As if he was reading her mind, he smiled. "Carter, you are too valuable for SG-1 to lose. Not only that, but I know how much you love your job. It'd kill you to leave, as much as it'd kill me to see you...um, to leave myself. SG-1 is where we belong. All four of us. It won't be the same with just three."

She was smiling. When had she started smiling? Probably when she'd realised he was right. If any of them left, even though they'd get a new fourth member it wouldn't be the same. It was the four of them as they were that made SG-1 a team. Without all of them they'd be somehow lessened, not as...


They'd be missing a piece of the puzzle.

By all rights they shouldn't even be working together. Teal'c was an alien, formally the second in command to their most dangerous enemy. Daniel was a civilian, a scientist with no military training. In fact, the only two of them who really had a right to work together were her and the colonel.

Yet Hammond kept them together because it worked. Together they were so much more. She wouldn't risk that for anything - not even something she may or may not have been feeling. Some things were bigger than that.

"Yes sir," She nodded, surprised at the tears in her eyes, but not surprised at how right the words felt. "We can do this. We will."

"Good," The worry lines in his forehead evaporated. "And Jacob and your brother?"

Surprised, she blinked her eyes a few times to get rid of the moisture and cleared her throat. "They're doing okay. Not quite a hundred per cent, but they're getting there."

"Glad to hear it," He replied, obviously sincere. He pointed to the microscope. "Now, explain this to me."

Relieved, oh-so-relieved that things were back to the way they were, she looked at the microscope and smiled. "Well sir, this is a called a mic-ro-scope. We use it to look at things that are verrrrry small..."



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