Disclaimer : The characters for all the above
belong to their respective writers, producers and networks
I'm not making any profit from their use here just teaching Jesse that he
really has to learn to stop touching things
by Ann Rivers firstname.lastname@example.org
"You know, Jesse, I don't know who's more excited about this trip you
or CJ" Amanda chuckled, fondly shaking her head as she watched him
reading excitedly though the exhibition's programme.
"Hey, Amanda, are you kidding? I've been wanting to see this thing
for ages!" Jesse enthused, winking down at an equally excited CJ before
turning that irrepressible grin back towards her.
"You know, if I hadn't decided to become a doctor, I'd have been"
"Elgin's answer to Indiana Jones" Amanda chipped in, finding it
impossible not to fondly tease him.
"So you've been saying, at every opportunity, since I picked
you up this morning!"
Pulling a face back at her, Jesse then grinned again as he glanced down
at his junior namesake.
"Hey, CJ reckon I'm annoying your mom?"
Watching her son nod and grin with the same playful mischief, Amanda then
sighed, rolling her eyes.
Inviting Jesse along to this exhibition of historical artefacts had
seemed a good idea at the time.
After all, he did have a genuine love of the subject something which
CJ seemed to be developing too.
Now though, watching significant grins being exchanged between them, she
wasn't so sure
In hindsight, perhaps she should have invited Steve along as well, just
to keep these two out of trouble.
As though sensing her thoughts, Jesse then glanced at her and grinned that
notorious, little boy grin.
"It's okay, mommy I'll behave" he assured her, all wide eyed yet
highly dubious innocence.
Now more worried than ever, Amanda just rolled her eyes again while looping
her arm through his,
placing her other hand on CJ's shoulder as she steered both of them towards
the museum's entrance.
Just a nice quiet day out with the kids she thought, wryly shaking
her head again. Yeah, riiight
"Just a nice quiet day out, eh, Carter?" Jack O'Neill muttered,
glaring pointedly at his companion.
"This is your idea of a nice quiet day out?!!!??!?"
Not knowing which was worse to face, the barrage of opposing gunfire or
her CO's mocking sarcasm,
Sam Carter just shrugged while slamming another clip into her machine gun.
"I guess our intelligence from the Kantani township was a little um
dubious, sir" she ventured,
bracing herself for another volley of both fearsome weapons and equally
"You think?" O'Neill retorted mildly, turning away to direct
that sarcasm towards another victim so missing the half-relieved, half-sympathising
smile which now appeared on Sam's face.
"Speaking of dubious intelligence Daniel, dial us outta here! Now
It was at times like these when Dr Daniel Jackson was heartily grateful
for his civilian status
because if he'd been military, his response to O'Neill would have seen him
in a whole lot of trouble.
As it was, he was merely risking Jack O'Neill's sarcastic wrath which, when
he thought about it
"What the hell do you think I'm doing?" he yelled, waving
his spare hand around in utter frustration, then hastily retracting it as
this prompted yet another round of gunfire from the approaching Jaffa.
"I mean, if you want to come down here and see if you can do better,
then by all means"
It was probably a good thing that the explosions around them drowned out
Jack O'Neill's reply.
He was, after all, in female company
For the benefit of all of them, Daniel slammed his hand with unusual ferocity
on the final chevron waving his hand again, in triumph this time, as the
DHD finally glowed into life.
Above him, Kantani's already unstable sun spat an unusually violent flare
of energy towards its planet.
And countless miles away, Jesse Travis now stood curiously studying an intriguingly
For all Amanda's teasing, he still harboured a deep love for his childhood
fascination with history.
As a little boy, he'd wistfully dreamed of becoming an adventurer, fearlessly
exploring new worlds.
Twenty years on, that dream was about to come true
Crouching onto his heels, Jesse leaned forward to try and read the pillar's
equally puzzling markings.
They looked oddly like hieroglyphs, yet no, it was no good, he just couldn't
see them clearly.
Maybe if he just brushed some of this dust away
Amanda hadn't experienced anything like it since Caitlin Sweeney had bombed
One minute she was telling CJ about the wonders of ancient Egypt, the next
all hell broke loose.
Instinctively shielding CJ from the searing light and noise around her,
she searched for its source
her confusion and panic turning into all out, terrified horror as she caught
a brief glimpse of Jesse,
who seemed to be physically merging with the pulsating blue light that now
Seconds later, the light was gone and, to her horror, so was Jesse
Where he'd been standing, only moments before, a green-suited figure now
dazedly shook his head.
Once that head had stopped spinning, Daniel Jackson shook it to clear it
while glancing around him his unfamiliar surroundings, and the wide eyed
fear on Amanda Bentley's face, causing him to wince.
"Oh no" he groaned, removing his glasses to wearily rub at his
eyes. "Not again!"
At the opposite end of the galaxy, the SGC's finest were experiencing a
few problems of their own.
For one thing, their resident archaeologist had abruptly vanished into a
pulsating blue light.
The Jaffa were now even closer, pinning them down under sustained fire from
their staff weapons.
And now, just to really round off their day, the Stargate was throwing one
its event horizon glowing with the same eerie blue haze that had caused
Daniel to disappear.
Little wonder, then, that Jack O'Neill now cast all fears of causing female
offence to the wind.
"Damn it, Carter! What the hell just happened? Where the hell's Daniel??!!!!??"
"I don't know, sir! I just don't know!" Sam yelled back, struggling
to make sense of her readings.
"All I know is something's interfering with the event horizon, and
no, I I just don't get this!
Somehow the wormhole's been reversed, and and there's now an incoming traveller!"
"Oh, well, that's just peachy!" O'Neill growled, taking out his
frustration on an unwisely near Jaffa.
"Daniel's vanished from the face of this godforsaken planet, the Stargate's
gone and blown a fuse and now we're picking up hitch-hikers??!!?!"
Before Sam could respond, the hitch-hiker in question came hurtling at high
speed through the Gate,
his cries of pain and shock as he cart-wheeled down the steps causing Sam
to wince in sympathy.
No stranger herself to painfully violent exits, she knew just how he felt
Finally ending up in a sprawled heap at the base of the steps, Jesse lay
groaning on the ground,
struggling to regain his breath while gingerly testing each limb in turn
Legs okay, arms sore but not broken, his back aching but, thankfully, again
with no serious damage.
His head, though, was another matter it was pounding with the grandmother
of all headaches
one not exactly helped by fierce, urgent shouts that set off fresh, painful
fireworks around his brain.
"Hey, kid!! Stay down! You hear me??!!? Stay down, kid, stay
Too dazed to understand what was being yelled at him, Jesse cautiously sat
up, staring around him his eyes widening in confused alarm as a flaming
bolt of energy seared past him, inches from his head.
Cowering in terror into the sand-dunes beneath him, Jesse instinctively
covered his head with his arms, screwing his eyes tightly closed against
the volleys of ricocheted dirt that painfully grazed his body.
Finally, after what seemed an eternity, the volleys of gunfire and thundering
explosions died away.
Thunder of a different kind continued to pound inside his chest loud against
the sudden silence,
his heart beating so fiercely that it took real and painful effort for him
to catch his breath.
Not sure if he was alive, dead or somewhere in between, he cautiously opened
his eyes and looked up, squinting through fierce sunlight into the curious,
concerned faces of two complete strangers.
The nearest one, seemingly their leader, now favoured him with a mildly
"Hey, kid" he said in a dry, mid western drawl. "See, when
I say stay down, I mean stay down!"
Still dazed, and in total shock, Jesse stared up at him with all the comprehension
of a potted plant
that confusion only increasing as he looked around him, struggling to make
sense of what he saw.
Trees and bushes nearby were still smouldering, while all around him lay
broken, bloodied bodies.
Along with the fierce heat from the sun, the stench of blood and death was
For all his medical training, it took real effort for him not to roll over
and throw up on this guy's boots.
"What? What happened?" he finally gasped through a fit of violent,
"Wh Who are you? Where the hell am I?"
The other stranger, a tall and slender young woman with short blonde hair,
now squatted beside him, offering him a gently reassuring smile as she detached
a large flask from her belt.
"Here, drink this" Sam ordered gently, casting a `cool it sir'
glare towards her companion.
As Jesse cowered fearfully away from her, she tried again to persuade him
to trust them.
"It's okay, it's just water see? Just water"
Still wary, even after she'd drank some of its contents herself, Jesse shakily
accepted the offered flask, sipping cautiously from it as he tried again
to make sense of what he'd just experienced.
His fear and confusion over that experience were so obvious that even Jack
now took pity on him,
compelled by another warning glance from Carter to keep any further sarcasm
Whoever this kid was, wherever he'd come from, he was clearly in shock,
still deeply shaken
in no fit state to handle, or duly appreciate, the infamous wit of Jack
Instead, offering Jesse a friendlier grin, he extended a hand towards SG1's
"Jack O'Neill, colonel, head of SG1" Pausing for a moment, he
then added a clarifying afterthought.
"Chicago planet earth"
Still confused, but at least assured now of being in human company, Jesse
managed a weak grin back.
"Jesse Travis, kinda confused doctor oh, and and I'm from planet earth
too Elgin, Illinois"
"Elgin?" Jack beamed at him, clearly thrilled by this link back
to his old childhood community.
"Hey, we're practically neighbours!"
Jesse, though, wasn't smiling now as he looked around him once more, at
a totally alien landscape.
"Gee, Toto, I guess we're not in Kansas" he murmured, trying to
joke over his mounting alarm.
All kin-ships to neighbourhoods aside, where the hell was he? How had he
Hearing this, seeing the fear beyond the boy's humour, Jack gave his arm
a gently calming squeeze.
"Hey, forget Kansas, we'll have you back home doctoring before you
know it" he said softly
his smile fading too, though, as Carter looked up at him from the DHD, a
worried look on her face.
"That might be a problem, sir" she said quietly, nodding to the
jumble of tangled wires in her hand.
Staring too at those wires, Jesse swallowed hard, feeling his legs begin
to turn decidedly wobbly.
If not for the speed of Jack's reflexes, he probably would have collapsed
on the spot.
Instead he glanced pleadingly in turn between the two grimly concerned faces
The whys and wherefores of how he'd got here, wherever here was, were still
completely beyond him.
But suddenly those questions didn't matter so much as the one that now struck
him with brutal force.
How the hell was he meant to get home?
While maybe not as deadly as the Jaffa, Daniel Jackson was facing quite
a fierce barrage himself mainly from the tall, powerfully built police lieutenant
who now stood, hands on hips, in front of him.
"Okay, Dr Jackson, let's just go over this again" Steve said at
last, barely controlling his temper.
"You're military, but can't say what unit, and you obviously know what's
happened to Jesse
but it's classified, top secret to the highest level, and so you can't tell
me anything more right?"
"Believe me, Lieutenant, I wish I could" Daniel replied quietly,
clearly as exasperated as he was.
Glancing around the interrogation room, that frustration grew as his eyes
fell on Mark and Amanda
the latter close to tears as she clung onto Mark, the eyes of both silently
pleading for his help.
His heart went out to these people who so desperately needed answers answers
he couldn't reveal.
Their friend was missing, someone that each of them clearly loved deeply.
But his hands were tied.
Even though he wasn't strictly military, General Hammond had made his duty
to the SGC firmly clear.
Apart from those who had top level clearance, the SGC did not exist
Struck by a sudden thought, Daniel then sat up in his chair, glancing hesitantly
up at his interrogator.
"I I can't promise you anything" he said at last, anxious not
to raise these people's hopes too soon.
"But well, if I could just make that phone call now a private
Caught by surprise by this sudden co-operation, Steve released a long held
breath and finally nodded his frustration still evident, though, as he left
the room, the door slamming behind him.
As Amanda left too, phoning her mother to check on CJ, Daniel glanced up
to meet Mark's eyes
a gentler blue than those of his son, but still stricken with the same worry
for his missing friend.
"Your, um, son and Dr Travis must be very close, Dr Sloan" he
said at last, risking a hesitant smile.
To his surprise, Mark smiled back and nodded his eyes still troubled, though,
as he came to sit down.
"Five months ago, Jess disappeared in well, circumstances as strange
as these" he replied softly his voice strained, haunted by traumatic
memories of the last time that Jesse had `gone missing'.
"He'd been overseeing trials for this drugs company and well, filing
negative reports on them
in their attempts to discredit him, this company arranged to have Jess kidnapped,
kept prisoner for five days and hypnotised into believing that he'd been
abducted by aliens..."
Pausing to gather his thoughts, Mark then glanced up into the shocked blue
eyes of Daniel Jackson the gentle compassion he found within them another
painful reminder of his missing second son.
His voice then grew slightly stronger, finding support in the young archaeologist's
"By the time we found him well, it was so nearly too late Jess was
close to complete collapse
in fact, he was so messed up, both physically and mentally, it took weeks
for him to fully recover
but yes, you're right, Dr Jackson Steve and Jesse are well, closer than
most brothers I know
they're almost inseparable and since Steve had gone camping with him when
well, he just felt responsible for what happened to him, even though well,
of course, he wasn't
Steve still blamed himself though, for not being there to protect Jess when
he was clearly in danger
he's always been so protective towards Jesse, seeing him as well, pretty
much his little brother
but ever since that nightmare five months ago well, you can imagine"
To the relief of both of them, Daniel was nodding now, both in sympathy
"That must well, it must have been hard on all of you but especially
your son" he ventured, smiling his thanks as Mark passed over a mug
of welcome, much needed coffee.
"Yes, it was Steve vowed he'd never let Jess go through anything like
that again" Mark replied, studying his own drink for a moment before
looking up again, his voice soft in a final, strained plea.
"We can't go through that again, Dr Jackson please, if you can help
us we just want him back"
Before Daniel could reply, however, the door opened again admitting a more
hopeful looking Steve.
"Okay, you've got your call" he said briskly, plugging a portable
phone into a nearby wall socket.
Waiting for his father to join him at the doorway, he then cast a meaningful
glance towards Daniel.
"Take your time, Dr Jackson just make sure that call counts, okay?"
Aware now of just how much was riding on that call, Daniel smiled slightly
back at him and nodded.
One way or another, he was going to find a way to get Jesse Travis home
Once the door had closed, he took a deep breath then quickly dialled Hammond's
"General? Yes, it's me, and well um, no I'm afraid, sir, we have a
bit of a situation"
Jesse's situation at that moment was well, different to say the least not
to mention terrifying.
The inevitable Jaffa reinforcements had arrived, and now had them pinned
down again by the DHD.
Carter had her hands full already, desperately trying to find some alternative
way to get them home her absence from their defence forcing Jack to find
some extra firepower wherever he could find it.
"Hey, kid, can you use a gun?" he asked, too intent in checking
his own to notice Jesse's reaction fear and horror etched deep on his face
as memories of that stand-off with Trask came flooding back.
When Jesse failed to reply, Jack glanced over at him and experienced his
own unsettling déjà vu.
Damn it, the kid was freezing up on him, just as Daniel had done the first
time he'd had to fire a gun.
Prompted by another volley of gunfire, he then thrust a spare zat gun into
the young doctor's hands all too aware that their only hope of staying alive
was for this terrified kid to become a killer real fast.
"One shot stuns, the second kills" he added brusquely, demonstrating
on a small posse of Jaffa.
"And if you ever want to get back to LA, kid, I suggest you go for
the second option"
Jesse stared at him, then the gun, then back at O'Neill, clearly horrified
by what was expected of him.
He may have been on another planet, but well, an oath was an oath
"B But I mean, I'm a doctor!" he protested, staring once more
at the lethal weapon in his hands.
"I've taken an oath to save lives, not take them! I I can't kill these
people! I just can't!"
"Believe me, kid, these things are not people" Jack growled,
forcing himself to remain patient.
As Jesse continued to hesitate, he grabbed the boy's shoulder, briskly shaking
it to make his point.
"These things are aliens, doc and I don't mean those cute little
Martians you see in comicbooks these things are real and believe
me, doc, their doctors wouldn't think twice about killing you
they're parasites that have enslaved and murdered hundreds of thousands
of innocent people
they pose the biggest single threat to our planet in all history, and we've
gotta try and stop them!
I'm sorry if it's gonna break your oath, kid, but it's us or them make your
That choice was clearly tearing Jesse Travis apart as he continued to stare
at the gun in his hand
his instinct to survive a threat to his life crashing against that pledge
he'd taken to do no harm.
Finally, as another lethal blast of energy seared past him, he took a deep
breath and fired. Twice.
Alongside him, Jack O'Neill cast his new recruit a sadly reflective smile,
as sorry as he was proud.
He'd faced the same ethical challenge with Daniel, when they'd hit their
first Goa'uld ambush
forcing him into actions that opposed everything the peace-loving scientist
Now, as then, he could only encourage a shocked and shaken young doctor
as best he could.
"Just do your best, Jesse like I say, it's us or them"
Not trusting himself to speak, Jesse simply nodded clearly stricken as he
fired again. Then again.
Still keeping a furtive eye on him, Jack could only hope that Carter got
them out of this mess fast before this poor kid's idealistic innocence was
Daniel Jackson had lost his idealistic innocence when his beloved wife had
been stolen from him.
Sha're was still lost to him, of course for good now, and he'd gradually
come to accept that.
But if Jesse Travis was still alive, and still free from the Goa'uld,
then he had to get him back.
He'd done all he could, trying to convince Hammond that the Sloans posed
no threat to the SGC.
The final decision, though, had to come `under advisement.'
Now he could only wait with the Sloans wait for that phone to ring with
the General's decision that time spent discreetly studying the three emotionally
drained people that sat waiting with him.
The depth of loyalty between these people, their open love for each other,
had moved him deeply making him all the more determined to see them reunited
with their missing friend.
So when that telephone finally came to life, Daniel answered it before it
had finished its first ring.
Listening for several moments, frequently nodding, he then closed his eyes
and replaced the receiver.
Opening them again, he glanced across at three anxious, expectantly hopeful
faces and smiled.
"How quickly can you three get some bags packed?"
"Hey, how quickly can you learn to use this?" Jack asked, passing
Sam's staff weapon to Jesse.
Credit where credit was due, he thought, the boy was making one almighty
fight to stay alive.
It was still unsettling, though, to see how rapidly he'd become de-sensitised
to the carnage around him.
The gentleness in his eyes, so similar to Danny's, had now been replaced
by a cold, steely hardness.
And for all his earlier protests and resistance, the kid was racking up
an impressive number of kills needing only a brief demonstration before,
merely nodding, he took this new weapon and began firing.
It's the adrenaline Jack told himself, watching another Jaffa collapse
in a pile of fire and sparks.
Please, God, let it just be the adrenaline
There was probably enough adrenaline running through their systems for them
to run a marathon
but Mark, Steve and Amanda weren't running anywhere.
The only place they were interested in going to was the top secret military
base which, they prayed,
would finally bring Jesse safely back to them.
Not that they had any chance of finding out where that base was or even
what it was.
A hastily arranged flight brought them to Denver, where an Air Force car
was waiting to meet them.
They were treated courteously enough which, all things considered, came
as a pleasant surprise.
Then again, Daniel saw to that having a quiet word with their driver while
they stowed their bags.
Rather less pleasant were the blindfolds which they'd been made to wear
since leaving Denver although wearing hers during their flight came as second
nature to Amanda.
Even so, she was as grateful as Mark and Steve were when Daniel finally
gave them a quiet all-clear
all three blinking for several moments, regaining their bearings while glancing
curiously around them.
Daniel was still with them which, given the two armed guards outside their
room, was a real comfort.
Within moments of their arrival, the guards stood aside, both saluting their
Out of sheer instinct, both Steve and Mark stood too, while Amanda remained
seated next to Daniel smiling her thanks for his encouraging squeeze on
her hand before he, too, stood to greet his General.
"General Hammond, this is Dr Mark Sloan, his son Steve, and Dr Amanda
"Thank you, Dr Jackson" Hammond nodded in acknowledgement before
turning to face his guests offering each a heartening smile, trying to put
them at ease while gesturing for them to sit down.
"Obviously, we're doing all we can to retrieve Dr Travis and return
him to you" he said gently,
glancing across at Daniel, nodding a go ahead for him to finally answer
their inevitable questions.
"Dr Jackson here is in a better position to tell you what may have
led to Dr Travis' disappearance"
"Yes, I think what may have happened is an accidental transference"
Daniel started to explain swiftly changing from scientist to layman as three
haggard faces stared back at him in utter confusion.
"We're um explorers" he went on, prompted by Hammond's nod to
continue more freely.
"And we use this um, special device to meet new civilizations and um,
explore other planets"
The more alert of the three, although barely, Steve latched onto that final
word with open disbelief.
"Planets??!!?" he echoed, trading glances with an equally
dumbfounded Mark and Amanda.
"Let me get this straight, you're telling us that Jesse's on another
"I'm fairly sure, yes" Daniel nodded, trying hard not to make
that reply look or sound too flippant taking advantage of the disbelieving
silence that followed to anticipate as many questions as he could.
"This device we use, the um Stargate, is part of a network of wormholes
throughout the galaxy
rather like a highway, it unites two different points with a means of both
contact and um travel
and it provides us with direct, instant access to countless planets throughout
our star system"
"And somehow Jesse's been transported by this Stargate to one
of these planets?" Steve asked,
glancing from Daniel to Hammond with what, all things considered, was a
quite remarkable calm.
"Yes, Steve, I think a freak accident has caused me and Jesse to switch
places" Daniel went on encouraged by another nod, from Steve this time,
to go on in more specific, if rather awkward detail.
"I was dialling SG1 um, that's my team to return here from off world
I mean, this other planet, when this energy surge, possibly from the planet's
sun, hit me via the DH um, dial home device
from its age and origin, I'd guess that the device which Jesse was looking
at just before he vanished
well, it looked very much like a transference device, used to transport
people through an active Gate when Jesse touched it, by a million to one
chance, it was at the same time as that solar flare, and
well, it took Jesse to P3X953 while transporting me back to Earth in his
To his credit, he'd answered pretty much every question that Mark, Steve
or Amanda had thought of.
One still remained, though and after several moments of silence, Mark quietly
"Well, thank you for that, Daniel and your openness but how do we get
"Yes, you said before that the device Jesse touched was no longer operative"
Amanda chipped in,
not even trying to keep the fear and shock out of her voice as she glanced
at Daniel and Hammond.
"Are Are you saying that he's stranded out there? You're saying
we'll never get Jesse home?"
"Oh, believe me, Amanda, we'll get him home" Daniel assured her,
drawing her into a gentle hug.
"I know how hollow this must sound, but please trust me we will
get Jesse home"
Before he could say any more, though, a brisk knock sounded on the door
and a technician entered,
nodding a brief greeting to Daniel before he turned to address General Hammond.
"Excuse me, General, but we've just received word from Teal'c and SG5
they're on their way"
At this, Mark Steve and Amanda traded tired, puzzled glances before turning
to Daniel for guidance finding new hope in the broad smile that now appeared
on the young scientist's face.
"Teal'c is another member of SG1, he was um, off world on another mission"
Daniel explained, motioning for them to follow as Hammond led them through
a maze of corridors to the Gate-room.
"Now that we've managed to contact him through an operative Stargate,
"You can send him to this P3X953, find Jess and your team and bring
them back?" Steve concluded, clearly happier now that some attempt
to find and rescue his friend finally seemed to be under way
his earlier cool attitude towards Daniel thawing considerably as the archaeologist
grinned and nodded.
"It's going to be rather like a game of musical Stargates" Daniel
went on, shrugging his shoulders.
"With the DHD on P3X953 out of commission, SG5 will open its Gate from
their planet, P3X492
some of the team will remain behind, keeping the Gate open, while Teal'c
leads his rescue team out
once he's found Jesse, Sam and Jack, they'll Gate back here via the working
Gate on P3X492
I'm afraid it's a rather roundabout way of doing things, and getting Jesse
"Hey, I don't care how many of these Gates Jess has to go through to
get here" Steve replied softly,
glancing at his father and Amanda, quietly voicing their one shared hope
as he met Daniel's eyes.
"We just want him home, Daniel we just want him home"
"Well, with any luck, he'll be home in time for breakfast" Daniel
replied, grinning back at them laughing outright, as everyone did, at the
wry warning this drew from Mark.
"Well, in that case, I hope you've plenty of food in! Our Jesse has
quite an appetite!"
"Still think you'll have me home in time for breakfast?" Jesse
asked softly, glancing across at Jack, before turning wide, fearful eyes
back towards the relentlessly advancing lines of Jaffa guards.
Jack had to give the kid credit. Even when faced with what, it now seemed,
would be certain death,
he was still facing the horror of what was to come with an albeit morbid
sense of humour.
He had guts, too, by the bucketload. Despite a shrapnel wound to his thigh,
the kid had kept fighting.
Guts, humour, and a stubborn streak a mile wide just the qualities that
impressed Jack O'Neill.
If they ever got out of this thing alive, Jack was seriously considering
recommending him to the team.
Before he could say anything, though, Carter shouted urgently to him from
her cover beside the DHD.
"Colonel! Sir, look! The Gate, it it's opening!"
Sure enough, three of the activation crystals set around the Gate were now
pulsing and glowing red. And in spite of the terrible, horrifying danger
that still faced him, Jesse couldn't help but be captivated, his eyes rounding
like saucers as he watched this massive ancient monument seemingly come
"Wow!" he breathed, totally enthralled as the event horizon whooshed
outwards in a watery plume, before rushing back again, looking for all the
world like a luxuriously deep, rippling swimming pool.
Of course, all this was routine to him, but Jack had to smile at the wide
eyed wonder on the boy's face.
Oh yes, he could grow real attached to this kid
That smile widened to an all out, delighted yell as the identity of their
inbound travellers became clear.
"Yo, guys! Teal'c! Yeah, you guys go get `em!"
Watching all this in utter confusion, Jesse had been about to ask whose
side the new arrivals were on
Jack O'Neill's broad grin and recognition of their matching uniforms pretty
much settling that query.
"Well, kid, now that the cavalry's here, there's just one thing I need
to ask you" he said at last
having to raise his voice above the sounds of battle as Teal'c and SG5 swung
Loving the boy's puzzled frown, one that reminded him so much of Charlie,
he then added dryly,
"How'd you like your eggs?"
"You know, these eggs are nearly as good as ours at Bob's" Steve
mused, grinning up at his father.
"So I'd noticed" his father smiled, noting in relieved approval
that his son had emptied his plate.
With Jesse's rescue now under way, he'd gratefully accepted Hammond's advice
to get some rest Mark's insistence that they should all try and manage something
to eat met with united agreement.
To the surprise of all three, they'd managed to clear four laden trayfuls
of breakfast between them
cereal, bacon and eggs disappearing in short order, washed down by two large
flasks of coffee.
Now, as Amanda studiously stacked three emptied plates onto their tray,
Daniel came to their table the broad smile on his face telling them all
they needed to know
By the time they arrived, at an all out run, at the Gate-room, the room
itself was pretty crowded.
Armed units lined the walls, their unsettling array of weapons trained on
the now open Stargate.
Between them, General Hammond greeted his guests with a tense but still
while a petite, dark haired young doctor waited in calm readiness nearby
with her medical team.
While reassured by her obvious expertise, Mark, Steve and Amanda couldn't
help but look worried.
They'd not heard anything to suggest it, but was Jesse hurt? More worrying
still, was he?
Seeing their renewed alarm, Daniel moved quickly to try and reassure them.
"It's okay, Mark, this is um, standard procedure whenever a team returns"
he said gently, gesturing towards Janet Fraiser and her team with what,
he hoped, was a convincing smile.
"And even if Jesse has been injured well, Janet's the best there
Mark and the others smiled back and nodded, genuinely appreciating Daniel's
words of support.
Even so, he would only believe those words of gentle encouragement when
he saw Jesse for himself.
And he could guess from their still tense expressions that Steve and Amanda
felt the same way.
"Come on, Jess" Mark whispered, glancing hopefully once more towards
that shimmering circle slipping an arm around Steve and Amanda's shoulders
as they watched and waited for Jesse's return.
"Come on, son, you've got to make it home!"
"Okay, kids, show's over let's go home!" Jack O'Neill yelled,
calling his team back to re-group.
As the first members of SG5 began stepping back through the Gate, Jack turned
to Jesse and grinned finding it hard not to laugh at the mixture of excitement,
curiosity and uncertainty on the kid's face.
"Hey, Jesse ever been on Space Mountain?" he asked, gently coaxing
Jesse onto his feet
keeping his arm wrapped protectively around him, half carrying the exhausted
boy towards the Gate.
"Ye es" Jesse nodded, his widely rounded eyes still fixed on the
massive structure before him.
He offered no resistance as Jack gently took his hand and lifted it, before
extending his arm outwards, brushing the tips of Jesse's fingers through
the rippling circle, trying to reassure and encourage him.
"Well, this is just waaaaaay better!" Jack went on, still
grinning as he called over to Teal'c.
"Hey, Teal'c! Come on, tell my kid here how this thing beats the pants
off Space Mountain!"
Eager to hear all the assurances he could, Jesse glanced towards this intriguingly
his wide, astonished eyes travelling up and up and up
"Awww, yeah" Jack went on, loving the wonder on the kid's face
as he made belated introductions. "Sorry, forgot my manners in all
the excitement Teal'c, Jesse Travis Jesse, this is uh, Teal'c"
As Teal'c smiled and bowed a greeting to the still dumbstruck Jesse, Jack
returned to the point in hand.
"Hey, it is, though, isn't it, Teal'c? This trip is just way better
than Space Mountain?!!!?"
As so often happened, Teal'c didn't have the remotest idea of what Jack
O'Neill was talking about.
Despite working so closely alongside him, he still struggled to understand
the colonel's many quirks.
He'd soon learned, though, that the best way to deal with such situations
was through a single word.
"Indeed" he said at last, wisely leaving it at that as he turned
to address the tiny human before him.
"It is good to meet you, JesseTravis"
"Y Yeah, uh you too and and it's Jesse, you can um, just call me Jesse"
Jesse stammered, offering this towering figure a nervous grin while curiously
studying the gold tattoo on his forehead. Jeez, this guy made even Steve
look like a seven stone weakling !
Yet for all his size, there was an innate gentleness with which Teal'c now
smiled and bowed his head,
prompting a much easier smile from Jesse as Jack offered a further insight
into the quirks of a Jaffa.
"Awww, yeah, that whole double naming business?" he said at last,
casting Jesse a reassuring wink.
"It's okay, kid, he does that to everyone, it's well, see, it's kinda
like a Jaffa thing"
Raising an eyebrow, but knowing better than to retaliate, Teal'c simply
nodded while turning to Jesse.
"After you, JesseTravis"
Grateful for the two supportive arms that now settled around him, Jesse
took a deep steadying breath closing his eyes, offering a silent prayer
as he was gently walked forward into God alone knew what
For the past twenty one hours, Mark, Steve and Amanda had silently prayed
for Jesse's safe return.
Now, in a sudden rush of activity, those prayers were finally answered.
True, it was difficult to pick him out among the mass of green-suited figures
that surrounded him.
But a brief glimpse of tousled blond hair and that familiar green check
shirt was all Steve needed.
"Jess! Jesse!" he breathed, already rushing forward, Mark
and Amanda right alongside him
and George Hammond just didn't have the heart or, he knew, the right, to
call these people back.
Instead he motioned for his teams to move out of their way, giving them
clear passage up the ramp
sharing a broad smile with Daniel as Jesse disappeared once more, into a
threeway hug of utter joy.
Already disoriented from what, as Jack had promised, had been one hell
of a ride, Jesse frowned
dazedly shaking his head, trying to focus oddly uncooperative eyes on three
blurry faces around him.
One seemed closer than the others its voice odd, though as if it had come
through a long tunnel.
It was a familiar voice too, soothingly assuring him that he was safe now
that he was safely home
"S Steve?" he murmured, not sure if the figure who was hugging
him so tightly was real or not.
He sure felt real, and sounded like Steve but the way his head was
spinning, it was hard to be sure
Warned by the faintness in Jesse's voice, the blankness in his eyes, Mark
quickly stepped back urgently motioning for Steve and Amanda to do the same
to give their young friend space to breathe.
"It's okay, Jess, you're home now" Steve soothed him, keeping
his arm around Jesse's shoulders not knowing whether to be amused or alarmed
by his young friend's utterly dishevelled appearance.
The green check shirt, one of Jesse's favourites, was now little more than
rags covering his body
a body covered, to Steve's mounting alarm, in equal measures of bloodstains,
bruises and dirt.
"My God, Jesse! What the hell have you been up to out there??!!?"
Staring curiously down at himself, Jesse then glanced back at Steve and
shrugged his shoulders, looking for all the world like a little boy about
to face the riot act from an anxious parent.
"Sh - Shooting at aliens" he murmured whatever he planned to say
next lost in a vague mumble,
his eyes sliding shut, his legs buckling as Jesse collapsed into Steve's
arms in a dead faint.
"It's alright, Steve he's okay, he's just fainted" Mark assured
his anxiously horrified son,
smiling reassuringly back at him as he and Amanda knelt at Jesse's side,
gently checking him over.
Janet Fraiser was there too now, her medical team already carefully lifting
Jesse onto their gurney.
Respecting her authority, Mark and Amanda moved away, allowing her to take
charge of her patient both remaining nearby as she completed her examination,
Steve watching anxiously over her shoulder.
Jesse was already stirring restlessly out of his faint, which came as a
great relief to all of them.
The discovery of his injured thigh, though, prompted a more urgent retreat
back down the ramp
Mark, Steve and Amanda hurrying alongside while Fraiser briskly but calmly
reported to Hammond. "Shrapnel wound, sir pretty nasty, but it doesn't
look to be too serious"
As Hammond nodded, Fraiser then turned to direct her team in the same briskly
"Okay, let's get him to the Infirmary you too, SG1 and don't
look at me like that, Colonel
you know the procedure as well as I do now come on, let's move!"
Pulling a face back at her, Jack then shrugged and grudgingly fell in behind
as the party moved out Fraiser on one side of the gurney, constantly checking
her patient while Steve took the opposite side,
holding onto Jesse's hand, soothingly encouraging him as they hurried along
He'd done the same thing not so long ago, of course chasing a gurney through
a long corridor
Still, at least this time he could feel Jesse squeezing his hand, in gratitude
for his presence
that gratitude extending to a faint smile as Jesse opened his eyes and grinned
weakly back at him.
And no one was going to break that precious contact between them not even
a military doctor.
Fortunately, Janet Fraiser had already guessed that nothing was going
to dislodge Steve Sloan offering him instead a friendly, understanding smile
as she led the way into the Infirmary.
Just as they'd done in the Gate-room, Mark and Amanda again yielded to Fraiser's
Besides, with so much activity around Jesse's bed, there was really only
room left there now for Steve.
And it was pretty obvious to everyone in the Infirmary that he wasn't going
Assured that Jesse was now in expert hands, they moved instead to join O'Neill
at a nearby bunk briefly introducing themselves to him and the rest of his
team, before all eyes turned back to Jesse.
"That's one hell of a kid you have there, doc" Jack said at last,
admiring approval clear in his voice.
"I mean, considering what he's been through, what he saw back there
he's one gutsy little fella"
"He is that" Mark agreed proudly, still watching Jesse before
casting O'Neill a grateful smile.
"We can't thank you enough, Colonel for getting him home bringing him
back to us"
Returning the smile, Jack shrugged and nodded his smile, though, not quite
touching his eyes.
Mark had noticed this too his quizzical look prompting a rather more serious
response from O'Neill, regret settling over his face as he remembered the
sacred oath that Jesse had been forced to break.
"Things were pretty ugly for him, doc we were under attack, fighting
for our lives" he said at last,
offering Mark an unusually awkward smile before casting another concerned
glance towards Jesse.
"And I know that pledge he took was to preserve life, not take it,
but well, we had no choice, doc
neither did Jesse like I said, we were fighting for our lives it was kill
or be killed"
As Mark nodded, clearly shaken by this revelation, Jack felt honour bound
to add a gentle warning.
"You'd better keep a close eye on him for a while like I said, a lot
happened to him out there"
To his surprise, Mark was smiling now, very proudly, as he glanced once
more towards Jesse's bed.
"Thanks for that, Colonel but Jess will be just fine" he said
at last, nodding towards his son,
still stationed faithfully at Jesse's shoulder, gently encouraging him while
Janet worked on his leg.
"Whatever he went through back there, whatever he was forced to do,
Steve will get him through it"
"Yeah, I'd imagine he will" Jack agreed, happier too now as he
checked out the kid's progress.
That progress appeared to be so good that Jack decided it was safe to lighten
the mood a little.
"Hey, doc! How come you don't smile at me like that when I get
shot?" he asked peevishly.
"The only time you smile at me is when you're ramming some hulking
great needle in my butt!!"
"Because, Colonel, you're not this tolerant, and certainly not this
co-operative" Janet retorted clearly not fooled for a moment by Jack
O'Neill's wounded, miffed expression as she added dryly,
"You're not this cute either or nearly as adorable"
"Hey! I am too cute and adorable!" Jack protested, turning
that same plaintive expression on Sam.
"Hey, Carter! Tell Doc Savage there how cute and adorable I am!"
"Well, I would, sir, but well, she seems rather busy at the moment"
Sam replied smoothly leading Daniel and Teal'c in a strategic retreat towards
the door before O'Neill could protest further.
"Traitors!" he muttered after them, turning back to a now helplessly
laughing Mark and Amanda.
"You see what I have to put up with here? For cryin' out loud, no wonder
I'm going grey!"
"If it's any consolation, Colonel, I've always found grey hair very
attractive" Amanda chipped in,
finding it impossible not to laugh again as Jack beamed at her, light-heartedly
Before he could make the most of this accolade, though, Janet Fraiser came
over to join them
offering both Mark and Amanda a reassuring smile as she removed her gloves.
"Well, he's needed quite a few stitches in that leg wound, and he's
pretty sleepy from the meds
but he's still awake and asking for you better hurry, though, he won't stay
that way for long"
Nodding their thanks, an openly relieved Mark and Amanda headed eagerly
towards Jesse's bed neither surprised in the slightest when Jack O'Neill
followed them to check on his new recruit.
In the face of a life or death battle, it was clear that a very special
friendship had been forged
O'Neill's playful ruffle of Jesse's hair, and the drowsy grin he received
in return, told them that.
And while the colonel's warning still worried him, Mark pushed that worry
to the back of his mind.
He knew that difficult questions still lay ahead while Jesse came to terms
with what he'd had to do. But for now Mark was happy just to stand at Jesse's
bedside, secure in the knowledge that he was safe.
Rather bruised and battered, of course, and clearly exhausted by his ordeal
but he was safe. Alive.
As Mark had wryly anticipated, he was also stubbornly refusing to yield
to that crushing tiredness
struggling instead to stay awake, determined to tell them about his incredible
Appealing as that sleepy resistance was, though, Mark knew his young friend
desperately needed rest.
Now all he had to do was persuade Jesse to take it which, as he knew, was
never an easy task.
The only way he'd managed it before was by slipping his young friend that
sneaky Mickey Finn.
Wryly wondering if Janet Fraiser had any tranquillisers handy, he then turned
back to Jesse
taking his hand, stroking his hair straight while dropping his voice to
a soft, persuasive lilt.
"I know, Jess, you've had quite an adventure" he said at last,
still stroking Jesse's temple
using both his voice and the soothing comfort of touch to gently coax his
young friend to sleep.
"And yes, son, I know you can't wait to tell us about it but you can
do that in the morning, Jesse
for now though, son, you really need to sleep it's okay, we'll be staying
right here with you
it's alright, you're safe you're home now, Jess and you can tell us all
about it tomorrow
but get some sleep now that's it, Jesse that's it, son, close your eyes
now just go to sleep"
If he'd not been a doctor, then Mark Sloan would have made a pretty impressive
the persuasive softness of his voice, the comfort of its familiarity, gradually
coaxing Jesse to obey.
After one last stubborn flicker of resistance, his eyes finally closed,
his head lolling onto Mark's hand, trapping it beneath his cheek as Jesse
fell instantly into a deep, sedated sleep.
Waiting until he'd completely settled, Mark carefully freed his hand and
looked round at the others noting in some amusement that his hypnotist's
voice had worked quite effectively on them too.
Amanda was out on her feet, while Steve was in real danger of falling off
the edge of Jesse's bed.
Even Jack O'Neill was finding it hard not to yawn as his own tiredness began
to catch up with him. Seeing this, Janet Fraiser then cast Mark an amused,
admiring smile while nodding towards Jack.
"That's quite a technique you have there, doctor" she said at
last, adding with a mischievous grin, "You'll have to teach it to me
it would come in real handy around here!"
"Yeah, so would a doctor with a decent bedside manner!" Jack shot
back, pulling a face at her.
Clearly used to these bantering insults, Janet simply shrugged while making
one last check on Jesse.
Once sure that he was as warm and comfortable as possible, she then turned
to the others and smiled.
"With those meds, and your technique, Dr Sloan, he should sleep now,
for at least twenty hours
and I suggest you get some rest too don't worry, we'll be taking really
good care of him"
Mark smiled back, watching in amused approval as two nurses continued to
gently tend to Jesse.
His young friend had clearly made quite an impression on them and was clearly
in very good hands.
"I'm sure you will, Dr Fraiser and thanks again for everything you've
done" he said at last,
giving Jesse's shoulder one final gentle pat before turning his attention
to Steve and Amanda.
"Come on, honey you too, Steve let's follow the good doctor's advice
and get some sleep"
While Amanda nodded, all too ready to crawl into a nice cosy bed, Steve
remained reluctant to leave.
"You go ahead, dad" he said at last, glancing down to where Jesse
now lay curled against his side.
"I'll stay here with Jess for a little while longer before I turn in,
just in case well, you know
just in case he wakes up and wonders where he is"
Already anticipating this reaction, Mark just smiled and nodded while gently
patting Steve's shoulder.
"Okay, son, stay here if you want I'll um see you when you turn in
okay?" he said at last waiting until Steve grinned back and nodded
his agreement before he re-joined Jack and Amanda.
That nod of agreement, he knew, counted for nothing his son had no intention
of `turning in'
Three hours later, with still no sign of Steve, Mark headed instinctively
back to the Infirmary
any intention he'd had for reading his son a fatherly riot act vanishing
as he caught sight of Steve. Sprawled out on a spare bunk next to Jesse,
his son was snoring loudly very soundly asleep.
Oh no, he thought, wryly shaking his head as he came to stand beside Steve's
bunk, this wasn't fair.
How could you scold your son, when that son just looked so cute all tucked
up asleep ?
On seeing him approach, seeing the fond amusement on his face, Janet Fraiser
grinned back at him.
"He finally crashed out about two hours ago" she explained softly,
joining him at Steve's bunk.
Glancing to where Jesse, too, lay blissfully lost to the world, the grin
then mischievously widened.
"Actually it's been quite entertaining for the past hour they've been
holding a snoring contest
it's been pretty close, but in terms of noise and variety, I think Steve's
just sneaked ahead"
"Yes, that sounds like my boys you name it, they'll make a contest
out of it" Mark chuckled,
wincing slightly as the noise levels, on both sides, increased as though
in subconscious agreement.
Before he could say any more, however, Jack O'Neill came sauntering into
his eyes widening slightly as he glanced in surprise between one bunk and
"The last time I heard snoring that loud was from a whole platoon of
Marines!" he said at last,
making a show of trying to cover his ears while he came to join them, glancing
quizzically at Jesse.
"How can something so small, so apparently adorable and so skinny
produce so much noise??!!?"
"You know, Colonel, after all these years of knowing him, I'm still
not sure myself" Mark replied, returning that look with one of equal
rueful puzzlement before casting Jesse an openly fond smile.
"Yes, this boy of mine really is something else one of these days I
might finally figure out what!"
"You think?" Jack retorted dryly, turning more serious
as he watched Janet checking her patient, making some adjustments to Jesse's
IV and recording his temperature before noting his chart.
"Hey, doc how's he doing?"
"Just fine, Colonel" Janet assured him, both for his benefit and
Mark's as she completed her checks. "He was running a slight fever
when you first brought him in, probably from that shrapnel wound
but the antibiotics I've given him have already brought that fever down
no, he's doing well
a few more days rest for that leg to heal and he'll be up and about again,
good as new"
As Janet left to make a record of her notes, Jack caught sight of Mark's
smile and glanced at him guessing from his expression that a convalescing
Jesse Travis was going to be quite a handful.
"How worried should I be, doc?" he asked at last, nodding in quizzical
concern towards Jesse.
"Should I shut down the base as a precaution? Call in reinforcements?
The National Guard?"
Laughing now, Mark thought for a moment returning Jack's grin with one of
"Well, he shouldn't cause you that much trouble Steve will see
to that" he replied, still laughing.
"But whatever your food and coffee supply is, I suggest you double
no, better still, triple it"
"I'll be sure to warn the General" Jack promised him dryly, pouring
himself some fresh coffee.
Pouring another mug for Mark, both then settled into chairs between Steve
and Jesse's bunks
each enjoying this chance to relax and unwind after an extremely stressful
"You know, this has to be my favourite part of the day" Mark said
at last, grinning over at Jack that grin growing even wider as he nodded
to where his boys lay in now thankfully quieter sleep.
"Another day over, everything as it should be and the kids safely tucked
up in bed"
"Yeah, I know what you mean" Jack agreed, grinning too as he nodded
in happy agreement.
"Yeah, doc you're right, it's a great feeling"
Mark woke late the next morning, refreshed after an undisturbed night of
much needed sleep.
Glancing around, he found the bunk bed beside his still unslept in its covers
not even turned down.
Shaking his head, Mark then smiled dressing quickly before checking in next
door on Amanda.
Finding her still sleeping, Mark gently tucked her in before heading once
more for the Infirmary.
Jesse, unsurprisingly, was still soundly asleep, curled up in his bunk under
a huddle of blankets.
Steve was already awake, though, working his way through a plateful of rapidly
"Hey, dad" he greeted, grinning while nodding towards the softly
snoring bundle beside him.
"Well, this has to be a first I'm actually getting to eat my breakfast
without Jess hijacking it!"
"Yes, well, make the most of it, son" Mark chuckled, helping himself
to a small slice of toast.
"Remember, Jess will have two days worth of eating to catch
up on when he wakes up!"
"Yeah, that's true" Steve nodded, frowning slightly then grinning
as he glanced back at his father.
"You have warned them, haven't you?"
"It's gone to General Hammond himself" his father chuckled, watching
Jesse for a moment before, remembering Steve's excuse to stay with his friend
the previous night, he added innocently,
"So, um did Jesse wake up last night after all, as you predicted?"
"Well, no" Steve admitted, realising that his father had caught
him hook line and sinker.
Pulling a face back at his shrewdly grinning father, he then frowned as
he glanced down at Jesse.
"He was pretty restless, though muttering something in his sleep
about aliens and parasites
Dr Fraiser thought it was from the slight fever he was running earlier"
Seeing the concern on his father's face, Steve's frown then deepened into
one of puzzled alarm.
"Dad? What is itWhat's wrong?"
"I think I know what Jesse must have been dreaming about" Mark
replied quietly, frowning also realising that Jesse must have been re-living
that awful choice of kill or be killed.
Seeing the concern mount in Steve's eyes, he then sighed choosing his next
words with great care.
"Colonel O'Neill was telling me earlier that he and Jess were under
fierce attack from these aliens
in having to defend themselves, Jesse had to shoot them kill them, before
he himself got killed"
Steve's eyes widened, staring at his father in shocked dismay, before those
eyes fell back to Jesse.
"Oh, my God" he whispered, clearly shaken as the full extent of
Jesse's ordeal became clear.
No one knew more than he did how fervently Jesse lived by that oath he'd
taken to do no harm
how being forced to commit mass murder, even to save his own life, was going
to affect him.
"Oh God, dad, this this is going to tear Jess apart!" Steve said
at last, staring back at his father.
"I mean, talking him round after he shot Trask was hard enough, but
Wishing he could offer his son more than a sadly understanding smile, Mark
then sighed and nodded.
"I know, son I know" he replied softly, reaching to gently brush
Jesse's hair back from his eyes.
For now, Jesse didn't have a care in the world but how long would that joy
at his rescue last?
Those same concerns were still niggling at Jack O'Neill as he briefed Hammond
on Jesse's progress prompting a quick visit to the Infirmary for another
progress check once that briefing was over.
When Janet Fraiser met him outside, her serious expression told him all
he needed to know.
"We were just talking things over when it suddenly hit him" she
reported, sadly shaking his head.
"He became so upset and agitated that I had to call Dr Sloan and Steve
to come and calm him down
it's hit him hard though, Jack really hard"
"Damn!" O'Neill muttered, wincing in sympathy and concern for
what the kid was going through.
"How's he doing now? Can I see him?"
As he'd expected, Janet was already shaking her head while smiling sympathetically
back at him.
"Well, the Sloans and Dr Bentley are still in there with him and he's
certainly a lot calmer, but well no, I'm sorry, Jack I really think it best
for them to try and talk Jesse through this
he really needs to be with people he knows and trusts right now people he
feels at ease with"
Already nodding his understanding, Jack then sighed, glancing past her into
Through its dimness, he could just make out Jesse a pale and vulnerable
figure, sitting up in his bed.
Steve sat at one shoulder, Mark at the other, with Amanda perched neatly
on the side of his bunk leaning forward now to run a soothing hand down
the side of Jesse's face.
In spite of his concern, Jack felt some of that unease start to lift a little
as he watched Jesse's reaction a still shaky but typically gutsy, determined
nod as Steve drew him into a protective, comforting hug.
As he continued to watch, he then smiled slightly remembering what Mark
had said to him earlier.
He'd promised that the kid would be okay that his big brother, his family,
would see him through.
Watching Jesse settle trustingly into that big brother's arms, Jack O'Neill
suddenly felt a lot happier meeting Janet Fraiser's smile with an approving
nod as she quietly closed the door behind them.
The doc was right. With family like this to support him, that gutsy little
kid was going to be just fine
Not wanting to disturb the vital healing of that family, Jack stayed tactfully
clear leaving them to it.
Not that he'd admit to it, of course he'd never hear the end of it if he
did but Janet was right.
Jesse needed his family around him now people he felt at ease with as he
recovered from his ordeal.
Besides, to see him right now would only remind the boy of the very thing
he needed to forget.
By mid evening, though, anxious to find out how `his kid' was faring, he
returned to the Infirmary
its now re-opened door, and the sound of laughter from Jesse's bunk, a promising
Dr Sloan and Amanda were now gone but, as he'd expected, Steve Sloan was
still there at Jesse's side.
Jack felt himself smile as he watched them from the doorway, joking through
a game of cards.
These two were brothers, alright not in blood-name, of course, but oh yes,
they were brothers
On noticing him, Jesse grinned and waved a friendly greeting, beckoning
for him to come over.
Although Steve's smile was rather more reserved, it grew wider and warmer
as Jack joined them gratitude clear in his eyes as he rose from his chair
and extended his hand.
"I've not really had much chance to say this, Colonel" Steve said
at last, glancing fondly at Jesse.
"But thank you for bringing this little lunatic back to us even if
he is taking me to the cleaners!!"
"Hey, don't mention it" Jack grinned back, wincing in amused sympathy
as he studied their game.
Judging by the smug grin on Jesse's face, and the resigned expression on
the face of his opponent,
that already impressive pile of matchsticks on Jesse's side of the table
looked set to grow even larger.
Of course, he thought wryly, with a cherubic face like his, it was no surprise
the kid was winning.
But it was Jesse's eyes that drew Jack's attention now, causing his smile
to widen in private relief.
They were the gentle, compassionate eyes of a doctor again not those of
a reluctant, terrified killer.
There was a wicked glint of mischief in them too, reminding him of Mark's
light hearted warning.
Maybe calling those reinforcements in wouldn't be such a bad idea after
For now, though, it was clearly Steve Sloan who needed help as he resignedly
laid out his cards
his face turning even more rueful as he watched Jesse gleefully lay out
yet another winning hand.
Casting a baleful glare towards his grinning friend, Steve then sighed and
drew the cards back again, shaking his head while Jesse added yet more matchsticks
to his kitty.
"Here, Colonel, you go ahead and try your luck with Babyface Travis
here" he muttered dryly, straightening and reshuffling them before
passing the restored deck to a clearly surprised O'Neill.
"Be warned, though he'll take you for every matchstick you've got!!"
Feeling a little guilty that he'd intruded, Jack frowned slightly as he
glanced from one to the other.
"You're, um well, sure you don't want to try and win some of them back"
he asked uncertainly
finding it impossible not to grin, though, as Steve shot him a wry glance
of pure scepticism.
"Yeah, right" he chuckled, turning slightly more serious
again though as he shrugged his shoulders.
"No, really, Colonel, you go ahead I guess you and Jess have some things
to talk about anyway besides I need to have a rather long chat myself with
"You do?!!?" Jack's eyes widened slightly in genuine surprise,
before his wicked streak took over.
"Why, what's our Danny boy been up to now? You need to arrest him???!!!?"
Well, no not that I know of" Steve replied, grinning too as he entered
into the colonel's teasing.
"Why? Is there something about Dr Jackson that I should know about??!!?"
"Well, no not that I know of" Jack admitted, neatly copying the
teasing tone of Steve's question.
"But give me a coupla hours I'm sure I can come up with something"
"Yes, I'm sure you can" Steve chuckled, turning his attention
back to another master of mischief.
"Now Jess, behave be nice to the Colonel and try to let him
win just one hand, okay??!?"
Gently ruffling Jesse's hair, he cast Jack a final `good luck' grin before
leaving him to his Fate.
Oddly enough, he didn't have to go far to find Daniel the archaeologist
met him in the doorway,
greeting him with a friendly if rather concerned smile as he gestured towards
SG1's unofficial recruit.
"Your, um, father told me about Jesse I was just coming down to see
how he is" he explained, frowning slightly at sight of Jack O'Neill
seated beside Jesse's bunk, studying a hand of cards.
His friend and CO could, he knew, see off Goa'uld attacks and system lords
without batting an eyelid.
But Jack O'Neill couldn't play cards to save his life
"Thanks for that, Daniel that's really good of you and Jesse's doing
just fine" Steve replied, slightly awkward though in spite of his relieved
smile as he sighed and shrugged his shoulders.
"I owe you an apology, though, for the way I acted towards you back
there when well, you know I was angry and worried about Jesse, but that's
no excuse I shouldn't have taken it out on you"
"Hey, forget it, Steve really, there's no need" Daniel assured
him, waving his apology away.
"Your dad told me what happened five months ago, and believe me, I
know how you feel
if I'd been in your shoes after facing a nightmare like that, I'd have felt
exactly the same way"
With that settled, both now turned back just in time to see O'Neill resignedly
toss down his cards.
"Yep" Steve grinned, laughing out loud as Jesse happily raked
in yet another pile of matchsticks.
"I think I can safely say that Jesse's doing just fine!"
Jesse continued to make a rapid and, to everyone's relief, untroubled recovery
from his ordeal
so much so that Janet Fraiser was soon experiencing a bit of an ordeal herself.
Treating him hadn't been a problem in fact she'd grown increasingly fond
of her `adorable' charge.
He'd been quite a hit with her nurses too replacing Daniel as their favourite,
most popular patient.
Keeping that adorable patient in bed, though well, that was proving another
Now, as she and Amanda scoured the corridors, Janet turned to her companion
and rolled her eyes.
"What was I thinking, giving him that wheelchair?" she muttered,
ruefully shaking her head.
"The way he was speeding around the Infirmary this morning, he could
be anywhere !!"
Fortunately, her companion had familiar knowledge over where their elusive
patient would be.
"Don't worry, Janet" Amanda replied with a grin, shrewdly tapping
the side of her nose.
"I know exactly where he'll be!"
It was a given, of course. There was only one place that a recuperating
Jesse Travis could be
Sure enough, there he was sitting with Jack and Steve, being cooed over
by the female staff
and happily eating the SGC commissary out of its budget.
Sensing the approach of his amused, if rather exasperated doctor, Jesse
responded as only he could
big blue eyes, an expression of utter innocence and a smile that could have
melted the North Pole.
And once Amanda caved in under that irresistible expression, it was impossible
for Janet not to join in.
"Well now, Dr Travis, I can safely say that you're fit to be medically
released" she said at last
laughing too much to be offended as Jesse's eyes lit up like beacons, his
grin growing even wider.
She would be sorry to see him freed from her care yet part of her would
be wearily grateful too
relieved that the responsibility for keeping that mischievous energy in
check now fell to someone else.
And seeing how close they'd become, she'd already guessed who that unsuspecting
Colonel Jack O'Neill, SG1's brave and fearless leader, was about to face
his toughest challenge
By the end of that day, that brave and fearless leader had a few more grey
hairs to add to his name.
He'd thought Daniel's curiosity was insatiable not to mention damn irritating
jeez, when it came to touching things and asking questions, this kid beat
Danny boy hands down !
Every inch of the base, from supply rooms to its laboratories, was eagerly
and inquisitively explored.
An entire afternoon was spent in Daniel's office, enviously studying shelf
upon shelf of history books.
And when Jack told his young charge about the time he'd made the longest
well, he wished he could open the Gate up, just to let the golf-mad kid
try and equal it.
It was the Gate-room, though, that inevitably generated the most interest
and the most trouble.
"Hey, what does this do?" Jesse asked eagerly, reaching
towards an especially intriguing switch.
Narrowly averting the premature launch of a waiting MALP, Jack then glanced
up at Mark and Steve
breathing a sigh of utter relief as big brother took charge of what was
clearly a very familiar situation.
"Jess" he sighed, patiently indicating his friend's hands
and where he should now put them.
Pulling a rueful face back at him, Jesse then shrugged while burrowing his
hands deeply in his pockets.
Even with those mayhem-causing hands out of bounds, though, the barrage
of questions continued.
The only time he stayed quiet long enough to stop asking those questions
was when he was eating hence the strange, but unopposed, regularity with
which Jack took him to `catch a quick bite'.
It wasn't just the food commissary that was soon experiencing an unusually
sharp drop in its supplies.
The SGC's general store was also feeling the effects of its unexpected,
With, Jack assured them, Hammond's full permission although Mark had serious
doubts about that
a set of fatigues, mugs, the inevitable baseball cap and even a set of cutlery
all strangely `disappeared'.
Now, as they helped Jesse pack his `souvenirs', Steve glanced at his father
and rolled his eyes.
"We should have brought him a bigger case" he observed dryly,
ruefully shaking his head.
"Hey, you're just jealous `cos you don't have a set of these!"
Jesse shot back, glaring back at him soon smiling again, though, as he proudly
shook out his latest acquisition.
"Towels?" Steve demanded dreading to think what his scavenging
friend was like in a hotel room.
"You're leaving a top secret military base with a whole set of their
As Jesse nodded happily, and Mark burst out laughing, Steve just rolled
his eyes again and gave up hastily packing those towels away before anyone
realised they were missing.
Beyond all the humour, though, and Jesse's delight at going home, lay the
inevitable regret of leaving.
SG1, and its leader especially, were also sorry to see the departure of
their `unofficial' team-mate.
They saw him off in style, though a send off that left Jesse, and the others
too, visibly moved.
Spontaneous applause greeted him, while lines of guards briskly saluted
a bewildered glance over his shoulder to Mark, Steve and Amanda met with
equally puzzled shrugs.
Judging by the broad smile of greeting on Jack O'Neill's face, and quick
winks from Sam and Daniel,
they clearly knew the reasons for this unexpectedly grand reception.
General Hammond was clearly in on it too, offering Jesse a reassuring, proudly
"Dr Jesse Travis front and centre" he said at last, giving the
young doctor a gently guiding nod.
Still clearly confused, but not daring to question an Air Force general,
Jesse did as he was told.
From their own experience in the military, both Mark and Steve now knew
what was coming
both offering their still puzzled friend a reassuring smile, nodding their
Assured now that at least he wasn't in any serious trouble, Jesse
turned back to face Jack O'Neill.
Despite the solemnity of the occasion, Jack couldn't resist a quick wink
as he stepped forward accepting and returning Sam Carter's salute before
taking from her a long, official looking box.
For Jesse, the penny finally dropped prompting a rather hasty, self conscious
hand through his hair.
Jeez, he thought, throwing a rueful glance over his T shirt and jeans, talk
about being underdressed !
If he'd known this was going to happen, he'd have asked Jack O'Neill
to shang'hai him a suit!
Better still, he'd have worn his souvenir fatigues !
Hard pressed now not to laugh at the kid's obvious embarrassment, Jack then
opened the box growing more serious, though, as he took out its contents
with all the pride and reverence it deserved.
"In recognition of great courage under enemy fire, under exceptional
circumstances" he said at last, letting that broad, proud smile reappear
as he pinned a small medal onto the front of Jesse's shirt.
"It is my honour and privilege to present this civilian commendation
for valor to Dr Jesse Travis"
Jesse had watched this incredible honour unfold with wide, astonished eyes
not sure if it was real.
A slight pricking against his chest, and Jack O'Neill's apologetic shrug,
assured him that it was.
And when he saw where that honour had come from, those eyes threatened to
fall right out of his head.
Seeing this, loving the look of utter shock on the kid's face, Jack nonchalantly
shrugged his shoulders.
"Great guy and I've seen where he lives real nice little place,
Jesse grinned back, composed enough now to enjoy the proud applause that
again broke around him.
Taking advantage of that applause, Jack leaned closer to offer some quiet,
serious words of advice.
"This isn't to remind you of the bad stuff you saw back there, Jess
what you were forced to do
it's to remind you that you came through it remember the courage you showed
to survive it"
"I know, Jack and I I will" Jesse promised him softly, clearly
choked by this incredible honour.
There was one more honour still to come, though one that, to Jesse, was
even more moving.
As one, the entire personnel of the SGC now stood to attention and proudly
Prompted by Jack's discreetly raised eyebrow, Jesse managed a rather shy,
hesitant salute in return happily accepting O'Neill's congratulatory hug
as cheering applause again broke around the room.
Needless to say, the loudest applause, and the next proud hugs, came from
Mark, Steve and Amanda.
And when the time finally came for them to leave and SG1 took their turns
to hug him goodbye,
the tightest hug of all came from Jack O'Neill
After what they'd just been through, their movie on the flight home didn't
hold that much appeal.
Besides, as far as Mark and Amanda were concerned, the double act from the
seats between theirs
was far more entertaining than watching Will Smith flatten an ugly alien
back into its spaceship.
"What is it, Jess?"
"Does a civilian commendation for valor outrank a police lieutenant?"
"No, Jesse, it doesn't"
A pause, followed by the inevitable, questioning follow up.
"Not even when that commendation comes from the President? As in P-R-E-S"
"Thanks, Jess, I know how to spell it and the answer's still no"
"Yes, Jesse, I'm sure quite sure"
"Awwww see, `cos he signed it himself in person"
"I know that, Jess just as I know that if you don't stop grinning,
stop talking and stop bugging me,
I'll be teaching you how to sky-dive in person"
As peaceful silence, broken only by Amanda's stifled giggles, blessedly
descended on row 3B,
Mark leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes, a smile of wry pride spreading
across his face.
If, God forbid, the Goa'uld ever did manage to slip past SG1's defences,
he had the perfect alternative.
Pitted against these two boys of his, those aliens wouldn't stand a chance
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