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The Last Great Hope

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//Another day another dollar// Jack thought to himself as he strolled out of the locker room, glad to be wearing his blue BDU's instead of the dress attire he abhorred, but knew from time to time he would still have to wear. He glanced at his watch, barely 0600 and gave a soft sigh. "I work for the military, so make that fifty-cents" he muttered to himself, aware of how early it was and how dead the halls seemed as he headed to his office.

After a few quiet good mornings to those he passed, Jack entered his office to begin his day as head of the SGC and plopped behind his desk into his leather chair, feeling the weight of his responsibility as it bore down upon him more this morning than the past few days combined. He shifted and turned and opened one of his side draws, the one with a lock for privacy, and out of all the private and confidential files, he drew out the only blue folder and opened it and gave a soft smile; it was a picture of SG-1 taken a couple of years ago, when they had discovered a real tropical paradise, and General Hammond had allowed the team to stay and 'explore' for an entire week. Sam set up a camera and they all grouped together; Teal'c looking ever the strong silent warrior stood behind just a tad to the left of him, while Sam and Daniel shelved him in the middle, which he didn't mind, as he was then able to provide the needed extras his scientists were sorely missing…rabbit ears! The memory brought a warm smile to his lips and he gently caressed the photo, first Sam, then Daniel…his wonder twins as he thought of them.

Teal'c was the older brother he always wanted growing up, but Sam and Daniel…stars they were so… vibrant, wondrous and beautiful, it was no wonder he fell in love with both of them…who in their right mind wouldn't he had asked himself when he finally realized his feelings. But it wasn't meant to be and he knew it…they did too…finally. //At least one has moved on and found someone worthy,// he mused half-heartedly, thinking of Sam and Pete getting married. That only left Daniel and the stubborn archeologist couldn't be bothered to even date… Jack shook his head, he had told Daniel what he had told Carter, he was too old and too set in his ways and besides some 'fatherly' guidance he had nothing to offer. They deserved someone who could love them whole heartedly and perhaps give them a family. Contrary to what either of the two scientists thought, he knew and truly believed that they would both would make great parents and deserved the chance to have that experience; something he felt would be denied them if they were involved with him, for he had his chance and he blew it. They deserved a fresh start with someone…who could give them what they both truly deserved.

Jack closed the folder, "Then why do I feel so lousy," he muttered (to himself) and placed the photo back He knew it wouldn't look right if he had pictures of his 'old team' out sitting around; folks might think he was playing favorites, which he was, but he didn't have to make it too obvious.

He leaned back in his chair and stifled a yawn. He hadn't slept well, a nightmare from the other night still haunted him; in the dream he 'had' ordered the Prometheus to fire and his team was dead. However, the fiery figures of Sam and more specifically Daniel filled his mind…it was too close to the fake vision of when Nem had trapped Daniel and made them think he burned to death. Jack shook his head and wiped his face and got up He moved to the automatic coffeemaker Daniel gave him as a gift for his promotion…along with his personal instructions as to what kind of coffee to put in it. //Coffee snob// he mused as he smelled the rich aroma of some exotic blend that Daniel had bought for him, dripping automatically into the pot, normally finished by the time he would arrive…but lack of sleep or wanting to, Jack had headed in a early.

Jack took his mug given to him by Carter. It had a picture of a Shark, holding his fins out, and speaking to another Shark, "Honest, he was this big", referring to the human that got away. Jack removed the glass pot and let the brew fill his mug, then placed it back to finish, and walked back to his desk to look over his agenda for the morning.

Subconsciously, he opened another side drawer and pulled out a bottle of over-the- counter painkillers because he'd been sporting a headache. He knew it was just the pressures of the new job, and the last thing he wanted was that he was having medical problems on his record and popped the lid and swallowed down about four, with some coffee. He quickly put the bottle away when he looked up to see Sergeant Davis enter his office surprise on his face to see him in so early; usually Davis arrived before him and got things organized for him so the day ran smoother.

"S…sir," he muttered, not expecting the General for another half hour or so.

"Morning, Walter," Jack greeted him easily. "Just wanted to get a jump on things," he answered, seeing the question of him being there so early on his face. Jack looked down at his desk calendar and the abbreviations he used to mark certain events. He still wondered how George kept it all straight. "I believe SG-9 is due in a hour for a briefing for their mission to PX-733-44 for the Nalotion negotiations, then SG 3, 7, 10-14 are due out on basic reconnaissance and so on and so forth and Major Davis is due here for another budget chat," he smirked, for he liked Paul Davis, but hated the reason the man came to visit…Pentagon bullshit.

"Err…Lieutenant Colonel…" Walter stated as he shifted some files about on Jack's desk and handed him a few others.

Jack smirked, "No…General," he pointed to his nameplate.

Looking suddenly like a deer in headlights, Walter stared, and then gave a slight smile, "Err…no sir, I mean, Lieutenant Colonel Davis…"

"Davis got promoted…when," he asked, for though he believed the man was way over due, he hadn't heard about it…not that he was trying to keep up on Davis, though in a way, he did feel that Paul had made himself part of the SGC over the years, in a way.

"I think he was promoted the other day, just as I received confirmation of his arrival for this afternoon, sir," Walter stated easily, though still professionally.

"That's great," Jack smiled, "make sure we have something nice for lunch and a little something after the meeting to celebrate," he grinned. "Not every day a man or woman makes colonel."

"Yes, sir," Walter nodded, not surprised by the General wanting to do something nice, as that was just how Jack O'Neill was…Once you got passed the Hard-Ass-Military-Man, that was. He started for the door, when he heard his name being called. "Yes, sir?"

"What are all these personnel files on my desk for, I did the evaluations already. It can't be that time already," he complained slightly, for Generals didn't whine.

Walter resisted the urge to roll his eyes, "No sir, they are the files you requested in regard to choosing your 'personal' staff," he informed the General, hoping the man would choose soon as he truly wanted to go back to being just a plain simple gate controller again, especially under the eccentric Brigadier General O'Neill.

"What, tired of the job already," Jack teased as he looked at the twelve files before him.

"Ah…no sir, of course not," he lied, hoping it didn't show.

"Great, for I don't think I could spare you," Jack stated, looking at his desk, quiet aware how Walter felt and was going to make the man sweat it out.

"Ah…thank you….sir," Walter stuttered and left, praying the man was not serious.

Jack laughed, for he knew Walter was a good man, but he also knew he was…well as Daniel said…not normal. //Hell, after all these years at the SGC…who in Netu is// he wondered and started opening files. He had a general idea of what he was looking for; the question was if they could handle him?

**************

By late afternoon, SG-1 along with newly promoted Lieutenant Colonel Davis and General O'Neill, were sitting around the briefing room, which had been used for the last minute 'surprise' party for Paul. The cake was seventy-five percent gone and everyone sipping coffee and sharing stories and laughing.

"I'm really glad to see you finally got promoted, though to be honest, I thought you'd get it before me…" Sam stated, and then blushed a bit. "I mean you were overdue for a promotion when we first met, if you as me," she chuckled honestly

"Actually, I'm surprised I got it this soon," Paul told her honestly. "Compared to what you guys do I feel that my job is largely political."

"Hey, don't go selling yourself short Davis," Jack interjected. "You've saved our bacon in many other ways that in the long run are 'just' as important," he added warmly.

"Yeah, Paul," Daniel agreed. "It takes just as much courage, if not a bit more to stand up to politicians as it does System Lords," he smirked.

"I don't know about you, but I'd rather face a System Lord than Kinsey…" Jack quipped, then shivered, so glad that man was no longer a major player in their lives. After President Hayes had gathered enough evidence, he’d made Kinsey retire although it was a pity he couldn't throw the book at him. However, Jack was content that the man was out of politics because public exposure of his crimes would have been bad for the country.

"Indeed," Teal'c added, getting a few chuckles from everyone.

Daniel was listening to Sam and Paul exchange stories about how nervous they were about their swearing in, and saw Jack getting up to get more coffee, and sway a bit on his feet. Not wanting to bring any attention to it, should it be nothing, but not wanting to ignore it he casually got up and joined Jack. He noticed that Jack had one hand on the small table holding the coffee, and his eyes closed. "Jack…" he asked, feeling more concerned than before.

Jack opened his eyes, a mixture of relief to see Daniel standing there beside him and annoyance at himself for it being necessary. "I didn’t sleep much last night," he stated, for it was the truth. "Plus I have a minor headache, it’s nothing, honest," he added feeling that too was the truth.

Daniel was skeptical and placed a hand on Jack's shoulder, "If you're sure," he said, his eyes showing that he was there for Jack if he was needed.

Before Jack could reassure him that that was all there was to it, one of the SF's came into the room in a hurry. "Sir, your presence is required in the control room immediately," the man stated and saluted. He waited to escort Jack there, which of course meant that the others followed wondering what the emergency was.

It didn't take them long to arrive. From the bustle of human activity, Jack knew that it wasn't good. "Whatcha' ya’ got, Sergeant," he asked as he braced himself for the news, though by the lack of gate activity, however, indicated that it couldn't have been an emergency with one of the off-world teams, which in itself was a relief.

"Sir," Walter Davis stated, verifying his information before turning to the General; then he noticed Colonel Carter taking the seat next to him. "NASA long range satellite systems are reporting incoming ships at the edge of our solar system and heading our way."

Jack knew that if the upgraded technology from their various missions and the woman whose fingers now danced across the SGC keyboard had not developed the advance warnings systems that provided their current information, they would not be getting even this much warning. "Prometheus?" he asked, knowing that the ship was not always in orbit as it was still in need of upgrades and adjustments because it was their first spaceship.

"It’s being launched now," Walter announced.

"Crap," Daniel hissed at the long-range image their new satellite system was showing them. "It's Baa'l," he clarified for everyone in the room.

Jack froze a bit inside at the sound of that name. The nightmare was nowhere as bad as it could have been if it had not been for an ascended Daniel, but he still needed to refocus. "Carter?"

"Our long range system is still rather new," she stated, her fingers still dancing a mile a minute.

"Carter?" he barked out a question, knowing the woman understood what he wanted and excuses were not it.

"Sorry, sir," she stated, her face never leaving the screen. "Detecting five mother ships…"

"Double crap," Daniel growled.

"Such language," Jack lightly admonished, looking at his linguist and best friend.

"You don't understand, Jack…"

Jack raised a brow in Teal'c fashion, "I don't?"

"Ah, I mean…while you were still…" he gestured as if that would be enough for Jack to understand, but seeing it wasn't, he pressed on. "Remember I told you about the meeting between the System Lords?" Seeing Jack nod, he continued, "Well, they said that if they didn't get our help, they would see to it that it was 'brought' to Baa'l's attention' that our 'weapon' is down, and would probably send Baa'l here to…"

“Check it out for himself…" Jack finished for his friend, and then looked at the screen. "It seems he is," he sighed with frustration. He looked back at Carter, "How soon?"

"Half an hour, sir. It seems Baa'l is taking some precaution," she stated, looking at the screen, and then turned to look at Jack. "He's only sending two ships ahead…but once here…"

"And they're not blown to bits, he'll know the weapon is not functional and come guns a blazing…great, just…great." He stood there a long moment, then turned to Paul, "Colonel Davis, drop us down to DEFCON ONE and mobilize Plan Alpha. Carter, work with the Prometheus and our air defense to stage a warm welcome…" he added, "I'll be on the phone to the President," he then stated and turned to leave.

"General, the Prometheus can't…" Carter started but stopped at the firm look Jack gave her as he turned around.

"We're not going to sit here and take it, Carter. If we go, we go fighting," he announced seconds before the DEFCON ONE alert sounded in the mountain. "Teal'c, help Davis with those that will be evacuated to the Alpha site," he added, and then headed back to his office.

**************

Twenty minutes later, Jack walked into the control room to see one of the teams pre-selected to go to the Alpha site in just this kind of emergency step through the Gate. Jack subconsciously rubbed his temple, the headache getting worse, but he still needed to focus. "Status," he ordered and casually leaned on the empty chair by one of the consoles, so he could focus on what was being said.

"Teams Alpha 1-7 has already departed, sir," Paul announced.

"Keep them going through the gate until last possible moment," he added, not knowing how long they would have. "Depart with Alpha 10 and oversee…"

"Sir, my place is here," Paul protested.

Jack couldn't help the smile, knowing not too many years ago, a fresh faced kid, in his book, would simply have agreed. Yep, Paul was one of them. "Your place is where I need you most, Davis, and that's at the Alpha Site…Colonel, understood," he stated firmly, but with enough twinkle in his eyes so Paul knew he wasn't angry.

With a nod, Paul agreed, "Yes sir," he said and saluted.

"Carter?"

"Sir, all aircraft have been mobilized and are standing by along with the Prometheus. It appears that Baa'l is targeting North America and Europe…"

"Being they're the biggest land masses" Jack interjected.

"I think more that they have the most energy signatures," Daniel interjected. "People by themselves are nothing to him," he added, to clarify his thoughts.

Jack nodded, wishing he hadn't, his head started to swim. He blinked it away and looked around. "Carter, after the last Alpha team is evacuated, you, Teal'c and Daniel and all non-essential personnel are to go…"

"I'm not going anywhere," Daniel protested.

"Nor am I," Teal'c added.

"And with all due respect, sir, I concur,” Sam stated firmly.

"For crying out loud," Jack snapped. "We've seen what will happen, and we all know that even with the Prometheus, we don't stand a chance."

"I've sent word to our allies including the Asgard, sir," Carter interjected, "as is protocol in this situation, perhaps…"

"I know you have, and they might arrive in time, but they might not. Carter. I'm making it an order. SG-1 and all non-essential personnel are to evacuate to the Alpha site after the Alpha teams! Do I make myself clear?"

Sam saw how serious he was and nodded, "yes, sir." She waited until Jack turned back to his office, the red phone ringing, and then looked at the others.

"He didn't say, we had to be first through the gate during the evacuation," Daniel stated. He noted that the others saw this loophole as well.

"Indeed he did not," Teal'c agreed. "In the meantime, I will continue to assist Colonel Davis and the other teams prepare for departure and assist in the departure of the others," he bowed and left.

"Colonel," Walter exclaimed with some excitement, pointing to the screen.

Teal'c barely to the stairs moved back into the room and along with Daniel looked over the screen that showed the two mother ships about to pull into orbit. "What is that?" Daniel asked, seeing something in the atmosphere that was glowing, but it was small.

"I'm not sure, see if you can get a visual confirmation from the Prometheus," she ordered as she manipulated the screen to get a better look. All eyes locked on the screen, and then they noticed the two objects come screaming out of the atmosphere and headed toward the mother ships.

"Colonel, Colonel Decker of the Prometheus states, that they appear to be the same missiles that attacked Anubis from the Ancient outpost," Walter announced.

"But there are just two of them?" Daniel thought out loud, recalling the dozens that had taken down Anubis.

"That's not possible, with no ZPM, the Ancient outpost is useless, as are the missiles…" Sam automatically replied, though her gaze was still locked on the missiles clearly on the screen before her.

"Look at that," Daniel exclaimed, seeing the two objects separated, one heading to one ship, the other to the next. "It's like they're being guided," he muttered, and watched in amazement as they struck home, each hitting a key location on both ships that would severely damage both ships if not outwardly destroy them, sufficiently disabling them and stopping the attack.

"That's….that's…impossible," Sam kept muttering, but was drowned out by the cheers that filled the control room as the explosion that rocked the two enemy ships filled the screen.

"It would appear not," Teal'c commented a smile on his face to see another Tau’ri miracle.

Sam shook her head, and then keyed up the long-range system, "It seems that Baa'l is convinced that we're not helpless," she smiled, seeing the other ships vanish in a hyperspace burst.

"I guess you can cancel the evacuation…" Daniel started to say, but noticed that Jack wasn't around. Exchanging a quick and concerned look with Sam, he moved off toward Jack's office. The sound of the phone was still ringing. Then Daniel noticed Jack's head on his desk, and he ran the rest of the way. "JACK," he called out knowing in his gut something was wrong. He reached him and shifted his body. He realized that Jack was unconscious and bleeding profoundly from his nose. He picked up the regular phone and hit the direct line to the infirmary, "Medical emergency in General O'Neill's office, hurry," he called out and quickly replaced the phone.

Doing a quick look around and seeing nothing, Daniel, took off his green BDU jacket and used it as a cloth to sop up the blood from Jack's face. He knew that with so much blood loss, he shouldn’t tilt Jack back as though the injury was a regular bloody nose, because Jack was unconscious he could choke. At this point, there was little else he could do, since it was clear this was no ordinary nose bleed with so much blood flowing.

"What happened?" Sam asked. She had heard Daniel scream out Jack's name and came running along with Teal'c.

"I don't know. I found him unconscious, bleeding hard from the nose," Daniel replied, looking past Sam and Teal'c wondering where the hell the medical team was. Deep down he knew they were coming as fast as they could, but this was Jack and he was in trouble.

Teal'c felt the same as the others because of his friendship with O'Neill. He moved to lift Jack into his arms. "We have to keep his head tilted downward, or he could choke on the blood," Daniel advised. Teal'c nodded because he understood and moved with Daniel as to keep the cloth adjusted to sop up the blood while they went to meet the medical team half way. Everyone ignoring the red phone that continued to ring.

Once Jack was transferred over to a gurney, which was adjusted to allow his body to sit up, and given oxygen, the others were left to wait to know the fate of their leader, friend, and for some, love.

***********

"Any word," Paul asked as he joined SG-1 as they paced outside of the infirmary.

"No," Sam replied, trying not to pace as Daniel was.

Paul nodded with understanding. "Colonel Reynolds has been recalled along with SG-3 and I've taken the liberty to inform the president of what our status is…Um…"

"What," Sam asked seeing Paul hesitate, and noticed her comment got Daniel's attention too.

"Seems two Ancient missiles were reported to…suddenly become active and launch…"

"I was right, they were the same," Daniel interjected.

"But that's impossible, there's no ZPM…" Sam looked at Daniel and Paul.

"There was also no one in the chair," Paul added, his eyes indicating he too wondered how it happened. "Although the President is happy to hear that they stopped Baa'l and we have two Mother ships being currently confiscated, he wants answers…"

"OH MY WORD," Daniel gasped. Seeing everyone stare at him he blinked, "do you think there is some connection between them and Jack…"

"How is that possible," Teal'c inquired, but before anyone could reply a gasp and a shout filled the air from the infirmary, sending the team and Davis into motion to investigate.

"WHAT THE HELL," Shouted Doctor Richards, staring at the treatment table that was now empty.

"What happened," demanded Daniel.

"One moment I was treating General O'Neill, the next…he was gone," Richards explained a bit frantic at the sudden loss of her patient.

"There was like a bright light and then whoosh, he was gone," one of the nurses added.

"Asgard," Sam thought out loud.

"Only one way to know for sure," Paul stated, "try and contact them or…"

"Colonel Carter, control room on the line for you," One of the SF's stated having picked up the wall phone during the emergency.

Sam moved quickly to get the phone and listen to what was being said. "I'll be there in a minute, inform Colonel Reynolds as soon as he arrives," she stated and then hung up and looked at the anxious faces around her. "It seems that I was right, the Asgard are in orbit," she smiled softly, feeling relieved that they were looking after the General.

"Is it me, or does it strike anyone as odd how they always know where General O'Neill is?" Paul asked, looking at the others for answers.

Daniel got a strange mischievous smile on his face, "Thor likes Jack," he chuckled then got serious. "I just hope Jack is all right…"

"I guess you'll find out," Paul said to no one in particular as he witnessed SG-1 vanish much like the General was reported to have vanished. He looked at Doctor Richards. "I'll notify Colonel Reynolds," he stated calmly, having seen his fair share of strange events over the years, and left to do so.

**************

The three members of SG-1 looked around to get their bearings until they spotted Thor in his command seat. Daniel took a step toward him. "How's Jack?" he asked, his first and foremost concern showing.

"O'Neill is sleeping and I have stopped the hemorrhaging in his brain," Thor stated in his quiet manner, then blinked his large dark eyes at Daniel. "However…"

"Why did I know there would be a however," Sam groaned, then saw all eyes on her and blushed. "Do you know what happened to him?" she asked, redirecting everyone back on the topic at hand.

"Yes," Thor stated, then looked at the others as if seeing they were ready for his news. "O'Neill is dying."

"WHAT," Daniel shouted in shock.

"How…I mean, our doctors…" Sam started.

"Would not be able to detect the molecular breakdown until its final stages," Thor supplied for them.

"What has caused this break down," Teal'c asked, hoping to provide a voice of reason, being fully aware of how both team members felt about O'Neill.

Though Thor's face had very few expressions, he did appeare to show guilt, "I am afraid it is our fault," he announced.

"What do you mean," Daniel inquired, not believing the Asgard could harm Jack, knowing they held him in such high esteem.

"As I have informed you before, our understanding of the Ancients technology is limited," Thor started to explain.

"The stasis," Daniel interjected, his gut telling him this had to be related somehow.

"You are correct, Daniel Jackson, however, with further study, we were able to determine that the unit was used for more than stasis. In fact, we were able to determine it was a molecular stabilizer…"

"A molecular stabilizer…?" Sam asked not sure what that meant.

"Indeed, Colonel Carter," Thor acknowledged.

"I don't understand, how does this mean Jack is dying," Daniel demanded, worried for his friend who was also the man he loved dearly.

"From what we were able to understand, after each download of the Ancient knowledge, O'Neill's body was…changing in order to accommodate it. Since we both have come to understand, that O'Neill already possessed the Ancient gene that triggers Ancient technology in the first place…"

"Which means had he not been in that room that day we found the first library or with us when we found the second library, nothing would have happened," Daniel added his thoughts for self clarification, having come to understand this during his time at the Ancient Outpost while tracking down Atlantis.

"Correct," Thor nodded. "During the first download, the percentage of his DNA that contained the Ancient gene was too minimal for his body to adapt, thus his instinctive action was to contact us."

"Where you wiped the knowledge to save him," Sam recalled.

"Yes, but what we noticed that even after doing so, a percentage of his DNA remained…altered. Its unique status was noted and thus as we mentioned before, we placed in markers to prevent tampering," Thor continued. "However…"

"The second download made more changes," Daniel concluded.

"Yes. Upon the second download, his body had already been adapted to receive and accept most of the knowledge…though not completely…he would have still died…"

"But he didn't try to get the knowledge out, he…he found us…the outpost," Sam stated, recalling how close they were to losing Jack then.

"That would be due to O'Neill's determination to protect your world," Thor clarified. "Another impressive act on his behalf; to go against the self preservation that would have been foremost in his mind at the time."

"O'Neill is a unique and strong warrior," Teal'c added, as if that was all that was needed to explain it.

"Agreed," Thor nodded. "When your world was safe, O'Neill probably knew that his body was changed enough from the previous download and alteration, that he could use the molecular stabilizer. This would allow the process of change to occur at a slower rate in which his body could adapt…"

"You mean if we left him alone, he would have emerged…a…full…Ancient…" Sam asked in awe.

"Correct," Thor nodded.

Daniel groaned, "But we interrupted that process…I wanted to help…"

"It was not your doing, Daniel Jackson, but mine. I came to Earth seeking O'Neill's assistance hoping to access the Ancient’s knowledge. If it was not for the pressing crisis on my world, we would have studied the unit prior to retrieving O'Neill. No…it was 'my' impatience that has placed O'Neill in this predicament.

"I don't understand, why was taking him out so early a problem, as he doesn't have the knowledge anymore…" Sam asked, trying to figure out what was happening to the General.

"He may no longer possess the Ancient’s knowledge, but his body was in the midst of a molecular change and is continuing to do so. However without the unit, it has no guideline or enough energy to complete the process and will eventually fail, thus resulting in full molecular breakdown," Thor clarified softly.

"Can't you do something," Daniel heard himself demand, and then took a deep breath. "I'm sorry," he apologized.

"No need to apologize, Daniel Jackson, and no…there is not. Only returning him to the unit…"

"We have no ZPM…" Sam interjected.

"We are aware of this," Thor replied. "As we the Asgard are not only at fault but owe O'Neill once more for the saving of our people, we are placing all available personnel into searching out a ZPM for your use. However, it may take time…"

"How long does Jack have," Daniel asked, wrapping his arms around himself, something he hadn't needed to do in quite sometime…thanks to Jack's loving support and friendship over the years.

"Six weeks."

**********

"Six weeks?"

"Yes, General," Sam solemnly replied as all the remaining members of SG-1 along with Paul Davies and Colonel Reynolds sat around the briefing table with Major General George Hammond.

"Thor said that had Jack not…pulled this stunt…" Daniel gestured outwardly, referring to the Ancient missile launch, "We wouldn't have noticed anything until it was too late, but…he would have had more time…"

"It drained him, in other words," Sam added for clarification.

"And the Asgard are sure they can't do anything," Hammond asked, just as concerned for O'Neill as his team and the others around this table.

"They are convinced that only by locating a ZPM and placing O'Neill back into the unit in which he was originally in at the Ancient Outpost, will he survive," Teal'c explained, seeing how difficult it was for his teammates to keep their composure during this emotional time for them.

"I don't mean to sound…uncaring," Paul interjected, "but…without a ZPM or General O'Neill being…here, how in the world did he…I mean how could he…"

"Thor explained that the Ancient missiles must have absorbed and retained energy from the last ZPM…" Sam started to explain to everyone, a bit relieved to be talking science, something she could do in her sleep.

"Like a rechargeable battery," Jack's 2IC, Colonel Reynolds commented with a nod of understanding.

"Yes…" Sam acknowledged.

"But according to reports, someone has to be in the chair, Colonel," Hammond added looking at Sam.

"The chair is a focal piece," Daniel muttered, having become lost in his thoughts and was staring at his hands. He looked up at the anxious faces around him. "Thor explained from what they have been able to gather, the chair acts as a focal piece, making it easier and less strenuous on the ancient or the person using it, as they access their technology. Basically, that was how Jack was able to guide all those hundreds of missiles when Anubis attacked. Without it, and being that he is…according to Thor, the closest we have to a true Ancient, his mind was able to…touch and trigger the missiles, as they are 'sensitive' to the thoughts of the Ancients. But distance and the physical strain of trying to…mentally guide 'two' missiles brought about hemorrhaging…which if not for Thor's timely intervention, would have killed Jack then and there," he stated, the chill of that thought reflecting deeply in his gaze, so everyone understood just how close once more they came to losing Jack.

"So…in the mean time…" George asked, feeling just as helpless as the rest of the people at the table.

"Doctor Richards is with Jack now," Daniel replied. "Thor said that Jack will sleep for a while, and be fine…that is for the next four weeks, then…" he couldn't say it, and looked away.

"…Then his body will start to break down, similar to…" Sam swallowed hard, for this was very difficult to say.

"Similar to how Daniel Jackson's body broke down when exposed to the vast amounts of radiation when he saved the people of Kelowna," Teal'c supplied for both Sam and Daniel.

Silence filled the room for a long moment, as thoughts scattered in many directions at the implications of what fate awaited Jack O'Neill. The clearing of a throat brought everyone's attention back as Daniel wiped his eyes, having removed his glasses. "General…Thor said he explained this to Jack before sedating him…he…I mean…" he took in a deep breath to control his emotions and voice. "Requesting leave of absence…sir," he asked, looking at George, hoping he understood why he wanted the time off. "He shouldn't be alone," he clarified, just in case the General did miss his point.

George Hammond was very silent, even still as he thought about the request and the man who was currently sleeping in the infirmary. He had already spoken to Dr. Richards who couldn't give him any more information than what was presented here, but was currently running tests…tests he knew would be of no use, as they were far from advanced as the Asgard. "As of now, SG-1 is on stand down until further notice. Doctor Jackson, you'll remain on stand down." he held his hand up to stop Daniel's protest, "until General O'Neill is no longer able to work, then you are granted leave of absence," he added gently.

"Sir?" Reynolds asked, his brow arched, "you're going to let General O'Neill continue to work? I mean, shouldn't he be on leave?"

"It's been made clear, Colonel, that our medical technology is not going to be able to help him and from what has been made clear to me, for the next four weeks, Jack O'Neill will be fine physically, and knowing the General as I do I think he would prefer to keep working" A small smirk came over his face along with everyone else's at the table, "He would drive our medical staff insane just sitting around doing nothing. No, the best thing I can do for him is to let him work and finalize his affairs…just in case," he added looking at everyone else at the table.

Seeing the nods of understanding, he continued, "I'll be on hand should it be necessary, but I see no reason why for the most part, things can't continue on as normal." he swallowed hard, "Jack would want it that way."

Around of 'yes, sirs' filled the air and with a nod, they were all dismissed. George Hammond remained seated as he watched them all depart, seeing the pain of grief and helplessness on everyone's face and knew that shortly it would be upon every face on the base as Jack was much loved and respected at the SGC; something, thanks to Colonel Reynolds, Jack finally came to understand, when he was on the verge of stepping down as head of the SGC. Feeling his age, George wiped his face and deeply wished for a better fate for his former 2IC and good friend. //I've prayed often, and somehow you've seemed to listen,// George thought silently in prayer, //But Jack has given so much for this world over and over again. Please, if there is a way, please don't let it end this way for him,// he asked God in his mind. Then he pushed himself up and headed to his former office, as there was much to do and duty wouldn't wait any longer. It never would.

********

"Jack…"

"Daniel…"

"The doctor said that if she let you go home you were to go straight to bed and rest, not go to the kitchen and definitely…NOT get a beer," Daniel stated, pulling the closed beer bottle out of Jack's hands and placing it back in the still open refrigerator. He then closed the door and gave Jack a knowing and firm look.

"Come on, Danny, it's not like it's going to kill me," Jack quipped, and then regretted his words seeing the flash of pain in his dear friend's eyes. "Sorry," he muttered and headed out of the kitchen.

"Look, the Asgard are looking for a ZPM..."

"…I know, I know," Jack commented over his shoulder, plopping on the couch in front of the TV, but he didn't bother to turn it on. "They want to turn me back into a living statue, The Sleeping General or Old Man on Ice, in the hope that it will help me. Hey, if you charge admission, the SGC may not have anymore budget problems," Jack quipped

Daniel moved around the sofa and sat next to his friend, "Jack, you can't look at it that way; they say it'll help…"

"Did anyone bother to ask 'me' if I want to go back in," he huffed, grabbing the remote and turning the TV on, not really caring what was on.

"You can't be serious, Jack…if you don't go back in…" Daniel still couldn't say it; he was still too raw over the matter.

Placing the remote down, ignoring the TV, Jack shifted forward and rested his face in the palms of his hands, "Did it ever occur to anyone that we can't keep cheating death forever," he mumbled, then looked up and faced his best friend. "We've used up more lives than several cats combined…eventually death 'is' going to collect its due."

Daniel saw Jack looked resigned to his fate and it angered him, "Don't talk like that," he growled. "You're still needed…"

"Danny, I'm just an old soldier who's passed his usefulness. Besides, old soldiers never die we just fade away," Jack tried to smirk, as he quoted the famous General Patton. "And believe me, Danny, I'm pretty faded here."

"STOP THAT," Daniel shouted, not wanting to listen to this defeatist talk. "Regardless if you can go through the gate or not, you ARE NEEDED," he stated firmly. "Not only by everyone in that base, but on this planet…"

"They don't need me anymore, Danny. There are plenty of others who can take my place," Jack commented calmly.

"Damn it, Jack, no one can take your place. The universe needs you, the world needs you and I need you," he finished softly, his heart shining in his eyes as he looked at the man he loved.

Jack sighed softly, "Oh, Danny, we've been through this you deserve…so much more than me, a beat-up old soldier with bad knees, you deserve..."

"What will make me happy," Daniel stated clearly, trying to get his point across to Jack. He'd heard it all before. "Don't you get it, you idiot? It's you, it's always been you and it always will be you," he declared, holding back the tears he felt stinging his eyes. "As I told you before, Jack, I fell in love with you back on Abydos…"

"I wasn't ready and so you stayed, I know," Jack nodded gently, recalling this conversation from over the years. "Then you got married, and then it was too late." He shifted to face the younger man who had stood by him over the years. He didn't resist reaching up to cup Daniel's tender cheek, "You deserve someone you can grow old with, not someone who's already there. You deserve to have a family with little Dannys and Danielles tagging along behind you. You deserve…"

"The man I love," Daniel interrupted, "Please, Jack, you're not going to sway me like you did Sam"

Jack stood up feeling a bit put off and crossed the room to stand in front of his front window, "That's not fair," he growled, "I didn't sway her! I pointed out the facts, just like I've done for you. She was smart enough to move on. Why the hell can't you?" he growled, angry that he couldn't at least see Daniel happy with a partner before he died.

Daniel jumped to his feet too and came to stand just behind Jack, "Because with Sam it 'was' true. She knew that she could never see you as anyone 'but' the Colonel or General. Hell, even now she can't stop calling you 'sir' even during our down time, but that's just not the case between us."

"No, you're just a guy, Danny," Jack grumbled over his shoulder.

"You don't have to tell me about 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' Jack, you've sang that song too long for me not to know it by heart, but I also know that you do love me."

"Danny" Jack began."

"Look me in the eye and tell me I'm wrong, that you don't love me," challenged Daniel, knowing deep in his soul Jack couldn't do it.

Jack turned with determination, then looked deep into the pleading and loving blue eyes and melted. "You know I can't do that," he whispered and once more caressed Daniel's cheek, letting his thumb trace on the kissable lips, which he so wanted to taste, but felt he had to resist.

"What if I'd been a woman?" Daniel found himself asking.

Jack looked away for a long moment, and then looked back up, "Then you wouldn't have been on my team," he stated firmly. Seeing Daniel's puzzlement, he continued, "You and I would have taken jobs that kept us grounded. I couldn't stand to see my wife go through the gate knowing how dangerous it was, at least not without me," he added with a slight smile. "For though I love Carter very much, you're right…we…both of us, can't drop the military wall between us. The only true wall between 'us', Danny was the regulations about your gender," he confessed, feeling now was the time for 'full' honesty between them.

Daniel laughed, "You are something, Jack O'Neill."

"Yeah, I'm something all right," he commented, but he didn't sound like he was thinking positive thoughts.

"You're a good man, Jack, and regardless of what you did in the past, it’s a fact. Do you think the Asgard or the Nox would think so highly of you if you weren't?" Seeing his words were just beginning to penetrate Jack's thick head, Daniel persisted and reached out and cupped Jack's face in both his hands, feeling Jack's hand fall from his face to his shoulder. "Do you think I would love you so deeply if you weren't," he asked softly. Then Daniel took advantage of this moment and leaned in. He gently and lovingly kissed the man he knew in his heart would be his last love in this, if not the next few, life times.

The kiss only lasted a moment, and then Jack shifted and pulled Daniel into a tight strong loving embrace. "Oh, Danny," he whispered, his soul aching to connect with this vibrant being before him.

"Please, Jack, just let me love you," Daniel implored in a hushed whisper as he held onto Jack as if both their lives depended on it, and in some way he was sure that it did.

Both men remained where they were for the longest time, when Daniel felt more than heard Jack's deep yawn. He pulled back slowly, "Come on sleepy head, let’s get you to bed," he smiled lovingly and seeing Jack nod, took him by the hand and led him to his bedroom.

Daniel recalled what Thor said that Jack would be tire easily for the next few days, and then he would be fine for a while. So, he was not surprised to see Jack starting to fade as he got ready for bed. He tucked Jack in and started to leave, when he heard Jack calling his name.

"Danny," Jack called out again, his deep brown eyes shining with warmth and something else Daniel couldn't make out.

Daniel moved back quickly to the bed and sat on the edge, "What do you need, Jack," he asked, knowing he'd do anything to make Jack's last few weeks happy one because he loved Jack so much..

"A teddy bear," Jack looked at him sweetly, batted his eyes and yawned like a little boy getting ready for bed, with just a hint of mischief for good measure.

Daniel furrowed his brows, "A teddy bear, Jack?" As far as he knew, he'd never seen a stuffed animal in Jack's house.

"Yeah, a big cuddly archeologist bear," Jack said cunningly. He laid his hand gently on Daniel's arm.

Daniel didn't know if he should shout or cry for joy, as he saw the love in Jack's eyes. He was giving him that chance that Daniel had asked Jack for, the chance to openly love him. Once more feeling the sting of tears, Daniel simply nodded, "I think I can find you one," he replied softly and then quickly stripped to his boxers and climbed into the bed with Jack, who immediately shifted into Daniel's arms and in moments was asleep, his head pillowed on Daniel's chest. Feeling his emotions bubble up, he held Jack while caressing his hair, and allowed the tears to fall. "I love you, Jack," he whispered and kissed his soft silver hair. "Thank you for finally letting me show my love to you," he added just as softly, and closed his eyes, letting his emotions free reign as he held his precious love, determined to be there every step of the way, even if it would be painful. He'd vowed along time ago to never leave Jack's side for as long as there was breath in his body; he would keep that vow, glad he could be even closer now.

***********

The sound of a key in the door alerted Sam Carter that someone was there, and she lifted her head up from staring at the whistling tea kettle. She was relieved when she heard Pete's voice call out to her. Thank goodness, he was finally here. Turning off the stove, she dashed out to meet him and barely gave him time to put his suitcase down before she barreled desperately into his arms with a fierce need to feel his arms around her. "Oh, Pete," she cried softly, allowing the strain of the week to engulf her.

Pete used his foot to kick the door closed, sensing just how badly his fiancé needed him at this very moment. "I'm sorry, Sam I couldn't get here sooner," he whispered and kissed her hair and held her tightly. He didn't know the full story, as it was probably classified. Even though he now had clearance, thanks to General Hammond and General O'Neill, cell phones were not the safest for secure phone conversations. He did know that something had happened to Jack and that he was dying. He also knew, since there were now no real secrets between them about other some past classified missions of Sam's, and how Sam felt toward Jack O'Neill. He'd faced his own emotions over that, feeling torn between jealousy that someone else held such a large piece of his Sam's heart and elated because she had chose him over Jack O'Neill

Gently he guided Sam over to the sofa, so that they could cuddle. There, Sam could cry and they both could be more comfortable. He saw the partially used box of Kleenex. He knew it had to be bad since Sam, although she was sensitive, didn't cry easily, and not without great cause. He reached and got her a tissue and let her clean up a bit. "So, can you tell me what's going on," he asked gently, hoping that by letting Sam talk, it would not only clear up the mystery of why Jack was dying, but would also help Sam vent her emotions.

Pete sat quietly and listened to what Sam had to say, about the Asgard, the Ancients, the last battle, which he did know about, and Jack and the so-called stasis unit. When Sam paused to get her tea, he volunteered to get it in order that she could continue to explain about Baa'l's latest attack and how the General had once more saved earth at his personal expense. Pete was no fool. He knew Sam would always love Jack O'Neill, not only because was he a good man, but because he was her hero. And Pete had to admit to himself honestly that the more he got to know about Jack, the more the man became his hero too.

"So, the Asgard are looking for this ZPM?" he asked and then added thoughtfully, "And if they find it, he'll go back into this chamber, right? So then what?"

"They say he'll finish changing," Sam replied, snuggled close to Pete, but staring into her cup.

"Changing into what, I don't get it?"

Sam sighed, then looked at her husband to be, "Into an Ancient, at least physically. He no longer possesses the knowledge, but his body has changed too much to stabilize, he needs to finish the process or he'll die…he's only got five weeks left," she sniffed and tried to swallow an emotional hiccup.

Pete took the cup from Sam and placed it down and then embraced her tightly, "I'm sorry, Sam, but I feel I'm missing something. Do the Asgard have this ZPM?"

Sam shook her head and gently pulled back, "No, they're looking for one. They don't know where one is anymore than we do. The Ancient's knowledge is lost and we don't know where any of the Ancient cities or outpost are. It's like looking for a needle in a universe-sized haystack," she sobbed burying her head on his shoulder.

Now Pete understood. The odds of them finding this ZPM was stacked very highly against them, which he knew meant that in five weeks Jack would die. "You guys have pulled off miracles before, don't give up now," he whispered to her, having been informed of some of their adventures.

"I know but…" she muttered softly, only to burry herself deeper into his arms.

Knowing it was best to let her cry it out, Pete held her tightly. He too felt upset at the prospect of Jack dying, but he needed to be strong for Sam…not that for one moment he thought of her as anything but a strong woman. She impressed the heck out of him, more and more each day…but she was still human, and a special member of her family was dying and this woman of action was dealing with being helpless to stop it.

After a few minutes, once more Sam wiped her eyes and gave a sheepish grin, always hating to cry, but glad that she could see it didn't lessen her in Pete's eyes. "The General made a request, and I said I'd have to talk to you about it," she finally said, swallowing down some cold tea, to clear her throat.

Pete suppressed a laugh, though he did smile, as even now Sam still couldn't referrer to Jack as anything but rank…so military. "What," he asked easily.

"Um…I know we were thinking of holding the ceremony next May…since that was when we met…but um…" she took a deep breath, she was a Colonel in the USAF …and she was coming to understand what Jack had to face when it came to emotions. She squared her shoulders and faced Pete, "He wants to be there for the wedding, and is hoping we can have a small ceremony in two-three weeks."

Sam watched Pete just become still for a moment at hearing the request. She could tell he was thinking, as this was a big request, for Pete had a large family, and she hadn't even met them yet. To ask to pull off a wedding in such short time was a lot to ask. "We can have another one…a big one in May still," she quickly added.

"I care about what Jack is going through, but I need to know…is this what 'you' want," he asked her seriously.

Sam blinked back more tears. She was done for the moment, and nodded. "From the moment I allowed myself to accept that we were getting married, I've envisioned SG-1 standing with us…especially without knowing where my Father is…" she swallowed hard. "The General's asked to walk me down the aisle and I would like that very much," she stated honestly

"Very well. I'll come up with something to tell my folks, and let them know we're still having a big wedding in May so they don't get too upset," Pete replied sincerely, smiling at seeing how this was what she really wanted by how she glowed, then noticed a sudden hesitation. "What?"

"Um…the General asked if he could arrange it…for us…being it would be a small ceremony…just those at the SGC…said it would give him something to do?"

Pete was stunned for a moment, and then laughed, this was SO Jack O'Neill. He nodded, "sure why not." Then the laughing subsided as his mouth was busy being kissed by his wife to be.

*************

Jack was sitting in his office, attempting to get some work done, his mind going off in a million directions. It hadn't helped that his day had be one of the worst…doctors prodding and finding NOTHING, as Thor said they would find. At least the headaches were gone, thanks to his little grey buddy. Then as he moved through the complex, look after look of sympathy from one person or the next…ACK!

The knock on the door startled him from his inner tyrant, "WHAT," he growled, not really wanting to be bothered by anyone. These past eight days had been hard enough with last minute arrangements to update his will; thankfully no real changes needed to be made, and Carter's wedding…then there was Daniel. He finally given in and let the man into his life and to a degree his bed, and though Daniel never pushed the intimacy issue…meaning sex, he knew it was there, but he couldn't explain why he wasn't ready.

Looking up, he saw the man in question in most of his thoughts. Daniel entered as if he knew he was entering a lions den…and he was, but if anyone could sooth this beast it was also Daniel. //Probably pushed him in here,// he mentally chuckled, knowing what a bear he'd been all day.

"Jack…"

"Danny…" he looked up from his desk, saw his friend and potential lover casually move to get some of the coffee he always provided; his excuse to come and visit Jack, since he knew Jack wasn't able to visit him as much as he used to. Of course, Jack knew Daniel really was thrilled not to have to 'watch' his precious rocks like before but it was nice to know Daniel liked the visits enough to keep them up.

Daniel sipped his coffee, savoring the exotic blend, "I've heard you've been a bit…stressed," he asked easily, though his eyes showed he knew he was treading on eggshells here.

"Stressed…stressed, dog-gone it all, I wouldn't be 'stressed' if people would stop fussing over me like I some porcelain doll. For crying out loud, I know I'm dying, but since there isn't anything anyone can do about it….people need to move on," he growled.

Under different circumstances, Daniel would have loved to make note of how ironic it was, since it was Jack who usually treated others, specifically his archeologist, like fine china, but he knew now was not a good time for that. He moved and sat on the edge of the desk closest to Jack, which made the man turn to look at him, and he placed a calming hand on his arm. "They care about you, Jack, and…they're not sure how to show it. Like you, most of the people here are men and women of action, and when there is nothing to be done, they feel lost. They also want to make the best of what time you have…before going into the chamber…" Daniel sighed, looking into his coffee, he wouldn't mention the other possibility; he couldn't.

Jack sighed, deep down knowing this was the case, but feeling his own build of emotions over the matter, wasn't ready to be reasonable; but as always, Daniel made him see it. He slowly stood up, and moved the mug from Daniel's hand's and placed it on his desk, before he embraced his love, not caring what anyone thought; Hell if he was dying, he wasn't going to waste anymore time on stupid rules and regulations. 'Heck, they can court-martial me…or my corpse if it matters that much to them,' he thought briefly before his thoughts were lost in the warmth of the man he held tightly, and felt his pain, his hope and his love.

Gently Daniel pulled back, but didn't fully break the embrace. "This is probably not the best idea…"

Jack silenced him with a finger on his kissable lips, "I don't care if it is a good idea or not…I love you, Daniel Jackson and I've decided that if this really is my final weeks on this Earth…till the chamber thingy… " he amended quickly, "So I'm going to live it my way," Jack grinned sincerely.

Daniel laughed, "You and Frank Sinatra."

Jack's most charming smile beamed upon his face, "Old blue eyes had nothing on you, babe," he replied and kissed his lover to be tenderly. Then he pulled back a bit, and took Daniel's hands in his own. "I've been thinking," he smirked.

"Uh-oh, I better get haz-mat down here," he teased.

"Funny, Danny, you're a real wit. So much so, you could quit the SGC and make a living as a stand-up comedian," Jack growled back, only his eyes showing his amusement. "Seriously," he continued, wanting to discuss his idea. Seeing he had Daniel's attention, "I've been thinking, that perhaps you and I could go up to the cabin for a week…just you, me…peace and quiet…and a good sized bed…" he leered a bit, taking in the slight flush that crept into Daniel's cheeks.

Daniel felt the heat fill his cheeks at the possibility he'd finally get to make love with Jack, and he really liked the idea of spending time alone with him, "I'd love to," he replied enthusiastically. "Though can I ask, why only one week?"

"Well…" Jack hesitated a bit. "I asked Carter if she and Pete could do me a favor…" seeing Daniel looking at him he continued, "I asked if they could have a small wedding so I could be there…"

"Why, their wedding is set for May…that's months away…" Daniel lightly protested.

Cupping his love's cheek, he met his intense blue eyes with his own, "Danny," he began, then sighed, knowing his love knew the odds, but wasn't ready to face them, and he couldn't bring himself to shove them into his face. "I may still be in that chamber then…Thor said he didn't have a clue as to how long it would take…I just…want to be there."

Daniel was quiet for a moment, deep down understanding that Jack knew that he might not even be in the chamber, and wanted to see Sam properly married before…he sighed, then nodded. "I take it they said yes," he smiled softly, showing he understood.

"Yes, and I want to throw them a nice wedding here at the SGC…and even if it'll be small…it'll take some time, plus…"

"Plus what…" Daniel sensed he wasn't going to be too keen on what Jack was going to say next.

"Well, I've arranged a small honeymoon for them…but knowing Carter, she won't go if she's not able to be…back in time...I mean…well, you know what I mean," he finally surrendered.

Sadly he did know what Jack meant. Sam wouldn't leave Colorado Springs if it meant not being here for Jack toward the end or to oversee him going back into the Ancient's chamber. Not going to make any fusses, since he knew deep down how lucky he was to have any time with the man he loved, he sucked it up, "So, when do we leave and what help do you need with the wedding," he smiled warmly.

"Thank you," Jack replied, knowing how hard this all was for his love…soon to be lover, and kissed him gently. "We can leave in a couple of days, baring any 'world' crisis, and as for the wedding," he smirked, a mischievous glint in his eyes, he moved to his locked draw and opened it, pulling out a folder and handed it over to Daniel. "I've laid out what I want, and I think between you and Siler you can get things into motion. So by the time we get back here there won't be much left to do, but have it and toss the couple on their way," he grinned ear to ear.

Daniel looked over the plans and chuckled, "I take it, Sam doesn't know about any of this."

"No, she doesn't and I'd like it to 'stay that way'," he stressed, knowing how Daniel could gossip with the best of them when he had an inkling to do so. "So…you think…" he waved a hand at the folder, silently asking if Daniel not only approved but would oversee it.

Daniel smiled and laughed, "Yeah, I think I can take care of this while you make our plans for a week at the cabin…though I want to fly…"

"But the drive is part of the fun," Jack whined softly.

"And it takes off a day and a half, meaning we won't have that full week of you, me and that large size bed you were promising," he leered back and licked his lips, which were aching to taste all of the man in front of him.

Seeing Daniel's blue eyes start to shift to black, Jack swallowed, "Flying can be fun too," he amended quickly. Knowing if he didn't get Daniel out of his office ASAP, he'd take him over his desk, and that was not what he wanted. It was not why he had waited as long as he had to be with him. No, he wanted their first time to be special, very special as he was sure it would have to last his lover a long time if things went poorly. "I'll let you handle that and then I'll get started with some other things" he said, pulling back to put some space between them. Seeing an impish glint in those lovely blue eyes, Jack knew his lover was on to him. "Shoo, shoo," he encouraged as he stepped back farther and moved around his chair to reach the phone to make the flight arrangements. The smile and smirk on Daniel's face, warmed Jack's heart and helped him feel that he was doing the right thing after all, instead of keeping Daniel at bay anymore. If things were reversed, which they had been, this was how he would want things to go and he was sure deep down, it was the same for his Danny.

***********

The little alarm on his watch sounded and though he was very tired and a bit sore, he decided to get up because this wasn't a time for sleeping in, no matter how much his body demanded it. No, he and Jack had arrived at the cabin very late last night, not wanting to waste any time they could have together. It had taken Jack three days to arrange all their travel plans to get here. This was because Jack wanted them to travel in style and have all they would need for their week there. Today, would be their first day together and Jack had practically promised it would be the first day they could be together as a real couple. The thought of this, spurred Daniel into wakefulness and he shifted on his back, not surprised to become aware he was alone in bed; Jack was always an early riser, and no matter how much Daniel wanted that…He knew that to have a good day he needed a bit more sleep. He silenced the alarm on his watch and saw it was 7:31 in the morning, knowing Jack had probably been up for the last two hours.

Forcing himself up and into the bathroom for a quick shower, Daniel noticed how quiet it was. He was getting a better look at his surroundings, since it had been so dark last night when they arrived. Thankfully, Jack had been to the cabin for a little 'fishing' last month, so it was still in good shape and ready for visitors, except for a few small extras, that they brought with them or could get in town. Daniel was now appreciating Jack's extra effort last night to get the generator working and the water heater as well. Now he had hot water to dance over his skin, although he didn't take time to savor it, because he didn't want to waste any of the time they had left together.

No, if he was going to spend time frolicking in the shower, it surely wouldn't be alone. Daniel hurried and washed, dried and dressed and headed to the small kitchen area and smelled his coffee, already brewed waiting for him. On the table was a plate covering, and he lifted it to find scrambled eggs, bacon and two slices of wheat toast. He looked around and saw that Jack might like simple, but he relished his little modern touches too, as he spotted the microwave, in which he would warm his food up. He placed in the plate, minus the toast and searched for two coffee mugs. Once found, and saw they were clean, he filled them, while munching on a slice of toast, wondering where his wayward love had gone, for the cabin was very quiet. Sipping his coffee and savoring the flavor, glad he brought it with them, and how he broke Jack of his 'instant' coffee habit, he looked around and listened above the sound of the microwave, for some clue to where Jack was. It was faint, but there was the sound of splashing of water from the outside.

Ignoring the beeping of the microwave, Daniel took his and the second mug of coffee and headed for the front door, which was open, though a screen door covered his path. So, with a bunt from his foot, it too moved and he exited to the front porch. Then Daniel moved along side, and spotted his lover down by the large lake, he'd been talking about for years, the one Teal'c swore spawned carnivorous insects and definitely NO FISH! It was quiet a sight to see his love, dressed down in cutoff jeans and prancing around the lake side as if it were summer; fall was on the horizon, but Jack looked right at home and not at all chilled. A smile crossed his face as he watched the man he loved, seeming to belong to the scene in front of him, so one with his surroundings, drag some junk from the lake as if he were cleaning it out, like a pool. Then his smile faded a bit, seeing Jack jump into the lake without hesitation as to how cold that water must be and dive. Placing the two mugs down on a thick railing, he turned and headed back in to get a towel and a blanket… //Just what the hell is Jack thinking,// he grumbled in thought as he retrieved the two items and dashed down to the lake, in time to see Jack toss up some more junk and dive back into the lake without a care in the world. "Jack," Daniel called out, but he had gone under the water too fast to be heard.

After a long wait, during which Daniel started to become worried because he didn't think Jack could hold his breath that long, his wayward lover surfaced with ease and grinned ear to ear when he saw him. "Danny, great, just the man I need."

"Jack, what the hell are you doing," Daniel replied, looking anything but happy to see his lover soaked to the skin in the early part of fall, in the lake.

"Cleaning out the lake, what does it look like I’m doing?" Jack grinned, as though it was the most natural thing in the world to be doing. "I've finally figured out why there are so few fish in here…and yes, there 'are' fish," he added firmly, knowing what Teal'c was telling everyone.

Daniel watched as Jack moved back to shore, more junk in his hands; old beer bottles and beer cans and other items that had probably been there for ages. //Why the heck is he doing this now,// he wondered. "Jack…" he started, hoping to ask his questions, but was interrupted.

"There is a blockage down by the bridge, and I'm not sure what it is, but I can tell its metal with a lot of growth. The rust and plant life is causing such a stink," he stated, then waved his hand under his nose, as if he could smell it, and made a sour face. "Trust me, it's awful," he added as he dropped the junk in hand in the large pile on the side of the lake, where Daniel stood and hurried passed him.

"Jack…Jack," Daniel called out and followed, handing him a towel as he got close. "Has it escaped your notice that it is…cold out here?"

Jack smiled as if indulging Daniel's concern, "Danny, it’s a nice day out and the water isn't that cold…"

"Isn't that cold?” He asked testing the water, “Jack…that water is freezing, I stuck my hand in it…"

"Well, for a dessert rat, I suppose it would be cold, but I grew up here, Danny, and I know when it's too cold for me…don't worry. Now, I'm going to grab a rope, you head down to the bridge, between the two of us, I'm sure we can remove that blockade," he grinned, and dashed off before Daniel could protest.

Daniel watched him go and just decided to chalk it up to another O'Neill quirk, and headed down to the bridge. He knew there was no way he was talking Jack out of this by his gleaming sparkling eyes and impish smile, and the sooner it was done, the sooner he'd be able to get Jack back inside and to himself.

*************

Two hours later and Daniel was still unsure how just the two of them managed to remove that…thing. An old, old shopping cart, tangled up with the local plant life and several boards with nails and other items that seemed to make the entire mound a large messy weight. But Jack dove in the water, again not hesitant or noticing the cold, and tied the rope on to the largest portion, then climbed back up on the bridge and tossed the other end over a thick tree branch to give them leverage, then together they pulled and it was slow going. At one point Jack went back into the water and had to cut a few plants to get the thing lose, then after a bit it came up, but it was over the water…not that close to the bridge.

"Jack, how are we going to get…that…" he nodded to mound of mess, "on to the bridge?"

"Just hold it a moment," Jack said, shifting the wheel-barrel he brought with him along with the rope, closer to the edge.

"Jack, if you haven't noticed, this…thing…is heavy…" Daniel panted, struggling to keep it up, the rope digging into his hands.

Jack joined him and with a little up and down in the slack and some giggling of the rope, Jack got the darn thing to swing, but not as much as he had wanted. "This isn't working," he grumbled.

"Ya think," Daniel, snorted, seeing the item barely moving and his hands were killing him.

"Hold on," Jack stated, then clapped Daniel on the back and jumped into the river again…to the side where the base of the thick tree was. Then like a squirrel, Jack climbed the tree and moved along the branches with ease until he was over the rope and started swinging the large mass. "When I say, let go of the rope," Jack shouted.

Daniel would swear that Jack did it on purpose, but regardless, the end result was, the mass landing on the bridge, in the wheel-barrel no less, and Daniel 'in' the lake. Damn that water was freezing cold!

"I did tell you to let go," Jack mumbled again, as he handed Daniel another cup of hot coffee with another mug of soup, as Daniel was bundled up on the sofa in front of the fire, Jack had made for him.

"You know, I don't get it," Daniel commented, deciding to forgo the incident all together, it was a done deal. "I'm bluer than your shorts, and you're still just walking around in just those cutoffs, even if they are dry by now. Just…how can you…not be cold?"

Jack just shrugged his shoulders and sat down next to Daniel, "Just not; told you, I grew up here, it's not that cold to me. I bet if we were in the desert, I'd be melting six ways from Sunday and you'd be right at home…right?"

"I guess," Daniel muttered and shivered.

"Now that we got you all dried up and warmed up a bit, how about I help warm up the rest," Jack purred, pulling Daniel closer to him, while stealing the coffee cup from his hands and placing it on a side table, so he could slowly kiss Daniel properly.

"Mmmm, that works," Daniel replied in a soft pant, as he closed his eyes and let Jack slowly work his mouth with an expert's ease, while strong capable hands worked their way under his blanket to caress up and down his skin, warming it and causing his blood to slowly boil…oh yeah, this was the way to warm up. "Love me, Jack," he whispered.

"I do, Danny, I honestly, do," Jack replied and then he lay Daniel down on his back on the nice large sofa, so that his body was lying on top. Then he shifted and snuggled his body under the blanket, so that skin was touching skin, but nothing was too exposed.

A slow burn was how it started, but it picked up pace quickly when Jack's hard erection rubbed on Daniel's. Skilled fingers divested Jack of his tight denim cutoffs, leaving his lover gloriously naked, like himself, and soon, no barriers were in between their bodies, as their cocks touched and surged with desire against one another, as their mouths devoured each other and their passion raged.

"Oh, Jack," Daniel cried out, the need building within him with each thrust against his lover, as he arched up into him, while pressing his hands hard and firm on Jack's delectable ass, pressing their cocks even more closer together.

"You feel so good, baby," Jack panted, "so hot, so good."

"I wish we had lube, I so want you to fuck me right now," Daniel grunted out.

"I'll fuck you later, I promise, but please," Jack moaned out in between sucking and nipping on Danny's neck. "I don't want to stop."

"No…" Daniel panted, "Stopping bad…oh yes, babe, just like that…oh yes, harder…yes….." his climax was on the way, then hit like a tidal wave, "JACK!"

The feel of Daniel's cum surging over his own hot cock was enough to toss Jack over his edge and he flew, but not with a shout, but a breathy, "Danny," his body tightening up every muscle so that even speech was taken from him.

After a long while, both men had come down from their blissful high, wrapped tight in each others embrace, both still panting. "That was something, Jack," Daniel smiled, basking in the afterglow of the best sex he'd had…ever, and it wasn't even all the way.

"Mmmm, you're even better," Jack muttered nuzzling his lover's chest with his cheek.

"You can't possibly be ready to go again," Daniel chuckled, feeling Jack's touches and caresses slowly start picking up speed, his own body tingling with excitement, but he knew his recovery time was a lot more than a few minutes.

Jack shifted up and smiled his warm Irish eyes down upon his lover and smiled his most charming, "If you haven't noticed, Doctor Jackson, you turn me on." Then he leaned in and captured Daniel's mouth before the younger man could say a word. After leaving Danny breathless, he shifted back and got to his feet, pulling Daniel with him, "The bed will be more comfortable and that's where the lubricant is," he leered, and then led his stunned lover into 'their' bedroom. Daniel didn't know it yet, but he was in for the ride of his life. It took three more times, before Jack was satisfied and finally let him sleep.

***********

Sore…deliciously sore, but sore nonetheless, that was the only word for how his bottom felt. He knew the Asgard had mentioned that Jack had advanced genes, but sheesh, this morning was something else all together. With that thought, Daniel almost bolted upright, but his rear end would not allow such nonsense. He let his thoughts fly from his lips to the empty room. "I wonder if that's a side effect of the Ancient genes?"

Already knowing he was alone, Daniel crawled out of bed and smiled as seeing a little note and ointment on the nightstand. It seemed that Jack had figured out he might be sore and was willing to rub the ointment in for him. //Sweet, but no thank you,// Daniel thought. as He was concerned that his lover might try for a fourth round if he allowed Jack access to his rear end.. "If this really is a case of advanced genes and not pent up sexual frustration, you're going to…" Daniel stated out loud, not seeing his lover enter the bedroom.

"I'm going to what?" Jack asked, feeling a bit guilty at seeing Daniel wince when he moved.

"Bottom more often or learn to curb your appetite," Daniel replied, seeing no reason not to give free reign to his thoughts, although he took the sting out of his words with a loving smile.

Jack came to sit next to his lover, "I'm sorry, Love," he whispered and gently kissed his hair. "I didn't mean to get so carried away, it's just…you're so hot, and…" he stopped and took a deep slow breath.

"And…" Daniel asked, wanting to know what Jack was thinking, and then looked to see what his lover was up to. "Oh, you can't be…I mean…"

"It's just the honeymoon stage. I'm sure that's all it is. I mean, are you telling me, sore butt aside, you're not the least bit interested?" he waggled his eyebrows, which caused Daniel to snicker.

"Okay, okay, you're right, but and I mean, B-U-T. not B.U. T.T, I am sore in the B.U. T. T. and it does dampen my ardor it a bit.

"Just so you know, I have no problem with you making love to me. We're in this together, Danny, I, I hope you know that," he stated, watching his lover's eyes to be sure Daniel knew Jack wasn't just accommodating him because of his condition.

Daniel's face lit up and he warmed with love, "Yes, Love, I know," he replied and caressed his lover's face, then frowned a bit. "Jack, what's this," he asked, pulling out some small tree branch from his love's hair. "I know we showered…twice?"

"Oh, one of the birds thought they were being cute, and must have dropped it there," he smiled as if it were no big deal. "You want me to help you?" he picked up the ointment.

"No, I'll get it,” Daniel said hastily, “I’m not up for round four yet. Go back to what were you doing. What were you doing, anyway?" Daniel asked, wondering why birds would be doing dropping branches on Jack.

"Oh, just the usual, cleaning up outside, restocking the feeders and the deer trough" his lover said innocently.

"A deer trough?"

"Danny,” Jack explained patiently, “My lands are protected because they're private property. To the west, there is a small area where the wildlife is protected by law, but as for the rest… Unfortunately, they’re fair game up here sadly. I like to keep the deer coming around here seeing that it's safer for them. Sadly, there aren't as many deer this year as in previous years because the hunters violated the reserve and shot a lot of the Does."

"That's awful, Jack. Did they catch them?"

Jack looked sad, and nodded, "Yeah caught the bastards, but they only got stuck with fines and had their hunting licenses taken." he seemed lost in thought for a long moment, then climbed off the bed, "You get yourself fixed up. It's getting late and if we're lucky, the deer will visit tonight and we can watch them from the porch after dinner."

Daniel smiled and nodded, "Sounds great," and watched his lover leave. He turned to take care of himself, but the inkling that something was off, was just enough under his skin, it wouldn’t leave him in peace. Once he was finished with the ointment, he got dressed and went in search of his lover, searching outside first thing, and he softly gasped as the sight. There was Jack, now in grey sweatpants and a dark green T-shirt, sitting on a log, a deer eating from his hand, while several other animals were near by, including several birds, two squirrels and a raccoon. Daniel blinked, it was like a scene out of a Disney cartoon, but yet…it wasn't. "Jack?"

The sound of his voice startled the animals and they rushed off. "For crying out loud, Danny, did you have to startle them," Jack cried out in exasperation as he turned to face his lover.

"Jack…I…I'm sorry, but…I never knew you had such a way with animals before. Dogs yes, but this is something extraordinary." He was stunned.

"Well, normally I can only get one or two at a time, this was the firs time ever I got so darn many to come close," Jack smiled, thinking of his achievement.

"So this isn't the norm," Daniel asked, sensing that this was the case, something was not right.

"No, Daniel, it's not. As I said, I usually can only get one or two to come close when I'm alone."

Even that was impressive, but not surprising as Daniel knew the animals would sense Jack's goodness. Even when the man denied he had any. Nevertheless, seeing so many animals so close to a human was still strange. "You are feeling okay?" he heard himself ask his lover.

"I feel great, Danny," Jack replied as he moved close to his lover and kissed him tenderly. "I'm going to wash up and start dinner. Are you in the mood for anything special?"

"Yeah, I was thinking one of those steaks…" he started to say and noticed a sour look on Jack's face. "Did I say something wrong; you said they were good cuts?"

"Yeah, I know, but I'm just not hungry for steak right now," Jack replied, not giving a real answer to Daniel’s inquiry about dinner. "How about I fix up a surprise," he grinned and kissed Daniel on the cheek and dashed inside to wash up and fix dinner, since they’d spent most of the morning and afternoon in bed.

Daniel let him go, but his gut told him something was up. He just wasn't sure what, or if there was anything he could do about it. He looked around at the peaceful lake and land and smiled at recalling the scene. Boy, did he wish he had a camera at that moment… //Of course,// Daniel thought. //Steak…cow…animal// Daniel shook his head. It was too close coming right after a perfect moment with Mother Nature as it were. Of course, Jack wouldn't be thinking of animal flesh. Feeling better at his conclusion regarding Jack's problem, he decided to head in so they could enjoy the evening some more.

***********

"Are you sure you're okay with this," Daniel asked Sam as they finished up their coffee, their lovers were both on errands, as they sat under the umbrella by a coffee shop with an outdoor café. "Over the years, we've shared everything just like family."

Sam smiled warmly, "We’re probably closer than most real brothers and sisters," she interjected and then laid her hand on top of Daniel’s. "I'm fine with it, Daniel…better than fine. I'll always love Jack, you know that, but I love Pete…more," she grinned honestly. "Besides, there is nothing better than to see the two men I love dearly, being totally happy with each other. I'm just glad he…" she hesitated a moment, "stopped being…"

"A Jack-ass," Daniel quipped, knowing it was their play on words when Jack was being overly stubborn and pig headed.

They both laughed, "Yes," she agreed. "I am glad your week together was good," she added warmly, the laugh settling but never far from her lips.

"Oh, Sam, I've got to tell you, although it was absolutely wonderful it was weird too. Remember I told you about the animals?" he saw Sam nod. She’d called to keep tabs on both of them, because her concern wouldn’t allow them to vanish for the entire week. "That could be because he's been there most of his life." She tried to explain it once more.

"Yeah, but there was more," Daniel interjected. "We were in town and saw Mrs. O'Brian putting out her laundry to air dry and Jack stopped and told her that she'd better get it inside, because by noon time it would be pouring rain."

"Daniel, it's not the first time, the General’s seen rain clouds when the rest of us didn’t."

"Sam, it was a bright sunny and cloud-free day and there were no rain clouds to tip him off, but sure enough it rained."

"Daniel, I'm sure it may seem odd, but if you recall all the other times he's called the weather right on a mission. It's not that big of a deal…"

"Oh no, well what about several days later? We were driving past the general store late at night then all of a sudden Jack suddenly turns into the parking lot, slams the vehicle into park and runs inside. I followed, curious as hell to discover what was going on. I entered just in time to see Jack catch the storekeeper, Mr. Parker before he hit the floor. Jack was already on his cell to call the ambulance. Sam, there was no way Jack could have known Mr. Parker was having a heart attack."

"Daniel…" she didn't know what to say. "What did the General say?" she asked, wondering what O’Neill’s explanation of these events could be.

"Well, he said that he noticed when he was passing that he saw something that didn't look right."

"There you go,” she said rationally. “The General just reacted to something he saw, nothing more. I honestly don't think…” she started to say, but a shout from a man nearby caught her attention. Then, she looked up just in time to see Jack running toward her and Daniel. He was holding ice cream cones in his hands. The shop clerk was just behind him, shouting that Jack hadn’t paid for them; she jumped to her feet as did Daniel.

"Where's Pete?" Jack inquired, urgency in his voice as he stopped and looked at Daniel and Sam.

"He went to the bank across the street," Sam replied, seeing the shop clerk attempting catch up with them.

"Sir…" the clerk began, but before he could discuss his problem with Jack something unexpected happened. Jack dropped the cones and ran as fast as he could across the street. Jack’s face showed the seriousness of the situation and Daniel and Sam following quickly behind him as the store clerk continued to shout that that Jack bought the cones and would still have to pay for them.

They were five feet from the stairs. Jack just reached the bottom of the steps when the sound of a gunshot echoed in the air and a bank alarm began to screech. This sound motivated both Daniel and Sam to move quickly. They were at the door when Jack barreled his way inside. What they saw next shocked, frightened and amazed them both. Two gunmen in masks with sawed off shotguns turned to face the newcomers. Before Daniel could make a sound, Jack raised his right hand as if in a dismissing motion and the two men went flying backward and hit the wall with a thud, as if they had been tossed back by a Goa'uld hand device. Sam's cry of fear and terror registered in Daniel’s ears and he turned to find out why. Suddenly, he realized that Pete was down, having been shot in the chest.

"PETE," Sam screamed again. Her tears flowed automatically as she ran to his side, feeling for a pulse fear constricting her thoughts. "PETE!"

Daniel saw Jack on Pete’s other side. He stared at Pete. This look was familiar to Daniel and before he knew it Jack had placed his hand on Pete's chest over the open wound. At that moment, Daniel had a flashback of Bra'tac being wounded by the traitor that had offered to give them a ship, when they first went to find the ZPM and was dying, and Jack simply stared and then reached out and touched him, and filled with the Ancient knowledge, healed Bra'tac. He quickly returned to the present when he saw the same light blue glow from Jack's hand and after a long agonizing minute, Pete gasped for air as though he had been underwater.

Sam cried with relief, and Jack sagged to the floor. "Jack," Daniel called out, fear of his own filling him. He saw the blood start to lightly dribble from Jack's nose. "Shit," he growled, looking around for something to control it with. It was then he noticed the dead guard and that there was no one else around. "Where the hell is everyone," he growled again, hearing the alarms going off and the sound of sirens in the background.

"In the safe," Jack muttered and pointed to where the safe was located the door was closed. "I have to help them," he stated firmly as he got to his feet, only to be held back by Daniel.

"What the hell happened here," Pete asked, feeling confused and lost as he remembered that he was in the bank, but foggy about what had followed. Then he looked down and saw his own blood and the hole, but there was no wound. "I…I was shot. What happened?"

"The General healed you," Sam sniffled, trying to pull herself together, as she helped Pete to his feet. "Daniel, the police…" she said, hoping to get the young man to realize they had another problem other than being in the bank with two downed criminals.

"I know," Daniel snapped and then stopped Jack from moving forward, "You're bleeding from the noise again," he growled, knowing that it was a sign of mild hemorrhaging in the brain again or so he suspected. "Let the cops help the people in the bank vault"

"You don't understand, Danny. I 'know' I have to help them I’m sorry I can't explain it," he stated firmly, but Daniel held him back.

"How are we going to explain this," Sam asked, wiping the tears away, and subconsciously zipping up Pete's jacket so the wound didn't show.

"Explain what, would someone mind telling me what’s going on?" Pete interjected. Then he turned to Jack and Daniel, "the cops are here, you’d better get your stories straight."

"Pete, we have to contact the Mountain and contain this .General O'Neill used his gifts to help you and stop those two criminals." she snarled at the downed crooks. "We have to get the security tape…"

"EVERYBODY FREEZE," a male voice shouted.

All four stopped what they were doing and raised their hands. "I'm Detective Shanahan," Pete declared himself, but didn't move a muscle to get his ID. He'd wait until he was asked. He didn't want to get shot again.

Everyone let Pete do the talking and soon, after they were identified, Sam called Hammond to let him know what a 'mess' they had on their hands, while Daniel kept an eye on Jack, for he had that lost expression as he had when the knowledge of the Ancients overrode his brain.

"Jack?" Daniel probed gently, while using a First Aid kit he’d been given to staunch the bleeding from Jack’s nose.

"I'm not zoned out, Danny, I'm worried," he reassured his lover and nodded to the safe where several people were discussing how they would attempt to open it.

"Jack, what's going on? How did you know what was going on in the bank?" Daniel gestured to where the two robbers were being attended to by EMT’s and then to Pete who was double talking to the officer in charge until Sam could get Hammond to pull some strings to get this mess turned over to them, the USAF.

"I’m not sure, really," Jack replied honestly. "It’s kind of like I just know something is wrong…sort of," he smiled. "Spidy-sense. I don't know the particulars, I just don’t' know, Danny…I just do. I could always sense danger, but now I can narrow it down a bit I guess. As for Pete" he shrugged. Jack’s bloody nose was now gone thanks to Daniel's care. "I knew he was hurt and somehow I 'knew' I could help. Again, it was more instinct than thought."

"And them," Daniel once more nodded toward the down men.

"I can't explain how I did what I did any more than that, Daniel and I'll be honest it scares me a bit to know I did all this." He gestured around him, "but when I came in and I saw what they did to the guard and Pete, and I was angry. The image of tossing them against the wall came to me and that's what happened."

"And the people in the safe," Daniel asked, seeing how Jack kept staring over there.

Jack finally looked into Daniel's concerned eyes, "Danny, I'm not sure what's happening to me any more than you do and that part scares me a little, but…" he looked back at the group of men that were now arguing over something. "I 'know' those people are in danger, why, I don't know. I also 'know' that 'I' can help them, but if I don't act soon, it'll be too late like it was too late for me to help the guard."

Daniel was scared too. This was something he hadn’t foreseen, a Jack with abilities. At most he expected that Jack would be able to use the equipment at the Ancient’s Outpost a heck of a lot better and perhaps be healthier…but this. He recalled the report of the woman they’d found in the ice. They were now sure she had been an Ancient too, a sick one sadly, because she’d passed on her disease to Jack and to the others. However, she’d managed to heal them all but Jack before the strain of healing them killed her. It appeared that the Ancients were advanced in more ways than in simple knowledge. Probably, Jack was displaying the signs of those advances now.

"Danny," Jack's voice interrupted. "Please, let me help them," he softly begged, his puppy dog brown eyes showed the urgency of his request Daniel didn't know what to do. His mind was calling him to not let Jack do anything considered that he already looked pale and weak. Still, Daniel knew in his heart that Jack would take anything that went wrong with those people personally and not forgive himself even if it was Daniel that stopped him from helping them.

"Let me see what I can do," Daniel finally said and moved over toward Sam who was talking with another man in a cheap suit who had just arrived, taking over the scene on his cell-phone, looking very unhappy at the moment. "Well," he asked her, eyeing her to make sure she was alright. Those that didn't know her wouldn't detect how upset she had been moments ago, a sign of how truly professional she was.

"Captain Nigel is finding out first hand that when I say I mean business I mean business," she grinned, the shadow of what occurred here still haunting her eyes, as she kept Pete within view at all times.

Daniel smiled, "He's talking with the President," he chuckled a little, seeing Sam's nod of affirmative. Then it faded, "Jack insists that if he doesn't help those people in the safe, they'll die" he shrugged, resisting the urge to hug himself; something he hadn't done in a long time, but was coming back to him.

"How does he…" she asked, then clamped down as Captain Nigel stormed up to her looking very, very unhappy.

"I'm supposed to turn this over to a General O'Neill," he growled, looking at Carter and Daniel as if they themselves were responsible for the bank being robbed. Pete wasn't fairing too well under his gaze either, especially since Pete was supposed to be one of his 'new' detectives, a job which he hadn't even started yet Pete was unfortunately already in over his head.

"That would be me," Jack said, pulling himself up, not showing a sign of weakness to the outside world, knowing that Carter and Daniel would still probably see it. Jack approached and showed his identification. "I'd appreciate it if your people could remove those…scum," he growled, referring to the two downed robbers, "and then let my people handle it from here. You'll be kept in the loop and given all you need for a clean-cut conviction," he smiled his most charming smile.

"For the record…General," Captain Nigel sneered, "I'm not happy about this. This is 'highly' unusual."

"I understand that, Captain. But I'm sure you've been informed that some classified…items were involved. I can't say more, because it’s a delicate matter. Nothing will interfere with you and or you making a proper case," he added, trying his charm, although by his eyes you could see he was at the end of his rope.

"Halls," Captain Nigel shouted and waited until the young man, dressed in a slightly better looking blue suit, came running up.

"Yes, sir."

"Long story short, this…matter is being turned over to the…I can't believe I'm saying this…the Air Force…" he held up a hand to silence any protests. “Get those…slime-balls out of here and then tell our men to wait outside for further instructions."

The young man looked confused, but he nodded. "Okay, Captain. But I was going to inform you, Wellington said that they busted the lock on the door, it's going to have to be torched open…though they should have enough air in there to last them."

"What about drilling a whole and feeding them oxygen to be sure," Captain Nigel asked.

"Blowtorches and Oxygen don't usually make a good combination," Sam interjected, "but we'll consider it, depending on what our people suggest," she added, not sure what they were going to do as of yet.

"Fine," Captain Nigel huffed and left, taking most of his people with him.

"Carter, how long until our people arrive," Jack asked, his shoulder's sagging a bit as he relaxed his stance.

"Another fifteen minutes, sir," she replied, noticing how pale the General was looking. "Doctor. Richards is also coming just in case," she added.

“Secure the video tape," Jack instructed, "Pete, see that everyone is out and kept away from the doors as best you can until our people arrive, if you please," he added, knowing he couldn't order Pete around.

"You got it," Pete replied and moved to see that everyone was out of the way.

"Jack…"

"Danny, there is more going on here…I feel it and we're cutting it close as it is…I feel that too. Please, don't ask me to explain, I can't," Jack said, looking at his lover, knowing his concern. He reached up, not caring what anyone thought, and caressed his face. "I love you, Danny, but can you really…"

Daniel knew what Jack was going to say, and cut him off, "No, Jack, I couldn't stop you from helping, just like you couldn't stop me," he replied honestly. He looked around, "Let’s go."

Daniel led Jack to the safe, since he could see that Jack was feeling tired He watched Jack run his hands over the door as if feeling it out. He could see the shot blast to the time lock and code keypad and wondered what his lover was going to do that the others couldn't.

Jack's fingers caressed the door his eyes closing if sensing for something, then they slowly started to glow and become still, his left up high over his head near the doorframe, and the right at an angle low, also glowing. It seemed to last forever, Jack holding that pose, his eyes shut, but slowly he moved his hands, but they dragged as if they were pulling something heavy, like a wheel that need to be turned or two bars that needed to be pulled as one…and that's when it started again; the blood.

Daniel wanted to pull Jack away, but he knew he couldn't, that Jack wouldn't forgive himself, for letting Daniel pull him away and stop him from saving these people. So he stood there and watched as his lover strain and struggle and grew weaker before his eyes.

"What's he doing," Sam demanded, but was silenced by a gesture from Daniel.

"Getting them out," he said as he heard a loud click and a thunk, the door shifting only a little to indicate it was open. Daniel moved quickly and caught his lover before he hit the floor and moved him aside, and took the same thick cloth he used before to mop up the blood, thankful it wasn't as heavy as the first time in the Mountain.

He looked up to see Sam open the large heavy safe door and smoke bellowed out as did coughs and gasps…the people were dying in there and had they waited, it really would have been too late. "Oh love," he whispered softly, holding his unconscious lover in his arms as Sam helped the people out just as their people showed up. "What's happening to you," he asked to no one in particular and rocked his lover gently, letting his own tears of fear and confusion flow, for he didn't have to be an Ancient to know…that what was to come was going to be bad.

**************

Being here was an act of a desperate man, and that was just what he was, as he once more stepped foot in the now abandoned temple where he first met Oma Desala and Shifu, the Harsesis child, but Daniel was out of options. The last 'stunt' that Jack pulled a miracle for the people in the bank left Jack in a coma. He was really dying now. Thor said that his using the energy stored up in his body had precipitated the process and since it could no longer produce the energy needed, it…his body, was shutting down. Sam had tried the Goa'uld hand device and there was no effect, and Daniel had suggested trying to contact the Nox as Dr Richards suggested regular stasis, but each got shot down one after another by Thor, who stated he and his people had thought of all this during their search for a ZPM for the Ancient outpost, for one reason or another they would not work.

Seeing his lover, his love so still with little hope surrounding him, Daniel had gone to Hammond with an idea, a 'last ditch effort,' as he called it, but it was just something to do. He just couldn't do nothing. So, here he was, entering the temple, Teal'c and SG-3 outside, while Sam and Pete were with Jack, keeping an eye on him, for at this rate, he had little over a week left if that. Amazingly, it looked as if they had only been there yesterday, the skeletal remains of the dead Jaffa were still present, as was the empty robe of the former caretaker of the temple, and there was no dust inside. Slowly Daniel moved within, removing his boots and moved once more into the circle and looked at the candle, trying to empty his mind and recall the lessons he had learned to light it or rather let Oma light it.

He had no idea how long he was in there trying to focus his mind, to control his thoughts that were mingled with silent prayers of help and anguish over losing the man he loved with all his being, but Teal'c's soft but deep voice brought him back to the present. He blinked and saw it was dark outside as Teal'c stood in the doorway, not coming fully inside, as he didn't remove his boots. "Teal'c," he called out to let the Jaffa know he had heard him.

"Have you had any success in contacting Oma Desala," Teal'c asked, though his voice calm, it was there in his eyes, just how desperate he too was for any hope for his friend.

Daniel shook his head, "No."

"Do you wish to stay longer and continue?" Teal'c asked.

"No, it's late and I want to get back to Jack," Daniel replied firmly, moving to gather his boots, and sat on the little edge of the circle, seeing Teal'c bow his head in understanding and move to wait for him outside.

Once his boots were on, Daniel gave the place one more look around, "I don't know if you can hear me, and you may still be mad at me…but Jack…" he blinked back his emotions. "You made sure I didn't remember much, only what interactions I had with them…but I do recall what you said when you caught me trying to help Jack when he was in Baa'l's hands…you said he was more important to Earth than they could imagine…has that changed? Is this my fault this is happening," Daniel asked out loud, some anger and hurt coming across.

"A man's destiny is like a star within the heavens. Though it seems fixed, it is not," the melodic voice that Daniel knew so well filled the air around him.

Daniel turned and saw Oma in her human form, one she rarely took, and was moved and heartened that not only was she there, but she was speaking to him. "Jack's in trouble," he said in desperation.

Oma nodded that she understood, only her eyes giving any sense of emotion or concern. "The rules haven't changed, Daniel, I can not interfere…"

"Please, just…tell me where I can find a ZPM, we'll get it ourselves…please, he's…he's dying," Daniel begged.

Daniel felt on edge as Oma only stared at him for the longest time, and it took all his willpower not to react. Daniel needed her help, but he didn’t know whether he had to jump, scream or beg to get it. "I can not," she finally stated, her eyes sad at this comment.

Daniel felt the weight of failure upon his shoulders like never before and the tears fell freely. "This is my fault," he sobbed softly. "They're punishing him for my actions…"

"No, Daniel, that is not true…"

Daniel's head snapped up, "Then help him," he demanded and sobbed, his pain and anguish clear upon his face. "Please," he begged.

"Daniel…" she started only to be cut off.

"I know, I know, you can't interfere," he snarled, anger replacing pain. "Then what the hell good are you," he demanded. "I didn't see it then, and I don't see it now."

"Enough," Oma snapped back, the first sign of emotion reaching her face, and it was anger and hurt at Daniel's words. "There is more to this than you understand…child…" she replied harshly. Then seeming to compose herself, "I can not interfere anymore than you did," she stated. "What will be, will be," she added, and then she glowed and vanished.

Daniel felt drained and exhausted; he had failed. The weight of his failure overcame his body and he fell to his knees and sobbed. Suddenly he was being lifted up and he noticed that Teal'c had been helping him up, assisting him to stand. "I failed…they won't help," he sobbed softly. "It's my fault…"

"No, Daniel Jackson, it is not your fault this occurred or the lack of actions of others," Teal'c stated easily but firmly as this he believed. "We need to return," he added. Then seeing a nod of agreement from Daniel, he gave the young man a chance to pull himself together before leading him outside and back to the SGC.

Once through the gate, Daniel saw Major General Hammond, Sam and Paul, who obviously arrived back from Washington DC, waiting for him. He knew they could read failure upon his face by the guarded looks upon theirs. "I tried," he whispered, as he got close.

"You talked to her," Sam asked, wondering just how close Daniel had come on this desperate adventure.

"I talked to her…she said she couldn't interfere…" Daniel shook his head, "…No more than I could," he finished, feeling drained.

"Were those her exact words, Daniel Jackson," Teal'c asked, now hearing what had transpired between the ascended Ancient and the young archeologist.

"Sort of," Daniel confirmed, wanting nothing more than to crawl into bed and sleep forever, curled up with his lover, Jack. He was about to ask how Jack was when he noticed a strange look in Teal'c's eyes, which he seemed to be sharing with Sam, "What?" he asked not catching it.

"Yes, I'd like to know as well," Hammond asked, seeing the look as well.

"She said she could not interfere any more than you could…or did which as you recalled, was indeed helpful. Could that mean she may still help, although in a limited way." Teal'c clarified. "After all, it was you who 'inspired' Jonas Quinn, Colonel Carter and myself to assist in O'Neill's escape from Baa'l's fortress."

For the first time in what felt like ages, Daniel felt a small spark of hope flare up within him. It showed in the small smile he gave. "That I did," he nodded, and then looked at the others. "I'm not sure what she is or can do, but if Teal'c is right then all hope is not gone."

"So what do we do now," Paul asked, just as concerned for General O'Neill as the rest of the people at the SGC.

"The most difficult thing of all," Teal'c stated, and met everyone's gaze, "We wait."

*******************

Day turned into night which turned back into day, four times and there was little change. Jack never awoke from his coma, his body weakening by the day, in another day or so, he would need assistance to keep going before his body began to deteriorate. Daniel was beside himself, but glad for Sam, Pete, Paul, and Teal'c's support while Hammond did his best to keep things going.

Dr. Richards had learned a lot under the feisty Dr. Janet Fraser, including all about the SG-1 watch as it was called, although more and more teams followed this unwritten protocol. She had had Jack moved to a private room with another bed, so Daniel could stay with him, but at least he could lie down. This was greatly facilitated by the doctor who wasn’t above slipping sedatives into his coffee. Between the others and the staff in the commissary, a small flow of food was paraded through the infirmary, and again, Daniel was forced to eat under threat of being locked in a cell away from Jack. She wasn't above playing dirty anymore than Janet was, as she knew it was for Daniel's own good, and in some ways she believed for Jack's. She believed that in some way the General could tell he wasn't alone and was surrounded by those who loved him. She also was no fool, but also like Janet, kept such things to herself and if and when this crisis passed, she'd be sure she was the one to run the two men's physicals in the future.

"Coffee," she offered as she came in to check on the General, knowing full well little had changed for the good. The monitors would have alerted her in case of any change in Jack’s condition.

"I don't want to sleep anymore," Daniel groused, sitting in a chair next to Jack, not caring who saw him holding his hand.

Dr. Richards laughed, "It’s okay," she replied and proceeded to take a tiny sip of the hot black coffee, not her favorite, to prove it. Then she handed it over to Daniel who took it willingly. "I'm sure by now that you know that you have the full power of attorney…" she started, knowing she had to approach this at some point.

Daniel nodded, "yeah, he told me a while back…" then he looked up, fire burning deep in his eyes along with determination, "not until the last possible minute," he said firmly. "As long as he's fighting so am I…I won't terminate Jack’s life until the there’s no hope left." He turned his head, trying not to cry. He was finally done with that, his eyes only hurt now, but no more tears came.

Richards nodded, "I thought as much, but I needed to hear it from you," she said softly.

"Hey, Daniel," Sam replied warmly though still softly as she came into the room, seeing Richards and him having an intense moment. "Is everything okay?"

"His condition is still deteriorating, but he's still stable at the moment," Richards replied, then with a nod left the two alone.

"What's that all about," Sam asked, moving next to Daniel, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder, wishing she could take the pain away from her little brother, but she couldn't take her own away much less his.

"Without a lot of words, Richards basically let me know that Jack will probably be needing more help to keep going and if I wanted that to occur," he answered her, rubbing his red eyes and standing to stretch his aching body; stiff from sitting and missing his lover.

"Crap, I forgot he gave you power of attorney," she cursed to herself, then looked at Daniel, "and…?"

"As long as he's fighting so am I, Sam. He would never give up on us, and I'm not going to give up on him," he replied in a half choked voice. He turned into Sam's embrace, accepting her warmth, letting her shed the tears he no longer could. "Stupid, stubborn, son-of-a-bitch," he growled in her arms. "Always the fucking hero!"

Sam rubbed her hands up and down Daniel's back, "He'd never agree with that you know," she replied, holding as much of the pain back as possible so she could be there for Daniel.

Daniel moved back, "What, that's he's an S.O.B?"

Sam smiled and chucked, "No, he'd be the first to agree to that. No, it's about him being a hero. He told me once; a hero is a fool that only lived to tell about his actions. He never saw himself as anything, but a man that did what needed to be done."

"That would be my definition of a hero, Sam," Daniel smiled sadly, looking at his pale and frail lover.

The sound of the klaxons filled the air. "No one is scheduled back," Sam replied with deep thought, already moving to the exit.

Torn, Daniel, couldn't help but feel compelled to see what was happening either, knowing that Doctor Richard and the nurses were keeping a good eye on Jack, followed Sam out and up to the control room.

They entered in time to see the iris opening, and Hammond standing over Sergeant Davis. He turned to see Sam, "It's the Tok'ra," he said, a little smile, since it had been awhile since they had heard from them or Sam had heard from her father. Then he turned back to the Stargate and sensed Sam and Daniel moving up along side of him, to see who came through the gate. Seeing a lone man, dressed in long pale robes, hooded, carrying a medium size box in one hand and a satchel over his right shoulder, which gave no clue as to who their visitor was. As one, the three moved and hurried down to the gate room, where the hooded figure waited, along with several SF's weapons still trained on him.

As the three approached a slightly familiar voice came forth, "Ah, Doctor Jackson, good to see your back among the land of the living as it were."

"Um, do I know you?" Daniel asked.

"I'm General Hammond," the General started to stay, only to be cutoff.

"I'm actually hurt," the voice said in a slightly mocking tone, then the figure reached up and pushed the hood back and all three gasped.

"Maybourne!"

"You have a lot of nerve coming back here, Maybourne," Hammond growled, ready to call the guards.

"How did you get a Tok'ra GDO?" Sam demanded.

"Why are you back here?" Daniel asked, curious as to why a man, wanted for treason would come back.

"So many questions, and not one how do you do," Harry quipped, his eyes guarded, though he wouldn't show his nervousness at being where he was. "So…" he looked around, "Where's my buddy Jack, I'd like to see his face seeing me here," he grinned, but it didn't reach is eyes.

"General O'Neill is not available," Hammond snapped, and gestured for the SF's to come forth so he could have this man arrested.

"Wait," Harry stated seriously, then looked at Daniel. "He's dying isn't he?" he asked.

Daniel blinked and looked at the man, the traitor, who Jack had told him helped them more times than they suspected over the years although his motives were unknown. Then Daniel realized that it was a statement, not a real question. "How did you know?" he queried.

Harry was silent a long minute, "General, before arresting me, if you'd give me a few minutes, I'd like to explain a few things, then…well, I'm sure you have a nice cozy cell with my name still waiting," he finished, trying to put up the same humorous barrier Jack would do at stressful times.

"Please, General," Daniel pleaded. In his gut, he sensed Harry's return was no accident. "At least let us hear him out, I mean, he came back with a reason right?"

Hammond nodded, and gestured Maybourne to follow, along with the guards, and they headed to the debriefing room. The guards were standing outside. Hammond took a seat, "Okay, explain," he ordered.

"Do you mind," Harry asked, nodding to the coffee pot. "It seems that Earth is the only place you can find a decent cup of coffee," he smiled, and with a nod, got himself one.

"Don't I know it," Daniel agreed, taking a seat across from Sam. He watched the man pour and savor a cup of the cheap coffee. //Wonder if that is what I look like with the good stuff,// he mused, seeing Harry savor the brew as if he was having sex. Daniel shivered at that thought, and he pushed it aside.

"You're trying my patience, Maybourne," the General said firmly.

"Sorry," Harry smiled, taking a larger sip, then moved to the far end and placed the medium-sized box on the table and laid his satchel next to it. "What I'm going to say may sound…bizarre, but since this is the SGC…perhaps not," he shrugged. "Though before I begin, there is something I'm going to tell you, that I would very much…'like' to keep between us, if you don't mind."

"Look, Maybourne…"

"It's about Jack…General O'Neill…" he snickered, "That's a kicker, bet he never saw that coming," he said more to himself then anyone in particular. Then he looked up and met Hammond's eyes with seriousness, "I didn't come back to hurt his career."

Hammond held up a hand, "For the moment, I'll keep silent, but I won't make any promises until I hear everything…that's as far as I'm going in this matter. Now…," he gestured for Maybourne to get with the program.

"Okay. What you may or may not know is, after our little…vacation," he smiled at Sam, knowing she was probably still angry with him at his zatting her on that planet, which got him and Jack stuck on their planet…moon…for a little while, "…Jack let me go with the Tok'ra," he stated easily, but kept an eye on Hammond to gauge his reaction. He couldn't tell if Hammond knew this or not, so proceeded. "Anyway, I wanted a clean break as it were, and they were most…accommodating, put me on a semi-backwards planet, no Stargate, but did have some space travel…nice folks the Travena's…you'd like them, Doctor Jackson, very laid back…"

"What does that have to do with why you’re here," Sam asked, wanting to know more about the Tok'ra and her father instead of listen to this man prattle.

"See you've picked up Jack's patience or lack of it," Harry smirked, and then looked at the others. "I'm getting to it…bear with me. Anyway to make a long story short, I did some exploring of my own and discovered some interesting places, but nothing…" he bobbed his head from side to side, as if deciding what to say, "Of any real…interest…" he grinned.

"You didn't find any huge honking space guns, you mean," Daniel, asked, channeling his lover, a faint smile coming to his lips.

Harry laughed, "Correct. I did however find a lovely lady, Narina, who…by some very slim chance, I'm still hoping to get back too. After all, I don't think she'd forgive me if I wasn't there when our child was born," he tossed out, pleased he shocked them all.

"You…you got married," Sam gasped as if it was the strangest thing she’d ever heard.

"What, you thought I was incapable of such things?" he asked lightly, though his eyes showed some anger and hurt. "Well, you'd be wrong. I left wanting to start a new life and I did just that."

"Why did you risk coming back here, if you have a family on the way?" Daniel asked, really trying to grasp some clue about what motivated this man.

Harry let out a deep breath, finished his coffee and started to open the medium-sized box. "Again, long story short, I had a dream. Jack was dying, and in the dream only I could help," he said while lifting the lid. "In the dream, you needed this, and since I happen to know where one was, I felt compelled to bring it to you. Hearing that Jack 'is' dying…well…" he left his words hang as he pulled out a fairly large item wrapped in a cloth and started to unwrap it.

Sam gasped, Hammond whispered a prayer and Daniel grinned ear to ear, "A ZPM," he stated, moving out of his chair over to Harry, only to look back at Sam and the General. "He brought a ZPM…" he chuckled with relief and joy.

"I'm taking it, it was more than a dream then," Harry asked, seeing the joy spread across the three faces before him. "This 'will' save Jack…right?"

"Sam," Daniel asked as she too had moved from her seat to examine it.

"It looks perfectly good, but I'll have to run a few tests just to be sure," she said, looking at both Daniel and Hammond. "Make sure it's not tampered with…"

"I resent that, Major," Harry growled, his eyes serious.

"It's Lieutenant Colonel, and I wasn't suggesting that you’d do anything to it, Maybourne," Sam replied firmly.

"Harry, we found one which had been with tampered by the Goa'uld," Daniel explained to ease the tension.

"Oh…well, I don't think that will be the case, though the Goa'uld were briefly on the planet I found this on, they never saw it, as it was buried under a lot of rubble…" he handed over the ZPM to Sam. "There were also some scrolls, which I couldn't even begin to read, so I brought them too," he added, sliding over the satchel to Daniel. Then he looked up at Hammond, "before you lead me to my cell, can I see him," he asked, his tone even, but the sincerity clear.

Hammond eyed the man in front of him, wondering just 'who' this man really was, for he knew he was a marked traitor, but yet…time and time again he had come to help SG-1 out of a bind in particular to help Jack. It didn't surprise him to know the kind of loyalty Jack could inspire in people, particularly not after Teal'c's sudden leap of faith to follow O'Neill across the galaxy and into unending battles against the Goa'uld. Now, Maybourne risked everything to bring the very thing they needed to save Jack; no, he didn't get the man at all. "That can be arranged, son," he said then nodded to the guard that was keeping vigil by the door. "Escort him to the infirmary, where he can get cleared, then let him visit General O'Neill for a few minutes. Then escort him to one of the VIP suites and see to it he stays there until further notice. See that he gets what he needs to be made comfortable," the General ordered.

"That's most hospitable," Harry smirked, knowing it was as much of a thank you as he was going to get from these people, but he was okay with it. "You mind telling me before I go just how this will save him? Doesn't look like much?"

"When you're settled, Harry, I'll fill you in on what I can," Daniel promised, overjoyed and feeling he owed this man everything.

That was good enough for Harry and he left with the guards, with no fuss involved. "Sir, permission…"

"Granted, Colonel, make sure we have a safe and viable ZPM, if so, Contact the outpost let them know we're coming," Hammond informed her.

"Yes, sir," she smiled and dashed off with her precious cargo.

"General, permission to contact the Asgard, let them know," Daniel inquired.

"Please do, Doctor Jackson. Meanwhile I'll inform Doctor Richards of what is happening so she can get Jack ready for transport," he grinned, the hope beaming in his eyes as he left.

Daniel stood alone in the room and slowly picked up the satchel with what Harry said were scrolls written by the Ancients. He looked upward, "Thank you, Oma, thank you," he grinned, and in his heart, he begged for her forgiveness for his harsh words. The slight breeze in the room let him know she had heard him and was watching over them. She had helped and walked the line. So now, Jack had a chance.

************

Daniel walked into Jack's room, feeling very hopeful, having just contacted the Asgard, who was very happy to hear the news. Thor volunteered to help with the transport and would be arriving soon. He was slightly surprised to see Harry there, now dressed in green BDU's keeping a quiet vigil of his own in the chair next to Jack, the guard outside.

"Harry," Daniel said softly, letting the man know he was there, though he probably did already, he’d been trained a lot like Jack.

Harry got up as if knowing the seat was Daniel's, "The doctor said I could visit for ten minutes…said he hasn't come out of the coma. What's wrong with him?" Harry asked, and Daniel could see the deep concern in the dark eyes before him.

"A lot has happened, Harry since you left," he smiled gently. "I don't even know where to begin. All I can say is…he once more put his life on the line to save Earth and we though he would die for sure this time, but…resourceful as ever he found a way to survive…" Daniel looked at Jack with love and tenderness and then some guilt. "The Asgard would say its their fault, I would say it's my fault, but…" he sighed, then faced Harry again. "We found the Ancients, Harry, or should I say their technology again…"

"You mean like when he got that download thing…" Harry asked, having kept apprised of what had been going on with the SGC, up to his departure.

"Yes, exactly, but this time, instead of going to the Asgard for it to be erased, he…he overcame the instinct and helped us defeat Anubis…Ah…another whopping System Lord…" Daniel waved his hand to indicate that didn't matter. "Anyway, afterwards, Jack was dying and he found or located this chamber…we thought it was a simple stasis unit…it wasn't. The Asgard were in trouble from the Replicators…"

"Those things still around?" Harry asked, knowing how destructive they were.

"Oh yeah," Daniel replied, not going into how they were more dangerous now than ever, now having had time to evolve. "They were attacking the Asgard's new homeworld…they needed help, which they thought the Ancient knowledge could help…I wanted Jack free of his prison…bottom line, we pulled him out too soon."

"Why didn't you just put him back in then?" Harry asked, though he didn't have any accusations in his tone, just confusion.

"Ah…well, see, we thought Jack was okay because the Asgard had erased the knowledge once more after Jack helped saved their planet, and then we found Atlantis…"

"Wait…you found…Atlantis?" Harry found himself retaking the seat behind him. "Where?"

"Well, seems it's in another galaxy…Pegasus to be exact," Daniel smiled, a touch of excitement of that discovery showing on his face, and then it faded. "A world wide expedition was gathered by the U.N. or I should say those countries now appraised of the Stargate program, and knowing it might be a one way trip, they used the Stargate and went there…"

"Ah…let me guess, it drained this…ZPM…" Harry nodded in understanding, looking at Jack fighting for his life in the bed, looking so frail and old; it was difficult to imagine that this man could kill him in an instant if he had ever wanted too. "But now he can go back in and he'll be alright…right?"

"Harry," Daniel said softly, "Why did you come back," he asked, really wanting to know. "I mean…you have a family on the way…you knew you were still wanted…"

Harry looked down at the floor then up at Daniel and gave his charming smile, which let Daniel know he wasn't going to get an answer. "Some things are best left unexplained."

"Brother," came a raspy voice.

Both men turned to see Jack had his eyes open and looking at them. Daniel hit the call button and moved to the otherside of the bed. "Jack," he smiled lovingly.

"What seems to be…oh my goodness," the nurse gasped, seeing Jack awake. "I'll get the doctor," she announce before dashing out of the room.

Jack slowly raised his right hand, ignoring the IV line and gestured to his mouth. Daniel was on the ball and moved to the door to ask for ice chips and dashed back to his side, "They'll be here in a moment," he smiled, glad to see Jack awake. "Good news…we have ZPM…thanks to Harry here," he informed his lover.

Jack turned to Harry and smiled, reaching out with his right hand and gently clasped Harry's wrist. "I know," he rasped, just as the nurse and Doctor Richards came rushing in, the nurse handing Daniel the cup of ice chips with the plastic spoon, while the Doctor gave a quick examination of the General.

After a long moment, Richards nodded with a small smile, "Stable, but still not well," she told both men, then gestured that Daniel could give Jack his ice chips. "I'll inform General Hammond," she grinned, also having heard the good news about the ZPM.

"I should go," Harry said, attempting to free his wrist from Jack's grip, while Daniel spoon fed him ice chips, but Jack didn't release him and he didn't pull too hard to get away. "Look, Jack, as I said some things…"

"Need to be spoken of," Jack finished for Harry. "I found the picture, Harry…I know."

"Know what…Jack, what's going on," Daniel asked, confused and feeling very protective of his lover.

Jack still looked and sounded weak as he blinked and took a few breaths, "show him," he ordered Harry, hoping he would comply.

After a long moment of hesitation, Harry pulled out his wallet, still with him after all this time and reached into some hidden folds and pulled out a laminated old photo and handed it to Daniel. "I'm not sure if I'm too keen on knowing you searched my person while I was unconscious," he joked with Jack, to cover up his insecurities.

Daniel looked at the picture; "I don't recognize the woman, or the baby, but the guy…he looks…" he looked up at Harry then at Jack, "a lot like your dad."

"It is," Jack rasped his voice still weak, his body fighting for him to go back to sleep, but Jack felt this was important and resisted.

Daniel was slow at times, but he was use to thinking out of the box, and after a moment, it all fell together, "you're Jack's half-brother?"

"Nobody, outside of the two of you…on Earth knows…well Narina knows," he smiled warmly. Seeing Jack's brow arch, "My wife…I finally did it, Jack. I met someone I loved, got married and we have a kid on the way…you're going to be an uncle soon."

"Way to go, Harry," Jack beamed, very pleased to hear that Harry had taken advantage of the break Jack gave him and did something positive with his life.

"So…that's why you always helped out…" Daniel stated, now seeing the full picture.

"I admit, I was not always…found of Jack," he grinned, then met Daniel's eyes as he continued, "having a bit of resentment with my father staying with his mother, leaving mine to marry some ass, but eventually…I got over it," he smiled warmly at his brother. "Walter Maybourne was not the best of fathers, but he and my mother stressed one thing before they passed…the value of family. The reason I never got one, since I chose service instead…but over the years…" he shrugged, then looked at Jack, "I learned how true it was. Besides, someone had to keep him out of trouble."

All three laughed, though Jack's was weak. Then the took Harry's hand, reaching for it again, then took Daniel's and put them together over his chest, "Family," he said, not much strength for much more, and he didn't care what anyone else thought, but he was hoping for the best from these too men.

"I understand, Jack," Daniel nodded, looking at Harry to see if he did.

Harry took a moment, then grinned, "I wondered how long it would be, gave up when I though you were gone," he said to Daniel, then nodded. "Family, Jack. Not sure what I can do from a prison cell, but I'll do what I can to look out for him," Harry promised.

"Don't worry, Harry, we'll find a way to get you back to your family…our nephew or niece," he beamed and vowed, then looked to see Jack nod, and lost the fight to stay awake. "Jack…"

Harry took his hand and placed it on Daniel's shoulder, reaching over the bed, "Let him rest. He did what he needed too, now it's up to us to do what we need to, and that's get him situated into that…thing. How long is he going to be in there anyway?"

"I honestly don't know Harry…I honestly don't know how long or what's going to happen. I mean…its changing him, Harry. Oh, not in bad ways, but…he won't be the same…"

"But he'll be alive, right?"

"Right," Daniel agreed and then moved aside, seeing the nurses and Doctor Richards coming in to prepare him for transport. "I take it, we have a go," he asked, meaning the ZPM had to be a good one.

"We have a go and General Hammond said Thor is here waiting to take those going to the outpost."

"Wish I could go…but…"

"Let me see what I can do, Harry," Daniel grinned with hope.

Harry moved to the door with Daniel, seeing the SF nearby and aware of the medical staff behind them. "What we discussed…it would be best all around if…it stayed here." Seeing the question in Daniel's eyes, "We both have a lot of enemies, Daniel…me more so. Plus, think about it…sometimes…association isn't always a good thing," he stated, before letting the guard take him away to his room.

Daniel understood. Harry Maybourne, had enemies that would use Jack against him as Jack had enemies that would love to know he was related to a traitor, which would hurt his career in a heartbeat. He shook his head, //one thing at a time,// he thought, knowing he needed to gather his things for the transfer. He would talk with General Hammond, but he didn't see time to push it, as he had to make sure he had enough for his stay…he would be staying at the Ancient Outpost with Jack, whether they liked it or not. Hell, he already knew where all the survival equipment was stored so if he had too, he'd take it and do it on his own…he wasn't leaving Jack…and that was that!

"Daniel."

He turned to see Paul Davis heading down the hall and smiled, when the man caught up to him. "Is it true…we have a ZPM?"

"Yes and we're getting ready to transfer him with Thor's help in a little while," Daniel confirmed.

"That's wonderful. I better get on the horn and make sure all the security is in place," he grinned.

"Security," Daniel asked, for he knew, even without the ZPM, the Outpost was still in use for study and highly secured. This sounded…off to him, "what security?"

"Didn't General Hammond tell you," Paul asked, wondering if he was stepping on some toes, not meaning too.

"Tell me what," Daniel said firmly, meaning if Paul knew what was good for him, he'd spill.

"Ah…well, General O'Neill has been…reclassified," he said softly.

"What does that mean," Daniel demanded, not liking the sound of it one bit and pulled Paul over to the wall so they could speak.

"Um…it means…Daniel, it's been determined that at present, he's the only one standing between us and the Goa'uld should they return, even with a ZPM for the chair, no one else has managed to control one missile…he's…valuable…"

"Paul…Jack O'Neill has 'always' been valuable," Daniel snapped.

"Daniel, you know I agree, but to the Joint Chiefs…he's military…which means…" he tried to explain.

"Jack has 'NEVER' been expendable," Daniel growls, "Not before and not now!"

"Please, Daniel, I'm just telling what's going on. He's one of a kind…"

"Oh no you don't…" Daniel warned. "He may be going into that chamber to save his live, but I'll be dammed if I'll let him come out only to be placed under some lock and key or become someone's damn experiment…no FUCKING WAY," he snarled.

"Daniel, they only want to look out for him…"

"Who the fuck do you think your kidding, Davis," Daniel raged, using Paul's last name to emphasize just how angry he was. "They don't give a rat's ass about him, only what he can do for them and we 'both' know it! I can't believe General Hammond didn’t tell me about this?"

"I'm beginning to see why," Paul muttered to himself, knowing he was going to get an earful from the General, as he clearly could see why nothing was said. "Look…the security there is 'only there' to protect him while he's in the chamber, that's the 'only' orders I'm aware of…honest."

"Paul…you know Jack thinks of you as one of us…right?" Seeing Paul nod, he continued. "You know he doesn't accept 'outsiders' too easily…so you know how much he's come to trust you, right?" Again seeing Paul nod, he continued, "Then please…dig, find out what they 'really' have planned for him. You better than anyone knows how…dirty they play, when 'they' think they're in the right. We also know how often they don't have a fucking clue to what is right…right?"

Taking a moment, Paul thought about it, and knowing about politicians like Kinsey were still out there, still in power and still had an ear to the President…he knew Daniel was right. He also knew how hard it was to earn his 'acceptance' not only by the SGC or SG-1, but General O'Neill himself; it changed him and he believed for the better. "Okay, I'll do what I can…but please…please don't mention it was me that told you or I'll get locked out so fast it won't be funny…if you know what I mean."

"Deal," Daniel agreed, and shook Paul's hand and clasped him on the shoulder. "Now, I have to get ready to go."

"Good luck," Paul wished him and turned to leave, deciding 'not' to visit the infirmary after all….he was never here.

Now Daniel had a lot more to do…pack, talk with Hammond about Harry and inform Harry of what was happening. He didn't know if the former Colonel could do a thing, but Jack made them promise…they were family, and family stuck together….that was SG-1's motto along with no one gets left behind, and he dashed off to see what he could do before they left and Jack placed back into the chamber again.

*************

It had been painful for Daniel to watch Jack be put into the chamber, not only the act itself, but Jack had to be awakened, so he could stand…long enough for the chamber to take hold and seal him in. Jack looked so weak, but barely managed, and then once more he was sealed behind the barrier, this time his eyes closed, making him look even more vulnerable than before.

After a few days the barrier froze over like before, and he could barely see Jack inside, but the machine faintly hummed and there was little anyone else could do. Daniel, having argued, raged and threatened six ways from Sunday had been allowed to be reassigned to the Ancient Outpost, though he still worked on translations for the SGC along with other works still being discovered…and time passed.

It had taken a lot of pushing and a touch of emotional blackmail, per se, reminding the President of just what Harry had done for Earth, getting him to see it made up for his other actions, which though not condoned, still had been for Earth, not against…in their own twisted way. But Harry had gotten his pardon…quietly, and allowed to leave, with the strong request of not returning. Harry had given Daniel his 'address' and hoped they'd visit soon. He also explained to Sam that the Tok'ra gave him the G.D.O. a while ago, in case he wanted to come back, but he had not heard from them in ages, but he would see what he could do…Daniel knew he'd come through, after all, deep down, he really was an O'Neill.

Fall gave way to winter, which was now giving way to spring, and though in some ways things continued to change, some things remained the same…Daniel being a workaholic being one of them. SG-1 for all purpose and concern was on hiatus as it were, Sam doing her research, though still helping in the training of the new recruits…Jack had taught her well, and they thought of her as the best thing since baked bread. Teal'c also helped as best he could, but after the attack from the bastards that stole the gate and used the symbiot poison, Master Bra'tac, Ry'ac and himself had their hands full with the Jaffa resistance, but it never kept Teal'c away long. He came by twice a month to see how Daniel was doing and if there had been any change. As luck would have it, today was one of those days and the two friends were sitting in the makeshift commissary, comparing notes on the ways of the galaxy at large.

"I'm glad you're able to reach more of the Jaffa," Daniel commented warmly, glad to see their struggle was going well, as new people joined and some old ones stepped up to the plate to stand in for their fallen leaders in their fight to be free.

"As am I, Daniel Jackson," Teal'c nodded, a small smile on his now bearded face, though not like the patch of fuzz he bore before, no. Jack teased the Jaffa unmercifully until Teal'c shaved it. No, now it was a full trim goatee which looked rather dashing on the Jaffa's face and went well with a full head of hair…Jack would be beside himself at the sight. "The struggle continues, but we gain more everyday, not only with the efforts of Master Bra'tac and Ry'ac, but the legend of O'Neill and the adventures of SG-1 have inspired many villages on many planets to join our fight."

Daniel laughed, thinking of Jack as a legend, for Teal'c had told him of the various tales circulating, and though it featured all of SG-1, the 'fearless leader' Jack O'Neill hero of the Tauri' starred. He wiped away some of the crumbs from the bagel he had been eating from his own goatee; something Teal'c talked him into growing. "I wonder what Jack would have to say about all this," he replied warmly.

"I look forward to that day as well," Teal'c nodded.

"There you are," a female voice called out.

Daniel and Teal'c looked up and saw Sam enter the room smiling her mega watt smile. "Sam!"

Both men stood as Sam approached and hugged both of them, first Daniel, then Teal'c. "I brought company," she glowed and turned just as her father entering the makeshift commissary looking as good as ever, dressed in BDU's like Sam.

"Jacob," Daniel called out and moved to give the man a half hug, "It's been ages. "What's been happening?"

"Not as much as I would like," Jacob replied honestly, glad to see the young archeologist and turned to bid hello to Teal'c. "Selmak and myself are still battling the council to reaffirm the treaty with the Earth and the Resistance, but…" he shook his head. "Seems stupidity is a galactic trait," he added warmly.

"If the Tok'ra council is not reaffirming the treaty with Earth, how did you get here…I mean, you had permission, right," Daniel asked, concerned for Sam's father and his friend.

"Sort of," Jacob smiled mischievously. "I ran into a friend of yours…gave me a helping hand so I could come visit…unofficially of course."

"Harry," Daniel nodded, knowing this was the case. "You're taking quiet a risk."

Jacob hugged his daughter, "I know, but I 'had to'," he replied honestly, sharing a tender look of love with her. "Heard I'm going to be getting a son-in-law," he grinned.

"Pete is still out of town, but I called to see if he could get back in a couple of days so you could meet him," Sam grinned. "I just hope…"

Jacob looked serious but sincere, "I'll do my best Sammy, you know I wouldn't willingly miss your wedding…now that I know about it."

"We are glad you were able to get away," Teal'c bowed his head. "How is Harry Maybourne," he inquired, knowing it was Harry who was responsible for saving O'Neill's life.

"He sent something he wanted you guys to see," Jacob grinned and pulled out a small cube and pressed his thumb on the center of one of the squares and it seem to come to life, like watching a mini-movie.

"Hey guys," said Maybourne dressed in similar pale robes as he had arrived, standing next to a woman who looked very human like, with light brown hair and dark eyes, with a European quality to her, holding a baby wrapped up in a white blanket. "If you're seeing this, then Jacob got through. This is Narina, my wife and this," he glowed as she unwrapped the child and a beautiful baby boy was shown sleeping. "This is my son...Jonathan Charles…" Harry grinned, "…Maybourne. Jack for short, just like his uncle," Harry beamed proudly. "Hope you're watching this Jack, as the kid's going to need someone to teach him how to play baseball and hockey…never was my thing." Harry looked at his wife and whispered something and she looked up and smiled shyly, "I want to thank you for returning my husband to us and I look forward to meeting his…SG-1…" she looked at Harry who nodded, "…SG-1 family." Then with a wave, the picture faded and the cube went blank.

"Well…what do you know," Daniel grinned proudly.

"What does Maybourne mean, the General's an uncle," Sam inquired, not knowing about the real relationship between the men.

"I'm sure you can ask him when we go visit little Jack," Daniel replied, accepting the cube from Jacob.

"Speaking of Jack, I'd like to see him…Sammy filled me in on what's been happening…that is if I may," Jacob asked.

"Sure," Daniel nodded, "we were just finishing up and going to pay our respects, besides it's almost 0800 hrs and you know how antsy Jack gets when his visitors are late," he grinned and turned and headed out the door, assured that the others would follow.

"Antsy…I thought…" Jacob looked at Sam and saw her shake her head.

"Tell you later," she whispered, not going to explain how Daniel treated Jack as if here in a coma and could hear him and visited him every day…plus appeared touched in the head, but she would never mention that part. She understood just how hard it was for him to be so close to the man he loved and yet so far, well, she understood as well as about anyone could who wasn't going through it themselves.

They all followed Daniel down a series of long halls which led to the large hall which had been excavated some time back and the 'chair' room, where Jack had sat and destroyed Anubis and his fleet. The room was empty, most folks at breakfast or still sleeping in as it was early…Daniel didn't sleep in as much as he use too. The others came up short seeing Daniel suddenly stopped and stare.

"Daniel," Sam called out wondering what was wrong, then she looked and before them was an empty chamber…Jack was gone. "What the hell?"

"He was there last night," Daniel turned and stated the desperation clear in his face. "You don't think the Asgard would pull him out without mentioning it…do you?"

"I don't think so, Danny," Jacob replied, also concerned that their friend had vanished.

Daniel was about to call the guards when he saw Teal'c walk past him, his eyes unfocused, but concentrating on something. "What is it?"

"Something…this way," Teal'c replied and gestured to the hall on the other side and all of them hurried down to see what Teal'c was sensing. They didn't have to travel far to see an opening in the wall…one never noticed before, and stairs leading up and cold artic wind blowing in. "Someone has passed here recently," Teal'c assured them.

Regardless of the weather, Daniel rushed up the stairs, ignoring the calls of Sam and Jacob to come back so they could get proper attire. Daniel wanted to know what was happening and he raced up the stairs and out another door that blended in with the ice around them and outside. He had to cover his eyes for a moment, as the sun was bright even this early and reflecting off the snow, but he could see it…a lone figure standing out in the snow and ice, arms stretched out wide, looking upward and…basking in the sun's light. "Jack…" he whispered, as his heart started to pound in his chest and his stomach bubble with hope. "Jack," he called out and started running forward and as he got close he slowed down as he caught a glimpse of the man turning to face him…it was Jack…but he was different. He looked to be in his early to mid twenties, his hair long, about to his shoulders, and of golden wheat in color, the silver long gone…but it was still Jack. There was no mistaking those eyes and that smile. "Jack?"

"Danny," Jack replied and turned and moved and engulfed Daniel in a big bear hug. "Stars how I missed you," he said, lifting his lover up and swinging him around, and laughed, as his heart soared hearing Daniel's shouts of joy that he was glad he was there too. Then moments later he put Daniel down and covered his lips with his own, kissing him deeply, then leaned back and looked into the precious face of his lover. "Daniel…you're looking a little blue here," he chuckled.

"If you haven't…noticed…Jack…it's…fucking freezing out here," he laughed, too overjoyed to have Jack awake, to be mad. It was then that he noticed that Jack didn't look that bothered by the artic weather, but glad for the warmth of Jack's body as they turned to go back inside.

They were at the door where they met Teal'c , Sam and Jacob, holding two extra heavy coats. "What the…" Jacob stuttered at the sight.

"O'Neill…you are looking well," Teal'c greeted handing the coat to him, his eyes taking in the obvious changes, while Sam bundled Daniel in his.

"Wow…sir…I…wow," was all Sam could say.

Jack chuckled and hurried them all back in, closing the door behind him and once back inside, he saw how they were looking at him. "Hey…just how long has it been…I mean…it's been a little while…" he grinned rubbing a thumb over Daniel's goatee, then gazed up at Teal'c. "I still can't get use to you and hair…now another beard?"

"It is as I said before, still good to see you, O'Neill…though I too must say, I never pictured you with long hair," Teal'c replied, eyeing Jack once more.

Jack reached up and felt his hair touch his shoulders, "well, seems I'm overdue for a haircut…far from regulation, wouldn't you say, Carter," he grinned. "Ah…you still only a Lieutenant Colonel right…I mean…how long was I…gone?"

"Just over six months," Daniel replied for the group, and reached up and caressed Jack's face. "You've…changed."

"Really," Jack asked with concern, reaching up and touching his face.

"For the better if you ask me," Jacob smirked. "I haven't seen…" he shook his head. "you look as you did when you first entered Special Ops…give or take a few years."

"I've gotten…younger?" Jack asked, and then smiled, "Sweet." He looked at the others, "Any food around here, I'm hungry," he grinned.

"You bet," Jacob laughed. "Come on Sam, let's go let Hammond know, while Daniel and Teal'c get Jack settled."

Sam nodded, then jumped into Jack's arms and hugged the stuffing out of him, "Welcome back, sir," she blustered, then stepped back. "Knew you'd be back in time for the wedding," she added then turned, going with her father, before she blubbered like a baby at seeing Jack was back and more than okay.

"I will arrange some food for you," Teal'c added, sensing the two men needed a moment, and then with a bow to O'Neill, he also left.

"Wow, get Carter to grow a beard, and the three of you could be triplets," Jack teased, turning to his lover. Then his eyes turned serious, "How are you," he asked, wanting the truth.

Daniel hugged Jack tightly then leaned back and kissed him senseless, then released his lips so he could breath. "Now that you're back…better, much, much better." He let his eyes drink in the youthful features, still a bit unsettled at seeing them, having never seen Jack look so young. "Now what," he asked wondering what was going to happen next.

"Don't know, Danny. I can sense I've changed…but I can't tell you how, and I don't recall any Ancient knowledge…its all gone. I pretty much think anything that I did or can do is instinctual or physical and I'm reacting to my surroundings…" he shrugged. "You think they'll let me go back to heading the SGC or perhaps…back to leading SG-1…now that my knees are no longer killing me?"

"I don't know, Jack. There's been a lot of behind doors talk about what will happen once you come back, some good some not so good…but…Hammond the rest of us won't let them hurt you, Jack," he vowed seriously.

"Oh, Danny, I have no worries about that," he laughed, his eyes showing a hint he knew something Daniel didn't but wasn't talking…yet. "Let's go get something to eat, then find some place…private, I want to get reacquainted with my heart and soul again," he leered, but the love and tenderness shone in his eyes. "And we're also going to talk about this crumb catcher," he stated as he turned to walk down the hall, Daniel tucked under his right arm, his left hand caressing Daniel's goatee.

"There's nothing to talk about, I like it," Daniel stated firmly with a smile.

"Beard burn is not on top of my list of things to have now that I'm back…"

"I'm not shaving it."

"Oh, I think you'll see things my way soon enough," Jack grinned knowingly.

"Don't think so."

"Think so."

"No way."

"Yes, way."

"No, way."

The two men headed down the hall, their banter continuing as if nothing changed…but everything had, for it was just the beginning of entirely new set of adventures for them.

***********

It was late, the room barely lit as several men in suits were sat around a large table with piles of files before them, President Henry Hayes looking exhausted and getting up to get some coffee, wanting to stretch his legs. "Look, General O'Neill…"

"Is Military property," one of the other men in suits replied firmly.

Hayes may have been President, but he had to work with these men and needed their cooperation to run the country, keep peace in the world and deal with the alien threat…they wanted O'Neill kept under lock and key or worse. He stopped the worse, or so he hoped, as he knew how fractions formed behind closed doors like this one.

The room began to shutter as if they were in the midst of a earthquake, but they hadn't had one in Washington D.C. in ages…then the large window that let some moonlight in, shattered, triggering the responses of the Secret Service men, but there was no one for them to confront, and keeping balance was next to impossible…then it stopped as quickly as it came.

"What the heck?" One of the Joint Chiefs gasped out loud. Then they all turned to see a glowing creature that looked like a squid, floating in the air. This white light then, transformed itself into a woman in her late thirties or early forties.

One of the secret service men pointed his gun to fire at the specter, but his gun dropped -suddenly as if it had burned his hand. The gun melted when it fell on the floor. Then there was silence. Everyone waited to hear or see what would happen next.

Hayes got off the floor and searched his mind, then it came to him, "I know you…or of you…you’re an Ancient…isn’t that right?" he stated, trying to charm her and keep things peaceful.

"I am one of the Ascended, which once were the Ancients as you know of them," the woman spoke, her voice proper as if she was of good English stock. "I am called Oma Desala, and I have come to warn you all. Earth has been given a great gift in that, you now having walking among you the 'last' of the ancients…the last of those not ascended. Many wish to whisk him away and leave Earth to its own design, but there are those, including O'Neill himself, that wish for him to remain and help defend Earth. He is 'not' property," she glared at the man who had dared to make such a comment then back at President Hayes. "Know this and be sure others know this too. Though it is our way not to interfere, we 'will' protect our own…'I' will protect the last of my line," she vowed firmly.

"I…I understand, Ma'am," President Hayes replied, truly seeing her words to be true, and he was fully aware of the power behind it, having read and seen the tape of what the Ancient's could do; she being Ascended was sure to be more powerful. "But surely he needs protection…I mean, as you said, he's the last…"

"He is as capable as ever before of defending himself, as for his 'protection' leave that to us. No one is to interfere with his well being or his happiness…do I make myself clear," Oma asked, knowing she was pushing things, but Jack O'Neill was the last of her line, her great…great grandson…she would always watch over him; going so far as to ascend his soul mate so he could survive and be there when most needed…just like now. Seeing everyone in the room nod, she nodded her head as well and then shifted back to her glowing state and then vanished.

"Well, gentlemen," Hayes chuckled, seeing the stunned faces around him, "I guess this matter on what to do with General O'Neill is closed. He returns to the head of the SGC…and we…I'll reconsider his returning to the field with SG-1 in a few months. Everyone is dismissed."

Hayes watched as everyone almost ran out of there, though sadly not fully convinced everyone understood at what a powerful enemy they would make if they tried to cross swords with O'Neill. He looked at his secretary Amelia, "Mind getting someone in here to clean this up," he grinned, not even worried about explaining it. He went to retrieve his fallen cup and refilled it and stood at the broken window at the back of the Whitehouse and looked up and gave a toast with his coffee. "Here's to you, Jack O'Neill…Earth’s last great hope."

The end.