DISCLAIMER: The story, and characters and anything and everything else concerning SG: SG1 belong to MGM, Gekko, Secret Productions etc, they are so not mine and no money is being made from this and no copyright infringement is intended.
SPOILERS: Nothing specific. Set towards end Season 4.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author

Mama Said
By Celievamp

Mama said there'd be days like this…

The mission had been a bust from the start. In fact, when she found a second to think about it, Sam Carter's whole day had got off to a bad start.

Somehow both she and Janet had managed to sleep through the alarm that morning and by the time they woke up were running late as a result. Neither woman had been in the best of moods. Sam had an almost pathological hatred of being late for anything and Janet wasn't much better. The discovery that their ancient refrigerator had managed to turn itself off at some time during the night and the pool of water on the kitchen floor as a result was not helping, neither was the fact that their daughter had managed to get up, get herself breakfast and get off to school without apparently noticing said pool of water. Sam had been promising to get round to looking at the fridge for weeks, but hadn't managed to get it sorted out yet. Janet's silent glare of recrimination had heated her cheeks and frozen her heart.

They hadn't time to do much more than mop up the floor and dump the ruined perishables in the bin. There was very little conversation in the car on the way to the base. Sam who had fallen into a daydream about some power equations she was running, jerked out of it suddenly when Janet slammed on the brakes.

"Asshole!" she shouted. A red truck had pulled out of a side street and cut in front of her.

Janet with road rage? This was definitely not good. "Hey," Sam said "I know we're going to be late but I'd rather that than we pick a fight with a truck."

"Then you should have damn well driven us in," Janet hissed. "But your car engine is in pieces all over the garage floor at the moment. As per bloody usual."

Okay, Sam thought, she had dealt with Janet's PMS before but this was a whole step up. Anything she could say would obviously be wrong so she might as well just cut her losses and say nothing at all. The rest of the journey was completed in miserable silence.

Sam had meant to find the time to seek out Janet and see how she was doing before the mission shipped out but it had not been possible. Janet was not in the Infirmary when Sam had her hastily arranged pre-

mission medical and the last minute briefing with the Tokra before they stepped through the Gate made it impossible for Sam to do more than type a hasty email to her lover to let her know she wouldn't be around the next day or so. And that she was sorry for the mess and that she loved her.

It was something she had not said enough recently, she realised to her shame. She had begun to take Janet, to take their relationship, for granted.

The way things were looking now Sam just hoped that she might get a chance to tell Janet she was sorry in person.

From someone who regularly worked with substances whose explosive potential was worked out in powers of 10 to the potential of an average nuclear device, the words `uh-oh' were not a good thing, combining a maximum of terror-stricken imaginings with a minimum wastage of breath.

"What's wrong?" O'Neill asked, hunkering down beside her.

"I think I triggered some sort of failsafe device. Actually I'm pretty sure I have. It's begun a countdown. The power coil is set to overload."

"Okay. That's bad. That's definitely bad." O'Neill took off his cap and rubbed his fingers through his hair. "Can you stop it?"

"Sir, at this point I'm not even sure how I started it!"

"How long have we got, Carter?"

"Not long." By now she recognised enough Goa'uld numbering and time units to know that they had less than five minutes to get clear.

"And how big is the blast likely to be?"

"Big. Sir…" Most of the devices in this room were naquada-

powered. When this blew so would they. The whole facility would blow. And if there was enough naquada in the surrounding soil and bedrock… Sometimes it is possible to know too much.

"I know." He reached for his radio. "Teal'c – grab Daniel and haul ass out of here. We've set off some kind of booby trap. This place is a bust." His radio gave back only static. "Teal'c? Daniel?" He glared across at Carter. "Crap. Carter, this is starting to look depressingly like one of our training scenarios and we're stuck at the wrong end of it. Carter…"

Something clicked inside Sam's head. Jolinar. She had been here or somewhere very similar before and it had happened this way, a trap within a trap. Sam tried to tell her subconscious that now wasn't the time to go down memory lane but it was no use. She could hear O'Neill shouting her name but she could not break free of the memory. She could only watch and remember. As always it became much easier once she gave into it. Sam closed her eyes and let her other senses guide her. The memory was demanding, strident in its warning tones. She needed to understand this. It could help to save all of their lives.

As far as Colonel Jack O'Neill was concerned, his II1C had just gone to sleep on the job.

Jolinar had been promised by her contact that this would be a simple walk in / walk out with the goods. The Goa'uld was a genius with technology of all kinds, a real packrat, but irredeemably insane and relatively poorly protected. Unlike most Goa'uld who just took on the persona of godhood, this one truly believed that he was divine. In his eyes, this was his ultimate protection. A God could not be killed. There would still be security but it should be relatively low level and easily bypassed. So her contact informed her.

What her contact had failed to mention was this particular Goa'uld's capricious sense of humour. After experiencing it first-hand, Jolinar might even have gone as far as to describe it as `sick'. Twisted and depraved also came to mind. The whole place was a honeytrap. Jolinar did not know how and why she was back here but she knew had to get out. Through Sam, she began to re-enact her memories.

Sam shuddered violently as the memories ripped through her, far too clearly for her peace of mind. She could almost taste Jolinar's fear and regret, the memory of pain sicksweet as her own body responded to the second-hand adrenaline rush, sickening her stomach. She saw how this had gone down, how it was going to go down in a kind of self fulfilling prophecy, an endless cycle of error and recrimination. Jolinar's error. Her error. Their recrimination. Her friends, her comrades were going to die. She was going to die. Or not. And dying was probably the preferable option. This Goa'uld had a Sarcophagus at his disposal. And he liked to play. And it was all her fault. Her fault. She had not seen the trap until it was too late, then and now, had not understood the devious and deviant nature of her opponent. A real sickpuppy.

Sam had long ago realised that she and Jolinar shared many character traits, curiosity, a fondness for tinkering with new technology paramount. Sam was only too aware that sometimes she could be too single-minded in her pursuit of scientific data. Jolinar had been the same way. Sam had taken a long time to forgive herself for her slip in wanting to continue to analyse the data from the black hole when SG10 were trapped and dying. Jolinar had similar memories, similar regrets. And they also shared a deep loyalty to their friends, devotion to their chosen cause. Aloof to most things when Sam did permit herself the luxury of an emotional response, she felt deeply, without compromise. She was not the Ice Queen of SGC legend. Jolinar had been much the same way. What she felt now was the ultimate regret, overwhelming fear. First her curiosity, as always single-minded in its intensity and then her memories had trapped her, ensured that the Goa'uld's subterfuge would work a second time. Only this time she was not alone. It had the potential to be the Antarctic Gate incident all over again. She would not make the same mistake twice.

Sam's previous efforts to access Jolinar's memories had met with varying success. The lucid dreaming experiment had worked best other than her voluntary or involuntary experiences using the memory recall device. As she had told the others, a lifetime or two ago, she usually got only random thoughts and flashes, very rarely anything recognisable or indeed useful without benefit of considerable hindsight or imput from other Tokra who had known Jolinar well such as Lantash or Selmak. Part of her though, had always wondered if it were her own fears that were holding her back, keeping some protective internal barrier in place. Even when she had consciously reached out for the memories, there had always been a small piece of Samantha Carter that had remained aloof. Separate. Safe. Now though... Jolinar had escaped from this place relatively intact. She had to do the same, not just for herself but for her team. Now Sam gave herself fully and completely over to Jolinar's memories without reservation, relinquishing her hold on whatever it was that made her uniquely her.

It was like seeing through a fogged doubled exposure. Or seeing one scene imperfectly imposed upon another. A remote, distant part of her was still Samantha Carter - a person still desperately worried about safety of her team mates; one who felt a pang go through her as she heard the whine-thud of a staff weapon discharge somewhere close by, the Goa'uld count down sounding harsh gutturals that somehow she now clearly understood. There was very little time, certainly not enough to get clear of the complex before it blew. The rest though - the rest was Jolinar. Tokra. Host and symbiote combined.

Somehow they melded into one. Something that had not happened even when Jolinar had first entered her body. Then, Sam Carter had been too busy fighting what was happening and in too much shock to truly meld with the Tokra. Not that she knew what one was at the time. She thought she was fighting off a Goa'uld. But now - so this must be what a joining is really like, Sam realised. And then both sets of minds had focused on the device before them. Her doubled vision snapped into synch again. She recognized one of the other devices set out on the table. She could use it as an interface to disrupt the arming mechanism on the bomb. She had used it as an interface to disrupt the arming mechanism on the bomb. If she could just interrupt the circuitry then…

The intricately etched casing melted away at her touch revealing the familiar lines of a Goa'uld stun grenade. The trap within the trap. But not the one she had expected. Reliance on Jolinar's memories had fooled her. Once again she had run with the obvious and not considered other possibilities. She had let him down. "Sir, run!" Sam had time to scream before the grenade exploded in her face sending her flying through brilliant light, deafening sound. Incredible pain hit just before her senses were swamped and everything went away for an unknown time.

She was lying down, something soft beneath her head though the rest of her appeared to be lying on stone. Moving was far too complicated a process to contemplate. It was dark and cool. Growing awareness brought only pain, more pain. And she could smell barbecue. Whatever it was it had been left too long. She shuddered, tried to bring the hand that did not currently feel as if it was encased in molten lead to her burning face only for someone to catch hold of it and return it gently to her side. A hand touched her throat, checked her pulse.

"Janet?" she whispered automatically.

"Not this time," a familiar voice said. "Easy, Carter."

Disappointment and relief warred within her. Disappointment that he had not managed to escape, relief that at least it meant that she was not here alone and injured in the dark. She remembered the booby trap, the secondary device concealed, the stun grenade going off virtually in her hand. Her hand… which hurt a lot, now she came to think about it, but not as much as her face. She remembered being lifted off her feet, the burst of hot air that had engulfed her. That would also explain why it hurt so much to breathe. It had not been a standard stun grenade after all. Another nasty little surprise courtesy of the Goa'uld. Sick bastard.

There was something resting over her upper face, over her eyes and forehead, something wet and cool but not enough to completely take away the sting of her burns. Sam was not in the least vain about her looks but the thought of being permanently disfigured terrified her, not so much the loss of her physical beauty as the changed reactions in everyone around her. Although she knew it would not make a difference to those people closest to her – her team, her father, Janet and Cassie, but if they got out of this, she would not be able to stay in the Mountain for ever. Sooner or later she would encounter the general public – their looks of pity or revulsion. Everywhere she went for the rest of her life. She did not manage to repress a shudder at that.

"They took our packs so I can't give you anything for the pain. I tore up my shirt, soaked it in some of the drinking water they left us. I thought it might soothe the burns, reduce the swelling around your…," O'Neill said. "How bad is it?"

"You tell me," she said. "How bad does it look? Am I going to need to wear a hat for a while? Or… On second thoughts, I don't want to know. Not yet. Honestly, I can cope – for now. The pain is… bearable. Though if there's any more water, my throat's a little dry. Where are we?"

"Holding cell. You're not missing much décor wise. Standard Goa'uld dank and dark, you've been in one, you've been in them all. But on the upside we're not sharing with anyone this time." He lifted her head a little, paused. "Okay, my hand is going to be pretty near your face for this. Just don't bite me this time, okay, Carter?"

She almost managed a smile at that. "Yes sir." He carefully touched the edge of the cup to her lips. She could taste the metal it was made of – some kind of alloy. At least the water seemed fresh. The last cell they had ended up in had housed not only lice and fleas but also flying cockroaches that screamed when you squashed them. Sam had been petrified but had at least not managed to squeal every time one brushed against her. Unlike Daniel. And the water they had been given – O'Neill had accurately described it as a meal in itself it was that murky with grit, detritus and things they had not wanted to think about.

"The others?"

"We're here, Sam. Teal'c took a staff wound to the shoulder but it's not too bad and I definitely think my ankle is broken."

"We are well, Captain Carter. We have been left alone so far," Teal'c's voice reassured her.

"You were out of it for about four hours by the way." He eased her up a little further and held the cup to her lips again. She sipped a little more water but stopped when she felt her stomach gripe. Sam shivered, realising that she was rapidly going into shock. The skin of her face felt very tight and there were some areas that just seemed a vacancy. That probably meant nerve damage. Her chest felt tight as well, burning more and more as she breathed, something crackling inside. If she had seared her lungs, she was looking at a lengthy convalescence if infection did not get her first. She heard movement around her and then something soft and body-warmed was laid over her left side, careful not to touch her burns. Someone's jacket. She realised that another jacket was already under her head as a pillow.

"And me?" She had steeled herself for what he had to say. "Tell me."

"I won't lie to you, Carter. It's not pretty. Your right hand and forearm are pretty much broiled, third degree burns up to your elbow and you've got metal fragments impaled in your hand, one's gone straight through the palm and your fingers are pretty badly hacked up. Your right shoulder and upper chest are pretty scorched. Your face… your upper face, your forehead, cheeks and the bridge of your nose are badly scorched and there are some metal fragments there as well. You've lost some hair and your eyebrows… Your eyes… your eyes are swollen shut. I… I don't know how badly they are hurt and I haven't messed with them. I thought I'd leave that to the Doc."

"She's gonna kill me. She hates it when I get messed up. I make her cry, Jack. I hate it when she cries." Part of her realised that she must be becoming delirious that however serious their situation she should not be having this conversation. Especially not with Jack O'Neill. "Sorry… sorry I got us into this mess, sir."

She felt his hand pat her shoulder. "Easy, Carter. You were following orders, following our standard procedure until… What happened in there? For a moment I thought you had fallen asleep on your feet. And then, it was like you'd got some inside knowledge on the situation…" He fell silent for a moment realising he had answered his own question. "Jolinar… you had a flashback, didn't you? She'd come across our charming host before."

"Yes… but the memory was misleading. I thought the device I picked up would let me defuse the boobytrap, stop the countdown, but it was a trap within a trap. I should have… I should have …" She paused, gasping for breath and trying not to cough knowing that if she started she wouldn't stop. Her lungs were beginning to fill up with fluid. Janet… she had to hold on for Janet's sake. She could not leave her. She had made promises. She could not die without making things right with Janet.

"S'okay, Carter." His hand was on her shoulder again. "It won't go down as one of our stellar missions for sure but we've got out from under worse odds before. We'll get out of this. We'll…"

"Sir… if we don't… if I don't… I need you to tell her I'm sorry… taking her for granted… tell her… sorry… the fridge, the car… " The crackling sensation in her chest was getting worse. "Tell her… love her always…"

"Tell her yourself, Carter. We're going to get out of this. We'll…"

"Someone's coming!" Daniel hissed.

Sam heard footsteps approach. Four sets, marching in formation. Armour clanking. Jaffa. O'Neill's hand tightened on her shoulder. "Hold tight. Okay."

The door crashed open. "Tauri kree! The woman will come with us."

"Kree yourself. She's badly injured. If your boss needs to practice his conversational skills he can talk to me." O'Neill was probably cold, definitely crabby and in full mother-hen mode. She felt him get to his feet, realised that the air movement at her other side was probably Teal'c.

"The woman will come with us."

She sensed him move between her and the Jaffa. "Sir, don't," she whispered. "They can't… do much more damage to me... Con…

concentrate on getting … out… getting home."

"Dammit, Carter. I won't…"

"You must," she said with as much force as she could manage and then as an afterthought. "Sir… take me… sarcophagus… Jolinar remembered… help me… stand." He did not reply but he did not argue with her either and she felt his hands move to brace her as she got unsteadily and very shakily to her feet. She was too slow, Impatiently one of the Jaffa grabbed her, his armoured hand closing over the burns on her arm. Something happened, she did not know what but she heard the Jaffa swear and a shocked gasp from O'Neill. White hot pain speared her arm and she was unable to contain a breathless scream of pain as she felt herself begin to fall again. She heard O'Neill shout and then grunt with pain. Before she could do anything more she was lifted off her feet and slung over a metal encased shoulder before being carried away.

She was warm, lying on a flat hard surface. She was also naked. Her hands were crossed over her breasts. She opened her eyes. All she could see was light. She was in the light. She could see. Remembering, she raised her right hand, examined it closely. The flesh was whole, clean. No burns, no scarring. She raised both hands to her face, let her fingers trail lightly over her skin. Her skin was smooth, she could feel the sensation of her fingertips against it. There was no pain, no tightness, no swelling. She could feel eyelashes, eyebrows. She still had a fringe. She could breathe again. God these things were good.

A sarcophagus. So she was healed. Things were definitely looking up. Now she could fight. Now she had a chance to redeem herself. All she had to do now was to find the guys and spring them.

A dark line appeared in the brightness as the lid of the sarcophagus began to open. She waited until it had fully opened, then waited a little while longer.

No one appeared to haul her out. Carefully she eased herself out. She was in a typical Goa'uld chamber, the walls sloping slightly, thickly decorated with Goa'uld script probably extolling the virtues and accomplishments of No-Name.

Draped over a cabinet was an ornate Goa'uld gown. Discarded in a corner were the remnants of her uniform and her boots.

Swiftly she examined her arm and chest. The flesh seemed sound and whole, her lungs were clear, she still had four working fingers and an opposable thumb. She was good to go.

Quickly she redressed in the remains of her uniform and pulled on her boots. After a moment's thought shrugged the Goa'uld gown on top. One sight and smell of her burnt shredded and heavily bloodstained uniform was enough. No wonder O'Neill had sounded so strained. She mush have looked – and smelt – horrible.

After six years serving under his command Sam was under no illusion that Jack O'Neill cared for her almost as much as Janet did. But they had had that conversation and locked the door on that room long ago. They were team mates, family. And no Goa'uld was going to change that.

Sam went to rescue her guys.

Sam had figured out that no-name was seriously undermanned. Four Jaffa had taken her from her cell earlier and she had encountered none since. The corridors had a deserted almost neglected feel to them. She hoped that this place had a standard Goa'uld layout which would mean that the cells were… three floors down and to the right from the state rooms where the sarcophagus would be housed.

She activated the panel that opened the access hatch and swung herself onto the ladder beginning to climb down the levels. Three floors down was a piece of cake compared to some of the climbs she had done over the years in the call of duty. On the level above the holding cells she paused hearing raised voices in the corridor beyond. Jaffa. Unhappy Jaffa. Her escape had been discovered. No-

name was not a happy bunny. He wanted her found.

As quietly as she could she continued to climb down to the level of the holding cells and then paused. There was no sound beyond the bulkhead, no indication that there was anyone in the corridor. But though insane, her opponent was cunning. He must have figured out that after escaping her first action would be to hightail it for the cells to liberate her team mates.

Luckily his impatience more than compensated for his cunning. "Tauri woman you will surrender to my Jaffa or your men will die," he shouted.

"Don't do it Sam!" That was Daniel. She winced as she heard the butt end of a staff weapon hit home.

She had to do it. Choose your battles major. She was healed, re-

energised and righteously pissed with this guy. She kicked open the hatch and ducked out before one of his Jaffa could haul her out.

"Keep me and let them go," Sam said.

"Carter!" O'Neill barked at her. She had stolen his line. One of the Jaffa came up behind her and roughly brought her arms behind her back, tying her wrists with thick rope that almost immediately began to gall her skin.

"But I could have so much fun with you, Tauri. Carter… an unusual name, but it has a certain kind of beauty…"

"Flattery will get you nowhere," she said. The Jaffa pushed her back into the cell block, though not into the cell where her team mates were. They were to be treated to a grandstand view of her humiliation, it seemed.

The Goa'uld had her backed into a corner. O'Neill knew how terrified his 2IC must be but you would never know it from Carter's face. She glared at the alien, eyes blazing defiance, her face set, almost stern. She would give him no quarter. He had rarely been more proud of her. She had had one hell of a day so far; the toughest of marines would have been entitled to be slouching a little by now. On the up side there was no longer any sign of the terrible burn damage that had blinded her and badly disfigured her face and arm. She would not be permanently scarred by what had happened: not on the outside anyway. The snake had done that much at least. It would be some time if ever before O'Neill would forget the sight of the skin sloughing off Carter's badly burnt arm when the Jaffa grabbed her, falling from her hand as if it were a discarded glove.

This guy was a truly arrogant little prick even by Goa'uld standards. He sent his Jaffa away. He would deal with the Tauri himself.

"When I healed you I sensed that you had been blended," the Goa'uld said. "But no longer or else your symbiote would have taken care of your injuries itself." His hand caressed her hair then tightened in it, pulling her towards him. His other hand brushed down her front, lingering on her breasts, cupping and fondling them through the thick material of the gown she wore over her ruined uniform. O'Neill saw Carter's face pale, stiffen even further. That was enough. Carter just wasn't that type of girl. "You owe me your life, remember, Tauri bitch. Who was it – who were you blended with? And how did you survive intact? Nothing of the host should survive. Tell me. I insist. Or I can make the pain you went through earlier a pleasant memory."

"Hey, buster!" O'Neill growled. "Get your stinking hands off her." It was self-interest on his part, he knew – but probably not the way the Goa'uld was thinking. If he didn't bring Carter back through the gate hale and hearty he was looking at a lifetime of pain, really long needles and unusually complex and intrusive medical tests courtesy of Doc Fraiser. "You healed her and we're grateful, but if you want to negotiate, you do it with me."

Sam did not take her eyes off the so-far nameless Goa'uld. She appreciated O'Neill's attempt to protect her but pissing off a Goa'uld, especially one as volatile as this one seemed to be, was a risky strategy at the best of times. And this was most definitely not the best of times. This whole mission had been a bust from the moment they stepped through the Gate. Tokra intel had snafued again. But this guy was obviously well out of the loop as far as current Goa'uld obsessions were concerned. They had pretty well pissed off every other Goa'uld in town by now. Wanted posters for the infamous SG1 were up everywhere. And the price on her head because of Jolinar was getting higher by the year.

O'Neill hadn't taken the hint. "Who the hell are you, anyway? Neither Daniel and Teal'c here recognise the symbols your Jaffa have carved into their heads and they've both gotten pretty good at that I can tell you. Why do you do that anyway? I suppose it does come in useful. If you do forget your name, all you have to do is look at one of them and hey presto, there it is."

"I have no name," he growled, not taking his hand from Sam's body. More of his weight was pressed against her now. "At least not for unworthies such as you. It is a sacred thing. A powerful thing."

"So… the Goa'uld formerly known as…" O'Neill taunted.

Sam could feel another presumably sacred and powerful thing pressing against her thigh. Definitely not his sidearm. No-name leered at her again. The Goa'uld continued to grope her, becoming more insistent as he got increasingly aroused. It was definitely a feeling Sam did not share. As his fingers left off mauling her breasts and instead slid under the waistband of her fatigues, Sam decided that enough was enough. Gratitude at being healed only went so far. He wasn't the only one who could get up close and personal. Her hands might still be secured behind her back but her legs were free. The host was human. Hopefully it would take a moment or two for the symbiote to counteract the pain she was about to inflict on the host body, especially considering his state of arousal. She kneed him sharply in the balls, stepped back and kicked him in the jaw as he came up from his reflex crouch, eyes glowing if still slightly crossed. She distinctly heard his jaws clack together and hoped the bastard had bitten his tongue. A Goa'uld with a lisp. That she would like to hear.

But not today. Another well placed kick hit him squarely in the solar plexus and as he went down she kicked him in the temple and once more in the balls for good luck. He was quiet and still, curled foetally around the pain. Hopefully he'd stay that way for a while.

"And that, gentlemen, is why you do not piss off Major Carter," O'Neill smiled. "Nicely done by the way. A little unorthodox but hey, if it works… You look about ready to do your level five on that performance. Remind me to put you in for it when we get back. Okay, Carter, it really is your turn to shine today. Now you get to put your lock picking skills into practice. I know you can do it blindfold, but can you do it with your hands tied behind your back?"

Sam flashed him a grin. "We aim to please, sir. But if you give me a moment, I might be able to get my hands round to the front." Ignoring the pain in her shoulder that was a residual legacy of hitting the ramp too hard too fast after escaping from the Aaschen, she lay down on the floor and contorted her body until she brought her legs through her arms, and got her hands in front of her again. It was not easy in the gown but she managed it. The yoga sessions with Janet were paying off, she was definitely getting a lot more limber. And the sight of Janet's everso cute butt in a leotard at regular intervals didn't do her any harm either. She felt in the pocket of her fatigues for her lockpick and set to work on the lock. Thankfully it had been built for size and durability rather than complexity and it was relatively easy to figure. But her hands were beginning to cramp badly.

The tumblers gave one by one and the lock clicked open. Teal'c and Jack helped Daniel out. He was pretty certain that his ankle was broken but he was determined not to hold his team mates up. Retrieving his knife from the pile of their weapons no-name's Jaffa had helpfully made in the corner, O'Neill sliced through the ropes around Sam's wrists and she massaged them gently for a few moments to get the circulation flowing again. He lifted his hand as if to touch her face and despite herself she shied away. The memory of pain was still too recent. Noticing that the Goa'uld was beginning to stir and she went across to him and unclasped the hand device from his arm. After a moment's hesitation she fitted it on her own forearm, hooking the metal-tipped pads over her fingers. O'Neill saw what she was doing and nodded approvingly, forgetting the momentary tension between them.

'Good thinking, Carter. We're going to need every edge we can find to get out of here.'

She nodded, knelt over the recovering Goa'uld and closing her eyes, went to that part of her mind that activated the hand device. A beam of harsh yellow light played over the back of the Goa'uld's skull, where the symbiote was sited. The host convulsed once and lay still, a slow trickle of blood running from his nose. She did not give him a second glance as she followed her comrades out of the cell.

"And after that it was a piece of cake," O'Neill said. "Once the Jaffa figured their master was dead they really didn't put up much of a fight. We got the rest of our gear and got the hell out of there."

"And the weapons cache?" Hammond asked.

"What wasn't destroyed when I accidentally activated the boobytrap is pretty much standard Goa'uld issue," Sam said. "Some of it is souped up to look more than it is, kind of customized if you know what I mean. But they're still basically zats, powerstaffs and stun grenades. We're treating it all with extreme caution in case there are any more traps."

"Your injuries were completely healed by the sarcophagus," the General glanced down at the medical report.

"Yes sir, Dr Fraiser gave me a clean bill of health." And a piece of her mind about getting too tech-head again, Sam thought ruefully. But at least we're talking again. "She's keeping Dr Jackson in for 24 hours observation. His ankle was broken."

"Then I think you all get to have down time until Dr Jackson is ready for duty," Hammond said.

They filed out. Sam was headed for her lab when O'Neill caught up with her. "So, that message you asked me to give the doc…"

"No need sir. Hale and hearty, as you can see," Sam remembered the state she had been in when she had whispered the message to give to Janet if she didn't make it.

"And the two of you are…"

"We seem to be fine, sir. Now if you'll excuse me I need to do some research."

"Can't you leave the naquada alone for one day!"

"I am sir, unless you can buy a naquada powered fridge." She paused and O'Neill could almost see the wheels turning.

"Don't even think about it, Carter. Though it would be pretty cool."

She winced at the pun. "Thank you, sir. Enjoy your down time."

The store had been a bit sniffy about her wanting to have the new refrigerator delivered right away but as she smiled sweetly at the manager and had paid cash and extra for delivery they promised it would be at the house by late that afternoon. Sam went home, cleared out the old fridge and pulled it into the garage to take to the dump later. She settled down to wait for the delivery truck.

It was still the same day. That was a little hard to take in. She had been imprisoned on a planet hundreds of thousands of lightyears away from earth, had nearly died, had been healed by an alien device of incalculable power and had organized a jailbreak. And she had killed a man.

All in a days work. She remembered one of her mother's favourite phrases and sighed. If only her momma could see her now. She looked up as the van stopped outside the house and went to supervise the installation.

It was a further two hours before Janet let herself in.

"Close your eyes," Sam instructed from her spot on the stairs in the hall.

"Sam, no games please. I'm dead on my feet."

"Humour me. I've had a hard day too, remember?" She softly kissed her partner to take any sting out of her words. "Now come on. Eyes closed."

Janet shook her head but did as she was told. She felt herself being led through the house into the kitchen.

"Okay. Surprise number one. Open your eyes."

Janet opened her eyes to see the gleaming new refrigerator. "Oh my. When on earth did you organize this?"

"Since we got back. Never underestimate my powers of persuasion," Sam grinned. "And now for surprise number two."

She led her lover back into the dining room where the table was laid for two, the candles lit and a bouquet of peach coloured roses laid on Janet's chair.

"I realised how much I took this… took you for granted. And it scared me that I could have lost it all today, not by getting caught on the planet, but by what happened between us this morning."

"It's me who should apologise for this morning," Janet said quietly. "I was a complete bitch to you. I hadn't done anything about getting the fridge fixed either. And the only reason my car was on the road today was because you worked on the engine all weekend."

"Then it's agreed. We're both idiots. We do deserve each other after all. No one else would put up with us."

Janet grinned, reached up to kiss her lover, one hand snaking behind Sam's neck to pull her head down. "I love you," she whispered, nuzzling at the soft lips, running her tongue along the edge of the full lower lip.

"And I love you. Now go, have a shower and get changed. Dinner will be ready in about twenty minutes," Sam directed her back towards the stairs with a gentle pat on her behind. Watching her lover slowly climb the stairs with many sultry looks back over her shoulder Sam realised that her day might just come out right after all.

The End

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