Memory of...
by Suz

Disclaimer - MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them

Spoilers for 'Divide and Conquer', 'Window of Opportunity' and 'Entity'. An 'Entity' episode addition.

Use of {} indicate memories.

Special thanks to the SWDC, especially Anna who - which I only realised after this was written - thought up this idea long before I did :)


Darkness slipped unnoticed into light. She remained there, in the state of unknowing, for quite some time. Until something pulled her towards reality.


Rhythmic, healthy beeping.

Her eyelids lifted. The lights had been dimmed, but even so she winced against the intrusion, immediately closing her eyes again.

Rhythmic, healthy beeping.

Licking her lips, she formed a word. "Janet?" Was that really her voice? It sounded odd.

Loud, quick, familiar footsteps made their way towards her and she opened her eyes again, knowing what to expect.

Janet was by her side, smiling. "Hey. How are you feeling?"

She blinked heavily and winced again as the doctor used her penlight to check her eyes. "Aside from a headache?"

"I'm not surprised," Janet responded warmly, her smile reassuring as she clicked off the penlight and placed it back in her pocket. "With all the activity going on in your brain lately, I'd say you got off lightly."

Sure. A headache in exchange for being able to exist in your own body? That sounded fair.

"It'll go away," Janet informed her, touching her arm lightly.


She had to get used to that again.

Her friend spoke. "Do you remember what happened?"

{She didn't know how it happened, but somehow she was here. She was right here. In that place she used so often but could never interact with. Not in this way. Dammit...what was its name? Was her mind going already?}

{She giggled, or at least she would have if she'd been able. She'd better hope her mind wasn't going.}

{Her mind was all she was.}

Rhythmic, healthy beeping.

"Some of it."


If there'd been a course entitled 'Self-flagellation; Ten Ways To Call Yourself An Ass', Jack decided he would have passed with distinction. He'd been in the briefing for the past fifteen minutes, but hadn't spent more than ten seconds actually paying attention to it.

In one of those rare moments when he was paying attention, he kinda realised how worrying it was that he was managing to barely participate and nobody noticed. Or maybe he was always like this in briefings.

As it was, he was spending most of his time calling himself all the names under the sun. And not just their sun; every sun he'd even seen on every planet he'd ever been on was pulled in for duty. Oh, you had to be the one closest behind her, didn't you? You had to be the one who shot her, didn't you?

You had to prove that you could do it.

He wasn't that big an idiot. He'd heard the stories he wasn't supposed to hear, the opinions people decided to share with each other just after he'd walked by. And he had to prove them wrong, didn't he?

And he did. Too damn well.

Guilt. Big, big guilt. Huge, honkin', nightmare inducing guilt.

Not that it was a surprise. Hell, he knew that if he'd been forced to shoot any member of his team he'd be seriously feeling the guilt, but this...this was something else. Not just because he cared about her 'more than he should' (a phrase that was going to haunt him for the rest of life), but because more than anything he was trying not to face that other emotion.


Absolute, all-encompassing relief. The kind that made you want to get down on your (damaged) knees and thank a God that you had long since stopped believing in.

*That* was what was worrying him. *That* was what he was trying not to think about.

Huh. Not doing too good a job of that, are you Jack?

The phone in Hammond's office rang. Everyone in the briefing room stared at it.

Hammond himself stood up and calmly walked to his office, his expression conveying that he was well aware that everyone - particularly one Colonel Jack O'Neill - was staring at him, eager to know the details of the phone call.

Which was putting it mildly. Jack drummed his fingers on his desk, hummed a little tune in his head, and tensed up his legs, quite prepared to go into flight at a moment's notice.

Hammond hung up the phone and returned to the briefing room. "She's awake."

Jack was out of the room before he'd finished the first word.


After setting a land speed record to get there, he naturally stopped just short of entering the infirmary. After all...he had shot her. With a zat gun. Twice. She might not be too happy to see him.

Then again...she was Carter. She was smart. She was military. She'd probably understand better than any other member of SG-1 why he had to do what he had to do.


Damn. Had he really been standing here so long that Daniel and the others had time to catch up with him?

"You okay?"

Well, let's see. I shot and effectively killed the most important person in my life, and now that she's miraculously resurrected I'm just wondering if she'll be thrilled to see me. "Sure," He nodded. "Just waiting for you guys." It was a bad lie and they all knew it. "Let's go."


The guys arrived. There were lots of friendly "Good to see you back on your feet...uh, back" male macho comments from O'Neill, and true sentiments from both Daniel and Teal'c.

Had she been more alert, she probably would have realised how telling that was.

The Colonel's nervousness eventually got the better of him and after Daniel and Teal'c left, he remained behind. "How are you feeling? Really?"

She understood. He didn't want the troops to see his concern. "Fine sir, really. I do have a headache - which is more than understandable - but other than that I feel fine."

"Huh." He clearly didn't believe her.

She wasn't lying. She *did* feel fine.


Mentally was a bit of mixed bag. Mainly because when she tried to remember what happened-

{It was strange. She couldn't feel anything, couldn't see anything, couldn't hear anything, but somehow she was able to move. She was able to move and end up at new destinations in this place, and when she reached those destinations she knew the information that was there. Something else she couldn't explain. If she couldn't see or hear, how could she know what was there?}

That would happen. A memory, a feeling of being compressed, of being so much less significant that she believed herself to be. She didn't consider herself an ego-driven person, but this had shrunken her.

What frustrated her more than anything else was that she had no idea what that meant.

"When are you coming back to work?" He wasn't rushing her; it was simply a question.

"Janet wants me to ease back into things, just to be on the safe side."

"She's always on the safe side."

Sam smiled. "She'd like me to do light work and not go off-world for at least a week, but you should probably talk to her about it yourself."

O'Neill nodded, sighing. "Yeah. I guess we'll find a way to manage without you."

There was the appropriate level of sarcasm in his voice to indicate he was making fun of her, but...there was a little glimmer of something, a tiny sign that perhaps - just perhaps - he wasn't joking.


Finally, freedom. The next day Janet had relented and released her from the infirmary, but as the doctor was still concerned about Sam driving the guys had driven her home. She had to admit that it gave her some measure of satisfaction that these three fully-grown men fussed over her.

Of course, when it started to get irritating she ordered them out of her house.

She indulged in a bubble bath, revelling in the sensations. Wet, warm, liquid, the smell of it popping inside her nose...she'd long ago started taking them for granted. Not anymore.

She shouldn't have taken anything for granted.

The bath finished, she stood in front of the mirror with a towel wrapped around her body. Wiping the steam from the mirror with the palm of her hand, she stared at her reflection.

This is who she was. This is what she looked like.

Picking up the hairbrush she began to pull it through her hair-

{She moved further looking for some way, any way to let them know she was here. From one section to another, searching for an answer, searching for something that would help. Passwords and encryption's held no meaning for her; she didn't even have to negotiate them she just pushed through. She'd felt the connection happen some time ago - although time seemed to have no meaning here - and she had to let them know she was here, had to do something-}

{She found something. It wasn't what she was searching for, but it was something.}

{Something important.}

The hairbrush clattered to the floor.

She stared at the mirror, at the person she was, and remembered.


Dammit, what sadist was banging on his door just as he'd settled in for the night? Groaning, Jack sat up and looked at the clock.


Okay, so it wasn't *that* late.

He glanced at what he was wearing - pyjama bottoms and nothing else. Well, whoever it was would just have to deal with it. It was his house, it was late enough, and he'd just been drifting off to sleep - finally, after days of trying - when some maniac thumped on his door with less finesse than Animal from the Muppet Show.

Wow. He hadn't seen that in years.

Besides, it was pretty damn warm for once. He wasn't gonna sweat it out for anyone.

Negotiating his way through the darkness of his house, he found the lamp next to the front door and switched it on. Turning his head away from the light he blinked a few times as his eyes adjusted. Finding the lock, he turned it and opened the door.

Ah. Okay.

He should have known. The evidence was already there. There weren't many people who would bang on his door late at night. In fact, there were only three he could think of and Teal'c - even at the height of what passed as the Jaffa form of extreme anxiety - would never do anything but knock loudly and calmly.

Not bash around like some idiot on PCP's.

Which left two people. One of who was here right now.

A few things went through his mind; what was she doing here? Was something wrong? Had something happened? Was she all right? Why for the love of God had he opened the door without putting a shirt on first? Why was her hair visibly damp? How was she managing to stare at him accusingly without actually looking annoyed? *Why* was she managing to stare at him accusingly without actually looking annoyed?

Then she spoke.

"You kissed me."

And he understood.


After hurriedly pulling a shirt on he returned to find Carter helping herself to a beer from his fridge. She offered him one and he shook his head.

"You know if Fraiser finds out you're drinking that-"

She looked at him.

"-which she won't..." He finished feebly, before clearing his throat and deciding to cut right to it. "I guess I should apologise."

"For kissing me?" She pulled off the lid and rested her hip against the counter.

He strived to look as comfortable as she did. "Well...yeah."

"Wasn't it good? Didn't I enjoy it?"

He must have done a pretty damn good impression of a goldfish for the next ten seconds. " seemed to."

She took a swig of her beer, swallowing casually. "That's good to know."

Jack was really, really freaked out. "How do you know about it, anyway?" It was a question he'd been ignoring for a while, thinking that he probably didn't want to find out. Still, he did need to know. His curiosity was getting the better of him.

"When I was...inside the mainframe the entity built...when it connected to the SGC computer systems...I saw your personal files somehow. Don't ask me how; I have no idea and I don't even know how I managed to get that message to appear on the screen." She paused, studying him frankly. "You probably shouldn't keep your personal logs on the SGC computer systems. Keep them on an independent computer."

Jack was too busy to take any advice. "You saw my personal files."

"Not all of them. Just...bits and pieces. This was one of the pieces."

Well that'd teach him, wouldn't it? He didn't even know why he'd typed the damn thing up in the first place. Maybe it was simply because on the off chance he lost his memory, he'd have something good to read about.

He snorted to himself.

She paused mid-drink.

He talked. "So...why are you here? Exactly?"

Carter shrugged, and for the first time looked a little uncomfortable. "I'm not sure. Exactly. I find out more about it. Your report said what happened but there were no details."

Great. Details. Details. Okay, he could do details. He owed her that at least. His conscience *had* been bugging him a bit about not telling her. " wanna move somewhere more comfortable?" He nodded towards the chairs and sofas in the adjoining room. "This could take a while." He wasn't a storyteller, either.

"Sure," She nodded and swiftly moved towards a sofa.

He still wondered why her hair was damp.

When she was sitting down, he sat in the chair opposite her and took a breath. "Before I start...can I ask you something?"

Placing her beer on the table between them, she smiled. "Of course."

"Why aren't you angry?" He was probably pushing his luck, but he had to know.

The smile remained for a while. "I don't know, really. When I realised what happened...I did think that I should at the very least be a bit annoyed, but I wasn't. All I did know is that after what happened with the entity, I realised I'd been taking things for granted." She met his gaze. "I won't be doing that anymore."

Jack studied her. Her tone of voice didn't hold the implication that part of him wanted it to, the part that wanted to do the screw the regs thing and live happily ever after with the threat of a court martial hanging over his head. But there was that other part; that part that would be content if they could just acknowledge that there was something without it being forced into the open when there was no other way. If they could just accept it was there, and talk about it.

If he could just have that - and no Anise to boot - he'd be a happy man.

Leaning forward in his chair, he smiled - partly to her, mostly to himself - and began.

"Once upon a time, there was a rascally little boy called Jack. One day Jack got hit by a nasty bolt of energy. There was a blinding flash of light and suddenly he was in the commissary, eating his fruit loops..."


'Personal Log - Colonel J. O'Neill, USAF

The loop wasn't a total waste of time - I got a chance to learn Latin, juggle, throw pottery and generally goof off (for about a week, as far as I can tell). It's a damn good thing none of the others remember anything from the loops - Hammond would have a fit (again) about Teal'c and I using the wormhole as an interstellar driving range and I just love thinking about what Carter would say if she remembered the loop where I resigned and laid one on her in the control room. All in all, things seem to be back to normal. Teal'c and I are none the worse for wear, and I swear it'll be a year before I touch another fruit loop.'

Taken from the Showtime website.

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