No. 54
by Suz

Disclaimer - MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them.

Episode addition to 'Message In A Bottle', therefore contains spoilers for that episode. Also contains spoilers for 'Children of The Gods'.

Ah, the second season. Such innocence. When they had no idea the effect they had on each other. Remember when he used to call her Sam? Bless.

One of those stories where I let you decide for yourself.




"How are you feeling, Colonel?"

"Fine, doc. Just give me a sec here, will ya? Trying to beat my own record."

No doubt Dr Fraiser rolled her eyes in good humour at his behaviour, but he didn't pay attention. Nothing - not Janet, nor her threat of further medical treatment (possibly involving large, scary looking needles) - was going to distract him.

Sitting in his bed in the infirmary, he grasped the next playing card with his right hand and aimed it towards the bowl resting on the end of his bed.

Fraiser spoke just as he threw. "Very well, Colonel. I'll leave you and your cards alone...for the moment."

It didn't even distract him. Card number fifty - just as the previous forty-nine cards had done - sailed easily into the bowl, resting on top of the others.

The MD's heels clipped away but he was too focused on his goal. He was nearly there. Only a few more to go and he'd have done something he'd wanted to do for as long as he could remember.

Holding the next card he aimed it towards the bowl, bent his wrist back for the appropriate amount of thrust, then propelled it forwar-


Carter's voice.

It didn't even land on the bed. It sped through the air wildly, and almost seemed capable of fighting gravity for a few moments before it fluttered to the floor.

At least, he presumed it was on the floor. He wouldn't know for certain unless he peeked over the side of his bed and Jack really couldn't be bothered. It obviously wasn't about to land in the bowl, and he'd have to start again.

She was standing next to him now, smiling that damn big grin.


"Just thought I'd come by and check up on you. How are you feeling, sir?"

"As well as can be expected for a man who had a metal pole through his shoulder for who knows how long. Not to mention the fact that I was actually dead for a while."

Shrugging, she smiled awkwardly. "Yeah, nearly catching up with Daniel for being dead I suppose."

He nodded, feeling strangely humourless about the whole thing.

Clearing her throat, Sam looked towards the bowl. "So what are you doing, sir?"

"Oh, I'm..." He held up his hand, displaying the two cards he had left. "...seeing how many I can get in the bowl from here."

"Mind if I join you?"

Jack shrugged. Why not? "Sure. Pull up a chair."

Finding a plastic chair she pulled it over next to the side of his bed - wincing as it squeaked against the floor - before grabbing the cards from the bowl and passing them to her superior officer. "Here,"

"Thanks," He responded, taking the cards between his hands and smoothing them together until they formed a neat pile. Taking roughly half of them off, he passed a handful to Sam and kept the rest for himself.

"You know," She told him, settling in her chair. "You've probably got an advantage over me with this. I'm sitting lower down."

"Captain, there's no need to make up excuses for your own inadequacies."

Ooo, if looks could kill...well, she probably would have killed him the day they met, but that wasn't the point. He knew she knew he was joking, but the very implication that she wasn't capable of something wormed its way right under her skin - always had done.

He grinned. He knew damned well how to push her buttons by now.

And even though she knew the very same thing, she still hadn't learnt not to react to it.

She went first. With deceptive calmness she sat back in her chair and casually flicked a card towards the bowl.

It landed with perfection. In fact, it looked as if the damn thing landed exactly in the middle of the bowl, as if she'd done some weird calculation thing to determine precisely where and at what angle the middle of the bowl was.

Jack eyed her dubiously. She wasn't even smiling.

Frowning, he flicked his first card towards the bowl.

It missed.


A grin flicked across her face; brief, but definitely there.

"I'm ill," He told her.

She nodded, as if comprehending, and flicked her next card.

Again, a perfect landing.

She really *was* good at everything.

Jack threw another to no avail. Dammit, he didn't get this! What had gone wrong?

Her voice was lacking smugness as she spoke; in fact all it contained was curiosity. "Not too good as this, are you sir?"

He couldn't explain it. "I...used to be." It was the damndest thing.

He continued throwing, as did she, and at some point they stopped taking turns and ended up throwing them together. On occasion their cards would clash with each other and fall inevitably away from the bowl, at which point Jack would tell her it was her fault his card missed, and she'd grin and let him get away with it.

Finally he was down to one card, and she had none left at all. Looking at the card, he threw it - it missed, obviously - and finally spoke up about something he'd been pondering over since she arrived. "Why are you here? Really?"

Nervousness, confusion, concern; all of them fluttered over her face and he knew he'd been right in suspecting that *something* wasn't quite right.

"I, uh..." Carter lowered her head, looking uncertain.

That couldn't be right. She was always certain about everything.

"I wanted to apologise," She forced out eventually.

Apologise? "What for?" He really had no clue.

Licking her lips, she lifted her head back up and met his gaze. "Teal'c may have been the one to do it, but I gave the order sir. There was no...pulse."


"I killed you, Colonel."

Oh. Oh. Ohhhhhhhhh.

She continued. "And I know it had to be done, and if it hadn't the whole facility probably would have been destroyed, but I just...wanted to apologise."

His immediate response was to open his mouth and tell her it wasn't necessary...but he stopped himself. O'Neill could see enough to know that she needed to do this. Needed to apologise. "Okay...just as long as you know you did the right thing."

That smile returned. "Yes sir, I do. This last year...well, fourteen months I time here as part of SG-1 has been the most amazing time of my life, and not just because we visit different worlds every day." Her grin grew at the look he sent her. "You and the guys are a big part of making this a fun place to work, and I just wanted to let you know that."

Uh, wow. What was he supposed to say to that? "Thank you, Sam. Really. I can say the same..." Oh an *evil* thought popped into his head. "Despite your high and mighty attitude when you swept into the briefing room the first time we met."

Oh yeah. Yep. There she went. Still hadn't learnt.

"*My* high and mighty attitude?"

Janet approached. "Okay people, let's break it up."

Dammit, did she have to turn up now? Just as things were getting interesting? "Do we have to?" He asked in his 'little boy lost' voice.

Janet was too experienced at dealing with him to buy it. "Yes Colonel, 'we' have to. You underwent some rather extraordinary circumstances, and so you are going to sleep. Even if I have to sedate you."

"Glad to see that bedside manner's improved."

"No more than your own behaviour, Colonel. Sam?"

"I'm going, I'm going," She relented, moving from the chair and picking up the cards from around the bed and the floor and placing them in the bowl. Having moved around to the other side of the bed, she handed him the bowl. "There you go sir. Sleep well."

He nodded, even as Janet took the bowl away from him then moved off to look at something else. "Thanks, Captain. Goodnight."

Nodding, she pivoted and intended to move away, when she spotted something on the floor. "Oh here." Picking it up, she handed the card to him. "Must have missed it earlier. 'Night sir."

She left, but Jack didn't watch, instead staring at the card he was holding. It was the only one on that side of the bed; the one that must have fallen there just as she'd entered the infirmary.

He wasn't sure why, but it seemed important.

Janet - in a monument to subtlety - turned down the lights.

Sighing, he shifted lower in the bed and turned away from her, trying to make it look as if he was at least making an effort to sleep. Instead, he held the card close to his face and studied it, frowning.

It was important.

But he didn't know why.


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