Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters belong to Showtime, MGM, Gekko Productions, and Double Secret Productions. No copyright infringement is intended and no money changed hands. Original characters and this story belong to me and may not be posted elsewhere without my consent.
The trip through the Gate had been a little turbulent and the landing had been rougher.
"Everybody all right?" asked O'Neill.
"Yeah, I think so," Sam started then she got a look around her, "Good Lord."
The surrounding area was in shambles, which had obviously happened after the probe had gone through. The bodies of dead and dying locals lay scattered around the Gate area. More locals peered from around the buildings armed with primitive weapons.
"Daniel, try to find out what happened here. Carter, Teal'c see what you can do for these people," Jack said.
Daniel started to try and talk to the locals. Sam and Teal'c started to check on the bodies. Jack was starting after Daniel when he caught a glimpse at a tower just opposite. It looked exactly like Kat's tower. Come to think of it, the whole place looked alot like Goshen, down to the dress of the people and the bits of language he heard. If he hadn't known better. .. his thoughts trailed off as he saw a young woman lying a few feet away. She had red hair. Fear like he hadn't experienced since Charlie died welled up inside. Somewhat shaky, he knelt down beside her. She was around Kat's age and had somewhat similar features. But she wasn't Kat. That made the fear go down somewhat. She was hurt bad. He wasn't a doctor but he knew she was dying. She suddenly opened her eyes, they were green like emeralds. She seemed to be gauging whether or not he was going to harm her.
Then she whispered, "Invaders . . . took my child . . . I try to fight . . ."
Just like Katya would have done in that situation, he thought then said, "Hey, try not to talk. We need to get you some help."
The woman shook her head and reached for something on the ground. Then she smiled and said simply, "Chacola," and drove a dagger right into her heart.
"No!" Jack shouted but it was too late, the woman died soon after.
Daniel hurried over, he took one look at the girl and whispered, "My God, she looks like Katya," then he added, "It seems the Gou'ald came looking for hosts. They took some of the people and killed many of the others. They tried to resist."
Jack sighed, "I know. She said they took her child. Then she committed Chacola."
"Chacola?" Daniel asked surprised by Jack's use of the term.
"Yeah, Chacola. Ritual suicide. She must have felt that she had failed her family by not saving the kid," at Daniel's surprised look he added, "Katya had to perform a similar ritual when we left Goshen. She didn't actually go through with it, obviously but she used the same word. One of the three I know in her language."
"What are the others?" Daniel asked.
"Love and revenge," Jack said and stood up, "Come on let's see if there's anything we can do for these people."
The day passed quickly. The damage had been great. The number of causalities was vast, so much so that O'Neill had sent Carter back through to bring back a team of medics. While they waited for the back-ups to arrive, Jack sat against a building staring at the tower.
"Jack?" a voice softly asked.
"Yeah, Daniel?" Jack answered without looking at him.
"You're thinking about Rena, aren't you?"
"The woman you found. Her name was Rena, she was the daughter of the clan chief."
Jack did not reply, he just kept staring at the tower. Daniel took a seat next to him.
"That won't happen to Katya, Jack," the scientist said as if reading his thoughts.
Jack looked at the ground and said, "How can you be so sure? I couldn't protect Charlie, we couldn't protect Sha're, what if," Jack stopped and for the first time looked at the man sitting next to him, the only person in the universe he could share these doubts with, "What if I fail her? She came to me because she trusted me, because she felt that her gods had delivered me to her. Because she believed that I could save her daughter, *our* daughter. What if I can't, what if I blow it again?"
Daniel looked at his friend, he had never seen Jack this lost before. Depressed and angry, sure, their mission to Abydos came to mind. But self-doubting, this was a new experience.
"Because you won't. Because she won't let you fail, *I* won't let you fail. You made a promise to her. And I've never seen you break a promise yet."
Daniel was expecting a typical Jack laugh and joke, but what he got was, "Yeah, and I seem to remember breaking every promise I made to Sara."
"You're different now," Daniel said, trying hard not to let Jack's depression effect him as well. Jack couldn't lose it now, not when Daniel depended on him so much.
Jack whispered something that Daniel didn't catch. He was about to ask Jack to repeat it when they heard the Gate activate. They both readied themselves for potential attack and were relieved to hear Teal'c's shout, "It is Captain Carter and the medical team."
"I'll be right there," Jack shouted in return, he started to get up when he felt Daniel's hand on his arm, "I'll be alright Daniel. Thank you."
Daniel shook his head as he watched Jack sprinting toward the medical team. He wasn't so sure of that.
Day passed into night and the locals had offered them their hospitality. They were very grateful for all of their help. Daniel normally would have been very interested in learning about the culture of this planet, but he was worried about Jack. Jack had been very silent for most of the evening. Not all that unusual in and of itself as Jack had a tendency to do that. But there was something different about tonight. Daniel tried several times to talk to Jack about it, but each time the older man had blown him off.
"For crying out loud, Daniel, I'm fine would you just leave me alone?" Jack had said the last time, "I'm going to get some sleep, it's been a long day."
Daniel had awoken sometime later that night. Squinting in the dark without his glasses, he could make out Sam on one side of the room and Teal'c on the other. Jack was no where to be seen. Fumbling around for his glasses and a flashlight, Daniel stumbled out of the room. He found Jack out on a balcony, which overlooked the tower. The colonel was slumped up against the wall, obviously asleep. Daniel was about to leave when he heard Jack mumbling something.
"Jack?" he whispered.
The mumbling became audible, "No! Take me instead! Lasha . . ." Jack jerked awake, beads of sweat rolling off his face.
"Kat?" he asked unsure of where he was for a moment.
"No, it's Daniel. Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. It was just a dream," Jack said a bit abruptly, then asked, "Where the hell am I?"
"The balcony. Don't ask me how you got here. Are you sure you're okay?"
"Yeah," as Daniel started to turn leave, Jack cleared his throat, "Daniel?"
"If you could have been there, what would you have done?"
"I would have given my life for her," Daniel said simply, there was no need for explanation.
"That's what I thought. Good night, Daniel."
"Good night, Jack."
Morning came and Jack had never been so happy for a chance to get off of a planet before. Daniel was starting to get on his nerves. What had been depression yesterday was irritation today. If Daniel asked him one more time if he was okay, he was going to backhand him. He'd be okay once he was home and he saw that Katya and Lara were indeed safe and sound. The medical team was to stay behind to treat the more severely wounded. SG-4 was going to come through to serve as guards, although Teal'c was certain that it would be some time before the Goa'uld returned. After the two teams were finished, the locals had promised to destroy the Gate. Because the Gate was to be closed, the locals gave Daniel a large sculpture that had sat in the middle of an old temple. It was very old and its significance had been lost to the culture. They had dedicated the temple to a love god of some sort or another, Jack had forgotten the details, but they thought it would be an appropriate gift for the scientist. At the very least, it would deflect Daniel's interest from him.
It seemed to work because even as they left the Gate area for the debriefing, Daniel was chattering excitedly about it.
"Jack," he said, "Jack!" he repeated a little louder.
"What?" asked the colonel who was trying really hard to get the debriefing over so that he could go home.
"You're going home right?"
"Yeah, that was the plan," Jack returned with some exasperation.
"Could you ask Katya if she wouldn't mind examining the sculpture? It appears to be very similar to some of the artwork of her culture and maybe she can give me some insights into it. At the very least, she should be able to read the inscription."
"Yeah, no problem. If that's everything?" Jack looked pointedly at Daniel, who in turn looked at Sam. Carter was about to bring up an issue but from the look on the colonel's face decided to drop it, "Good, General?"
"Very good, Colonel. At Colonel O'Neill's request, I'm putting Sg-1 on stand down for the next two weeks. That does not mean that you are vacation. Captain, this would be a good time for you to work on those samples that you brought back from PX678. Dr. Jackson, I assume you will be working on that artifact you brought back?" at Daniel's nod, he continued, "And Colonel, I expect you to be working on those reports, you are several missions behind."
"Yes, sir," said Jack with a wink.
"Good, you're dismissed. Make it a good one. And Colonel?"
Jack turned, "Yes?"
"Give my best to Dr. Goshen."
"Will do, sir," Jack grinned and sprinted out the door.
Home, at last. It'd been a long time since Jack had actually welcomed the chance to be home. It'd been a while since he'd been home. Lights were off in half of the house, it was after eight, so he figured Kat had put the baby to bed. That and the fact that the nanny's car was gone, meant that they were all alone. The fact that he faintly smelled smoke was secondary. He found Kat in the kitchen, frowning darkly at what remained of what used to be her dinner. He couldn't help it, he started to laugh. Katya might be alot of things but a housekeeper she wasn't.
She glared in his direction, "Damnit Jack O'Neill, first you sneak up on me and then you laugh at my attempts at cooking. I knew I shouldn't have given Marcie the night off."
Marcie was the young woman that Jack had hired to help around the house, after Kat's second attempt at nearly burning it down. She was an absolute saint and luckily she believed the cover story about Katya being from a former Soviet republic. It helped that Kat's name and accent sounded Slavic especially to the untrained ear.
"I'm sorry, Kat, you wouldn't believe how much I needed that laugh," he said taking the poor pan away from her and dumping it in the trash can.
Katya stopped her retort to look at him, something was wrong. She came closer to him, searching his face, "What's wrong, Jack?"
"Nothing now," he said folding her into his arms, feeling for himself that she was safe and sound.
"What happened?" she asked, sounding worried.
"I just missed you," he said simply pulling her back to him and kissing her deeply.
Just on the verge of passion, Katya broke away from him and backed up a few paces, "Jack, remember I can't . . ."
Damn, her mourning period. When she had come back into his life, she had explained that she wished to mourn the man who had been so good to her. The mourning period was a year during which time, the mourner refrained from many activities including sexual relations. She had been six months into her mourning when Lara was kidnapped. She had three months left to go. Jack had been remarkably good about respecting her wishes, but tonight was going to be very difficult.
"I'm sorry," Jack said, "Got carried away."
Katya searched his face, her blue-gray eyes full of worry. What had happened during this mission? Something had scared him. No, something had made him fear for her. For her? It didn't make any sense. She did know that he wanted reassurance that she was fine. She came back over by him and hugged him.
"Are you sure you're okay? You look like hell," she said quietly.
Normally, this would have brought about some kind of playful remark from Jack, which is what Katya had intended. Instead he just pulled her a little closer, this worried her as well. It was unlike Jack to show this much affection even in private.
"I'll be okay, I just need a good night's sleep. Mission was hell. On the plus side, the General gave us two weeks stand down."
"A whole two weeks? I don't even think we've had a week together since I got here," she said excitedly.
"Well, it won't be a vacation, I have a ton of paperwork to do," at Katya's muffled groan, he added, "And Danny's got this big sculpture thing he wants you to take a look at."
"I guess that will give me something to do. Have you eaten? Because dinner was pretty much ruined and I didn't expect you home tonight."
"We'll order something. Is the baby in bed?"
"Yes," she smiled at him, "Try not to wake her, we had a busy day. We went to the park with Janet and Cassandra. And then we went to the mall. Ah, your planet is just so wonderful."
"Great, how big is my credit card bill going to be this month?"
This was better, he was starting to sound like the old Jack. But still he seemed reluctant to let her go even though he seemed to want to go check on Lara.
Jack quietly opened the door to Lara's room and tiptoed to a seat beside her bed. Lara was fast asleep, a doll tucked under one arm. Except for her eyes, Jack always thought that she resembled Kat more than him. Apparently, she highly resembled Katya's mother. But as she lay sleeping, he thought he could see a little bit of Charlie in her. Jack bet that Charlie would have gotten a kick out of his little sister. Then the sober thought hit that if Charlie hadn't died, there would be a pretty good chance that Lara wouldn't have existed. Jack closed his eyes against that thought, he would not feel guilty about loving someone else, or about loving his daughter just as much as he had loved his son.
Jack tried not to dwell in the past, there was no sense in it. He had tried to put the past behind him. He focused on the present. That and the fact that his life had been very empty until Katya and Lara filled it. What would life be like without Kat's laughter or Lasha's hugs? He didn't want to find out, which was why he was so determined to keep them safe. He sat there watching his daughter sleep for several minutes until he heard the door softly open. In her white dress, with the hall light reflecting off of her red hair, Katya looked like an angel. She looked at him and nodded toward the clock. He got up and softly pulled a blanket over his little girl before joining Kat in the hallway.
"I'm sorry, I missed her too."
"I know, I just didn't want her to wake up. She needs her sleep," she said softly and shut the door.
Jack was starting back to the kitchen when Katya caught his arm, "Jack?"
"I think Noor would understand, he was always saying that the heart should not be dictated by tradition."
Jack stopped and looked at her, puzzled for a long time. Then suddenly he understood what she was talking about.
"Are you sure?"
Her answer was not in words and neither was his response. Needless to say there was very little talking for the remainder of the evening.
Daniel looked up from the sculpture to see Jack and Katya walking into the room. Jack was carrying Lasha. For a moment, Daniel felt a pang of jealousy. Was it because Jack got to have what he could not? A family? Or was it something else? Daniel pushed the thought out of his mind.
"Hi, sorry we're late. Marcie had a family emergency and so we had to bring Lasha along. Is this the sculpture?" asked Katya taking off her jacket.
"Yes," Daniel hesitated for a moment he seemed to be unable to take his eyes off of her, yes the dress she was wearing was pretty but she had prettier, he shook his head, "Yes, it is. I was hoping that you could read the inscription."
"Hmm, perhaps. It looks familiar," she turned to Jack, "Are you absolutely sure that you want to watch her this afternoon?"
"Yeah, I'll be fine. It's not like I'm new at this or anything," he said looking at Katya over his daughter's head, "And you know I've already missed so much . . . ."
"I know," Kat returned a sad tone to her voice.
"Ugh, but I am putting you down, you're getting so big. Say bye to Mama," Jack said putting Lara down.
"Bye Mama," she said.
"Bye Lasha. Be a good girl for Daddy."
Katya kissed Lara and then Jack. This made Daniel turn quickly away, what was with him this morning?
"Come on, Lasha, you can go see where Daddy works when he's not saving the universe," Jack said taking Lara's hand.
"You don't save universe, heroes do that.," Lasha insisted.
"Sure I do. How do you think those stories your mom tells you are about?" Jack asked.
"Are not, Daddy," Lara giggled.
"It's true," said Katya from behind them, "Now go on and don't give your Daddy any trouble."
"Kay, Mama. Daddy, can we go see Teal'c?" she asked.
"What is it with you and Teal'c?" Jack sighed as they moved out of earshot.
"Hmm, I think Teal'c has a fan in your little girl," said Daniel.
"Yes, she follows him around constantly. I'm not sure if he likes it all that much. Of course, she had a first class crush on you when she first came here. Uncle Daniel, this, Uncle Daniel that all of the time," smiled Katya.
"It's nice to know that someone loves me," said Daniel a trifle sadder than he had intended.
Katya took his hand, "I'm sure that your Sha're still loves you somewhere deep inside. Love is not something that can be easily killed. And if she loved you half as much as you love her then I'm sure that's more than a Goa'uld can destroy."
Their eyes met suddenly and it felt like an eternity. Daniel had been trying to think of Sha're the last time he had seen her as herself. But try as he might, Sha're's face seemed to morph into the woman before him. Suddenly he realized that he had pulled Katya into him. Embarrassed, he took a step backward.
"Thank you," he stumbled, "I hope you are right."
"Yes, um," Katya was unsure about what had just happened, "Let's take a look at this statue."
"It's similar to the statuary in the main temple in Goshen," Daniel remarked and then pointed to a strange symbol, "Although, I don't remember seeing this on anything you showed us."
Katya came over to it and touched it lightly, "Yes, I've seen this before. It pre-dates the main temple by several hundred years. This symbol was common in the first period, before the four kingdoms were founded. That would put it at perhaps three thousand years? Maybe earlier. I'm unsure of the corresponding time frame on your planet."
Katya moved over to where she had put her jacket, she pulled out a sketch pad and a notebook out of her bag, "These were all of my research I could bring with me when I left, I'm sure I have something on that symbol."
Katya thumbed through her notebook while Daniel worked at cleaning some of the layers of dust off of it. He had uncovered some more script, which looked even more archaic then the other script on it. She moved over by him, having found the symbol.
"Here it is. This is a symbol for Eros, a love deity from the old religion."
"Cupid," Daniel muttered then said louder, "Eros was a deity from Greek myth, he was supposed to cause people to fall in love."
Katya laughed, "How did he do that?"
"Unbelievable what people will believe. But you said that Eros was a deity from one of your Earth religions?"
"Yes, the Goa'uld and others populated the universe with humans from our planet. Your culture was taken from around the Mediterranean and Russia. I did notice that your writing is similar to a Greek writing system."
"Ah which is why you wanted me to read this, but how can it be? This was from another planet."
"Well, I was kinda hoping that the writing would be similar enough for you to make out. The Goa'ulds might have populated more than one planet with your people."
"I will try," Katya bent over to look at the script once more, soon her voice was softly speaking in her lyrical tongue as she trying to put the words into a sentence.
Jackson stood as if transfixed. He had never noticed how beautiful her language was until he heard her speaking it. She was so beautiful, Jack was a very lucky guy.
Then he realized that she was speaking in English, "Let no one have secrets from each other. Let your souls be barren and empty. Trust in your heart, allow your heart to lead. Everyone is equal everyone is at peace. Let, I don't know this word," Katya said it in her native language.
"Cupid?" Daniel guessed.
"Okay, cupid. Let Cupid's arrow pierce you."
"Cupid's arrow? So that would explain the shape," said Daniel excitedly then he turned to Katya, "You're a genius."
He hugged her for reasons unknown. But then it lingered longer than it should have. Katya didn't move and neither did Daniel. She looked up at him, his eyes were like pools, so deep so blue. He bent his head and brushed her lips with his. She didn't back away and so he kissed her softly at first and then deeper as she didn't resist. She put her arms around his neck and he ran his through her hair.
Suddenly the kiss ended by a slam of the door, breaking away they saw Sam Carter standing there, a look of shock on her face.
"Oh my God, you two are lucky that I wasn't Colonel O'Neill," she said.
"I can explain," began Daniel but then suddenly he realized that he couldn't explain, his actions had made perfect sense a minute before.
"Sam, it wasn't how it looked, please don't tell Jack," begged Katya.
Sam suddenly snapped at her, "Don't Sam me your Royal Highness, I know all about you."
"What are you talking about?" asked a very confused Katya.
"Oh come on. We were on Goshen, we heard the rumors. Apparently you had a string of lovers before and after Jack. One right after another. And finally Jack knocked you up and you came here. And now you're moving on to another one. Or is Jack even your baby's father?"
"Sam that's quite enough, leave her alone," Daniel ordered.
"No, let her continue. What is it Sam? Are you jealous because I'm the one they want and not you? And for your information Jack is my baby's father and there was no one after him."
"Yeah, until now, you tramp," Sam retorted.
Katya slapped her, so hard it actually stung. Sam was about to hit her back when Daniel stepped between them.
"Katya, go get out of here. I'll deal with this. Go to Jack, I promise he won't know."
Katya did as she was told and left the room.
"Did you have to say those things to her? She has a hard enough time adjusting," said Daniel sternly.
"Then you shouldn't have been kissing her, she probably doesn't know any better. But you do."
"Sam I, I wanted to kiss her. I've wanted to for a long time. But she loves Jack, she always has, always will. As always everything goes to Jack."
"What are you talking about?"
"Everything goes to Jack. Jack always gets what he wants. I want my wife back, he continually rules out rescue missions. I want to explore civilizations, study cultures, he ridicules me. I try to talk to him and he blows me off. I want Katya, she wants him. Hell, you want him."
"Yeah, I want him, but that doesn't necessarily me that I don't want you too," said Sam as her mood suddenly changed from that of anger to lust.
"You're just saying that," said Daniel, but before he could say another word, Samantha had him up against the wall.
Katya was sitting in the hallway breathing deeply. What had happened? She felt funny somehow. Her head hurt. And she couldn't remember what had just happened. She had been looking at the statue and then suddenly she was in the hallway. Go to Jack she had remembered someone saying.
She started down the hallway in search of him.
Daniel was sitting on the edge of a cot. He didn't remember how he got there. He had a pounding headache, he felt almost hung over. Something on the cot caught his eye. It was a pair of dog tags, Sam Carter's dog tags.
"Is this really necessary?" Katya asked as Dr. Frasier examined her.
"Kat, you blacked out," said Jack, he had brought her to the infirmary as soon as he could after finding her in his office. Lara was in the day care center on level 35.
"Look up," said the doctor shining a penlight into Katya's eyes, "Hmm interesting."
"What?" asked Jack.
Janet put the penlight back into her pocket, "There's nothing physically wrong with her, no concussion, no other physical signs. In other words, there's no physical reason that you blacked out."
"Tell Janet what you told me," prompted Jack.
"All I remember is being in the lab with Daniel. Jack and Lasha left and we were looking at the statue. I remember identifying it as a sculpture relating to the ancient cult of Eros and I remember reading some kind of inscription although I don't remember what it said. Then the next thing I knew I was in the hallway."
"So maybe Daniel knows what happened," Jack said, "Let's go find him."
"And if you feel the same way again come back here and we'll do an MIR," said Dr. Frasier.
"Thank you, Doc," said Jack.
Jack and Katya came into the lab. It was deserted. The statue sat on a table in the middle of the room. Katya's notebook was lying on the floor. Jack stooped to pick it up.
"Is this yours?"
"Yes, I must have dropped it. I wonder where Daniel is."
"Any ideas where he could have gone?" asked Jack.
"No, not really," said Katya, she was trying to think but at the moment she didn't seem to be able to focus.
"You know something?" Jack said walking over to the door and locking it.
"I don't give a damn where he is," Jack said grabbing her and kissing her passionately.
"Where who is?" she returned between kisses, she had already taken off his shirt.
"Nobody," he returned, "Do you have any idea how much I want you right now?"
"So take me," she purred.
Some time later, Katya was putting her dress back on.
"Hey, who said you could put that back on?" Jack murmured pulling her into his arms.
"I take it you like it better off," she said turning around and kissing him again.
"Always your highness, always," he grinned only to be interrupted by the sound of someone unlocking the door.
"Daniel," muttered Katya suddenly coming back to some sort of reality.
"Damn it," Jack swore quickly throwing his pants back on.
Daniel walked into the room stopping short when he saw the two of them, "My God, don't you two get enough of each other at home?"
"You know maybe if you knocked . . .," said Jack.
"Um I think this is my lab and you two do have your own place," answered Daniel, becoming a little more annoyed and then he glanced at Katya.
Suddenly her memory came flooding back, Gods what had she done?
"Daniel, please, we're leaving," Katya said softly, hoping that he wouldn't say anything.
"What is your problem anyway Danny? You're looking kind of annoyed," said Jack putting his shirt back on.
"My problem? My problem is you. You know back on PR5236, I was just trying to help and all I get is for crying out loud Daniel, leave me alone. And stop calling me Danny."
"Look Daniel I'm not sure what the hell your problem is with me, but I was fine and there is no need to bring it up in front of Kat."
"I'm standing right here, I don't appreciate being talked about as if I'm not here," interrupted Katya.
"You know he always treats you like that. Why do you put up with it? Why do you put up with him anyway? He's always cutting you out of his life, just like he does me," Daniel exploded.
"He doesn't Daniel," protested Katya.
"You don't know anything about our life or our relationship. And it's none of your goddamn business anyway. Your problem is with me leave her out of it," said Jack his voice getting louder as his anger rose.
"If she was so happy with you, then why did she kiss me?" taunted Daniel.
"What?!!" Jack practically screamed.
"You kissed me," hissed Katya.
"And you didn't resist at all," said Daniel although he took a step back from Jack.
Jack's anger was white hot. He'd never been that angry before in his life. He shot one quick look at Katya then moved. Daniel didn't even now what hit him until he was slumped against the wall.
"Don't you ever touch her again, Ever."
"Jack," Katya pleaded.
"I don't want to talk to you right now," Jack said.
"But Jack, I think you hurt him . . ."
Daniel slowly staggered to his feet and now he was angry as well. Katya barely whirled out of the way before he threw a punch at Jack. Jack pushed him back against the wall.
"Stop it please!" Katya yelled but to no avail.
Suddenly Teal'c burst into the room, "Is there something the matter your highness?"
"Please Teal'c make them stop."
Teal'c looked over to Jack and Daniel. Daniel's glasses had fallen to the floor and the corner of his mouth was bleeding. Jack was standing over him as if waiting for him to throw another punch.
"Colonel O'Neill, Daniel Jackson, stop this."
"Get him out of my sight," ordered Jack.
"Come Daniel Jackson we will go to the Infirmary," said Teal'c escorting Daniel.
"Jack," said Katya.
"I told you I don't want to talk to you right now," said Jack and stalked off after Teal'c.
"Jack, don't . . ."
Jack had gotten down the hallway just a little bit when he stopped. His head was killing him; Katya was behind him rubbing her head.
"Kat?" Jack said, "Are you okay?"
"No, my head hurts. What's going on Jack? I can remember a little bit more than I did before. You and Daniel were trying to kill each other."
"I don't know, it was like I couldn't control myself. I don't even remember what we were fighting about."
"Maybe Janet can figure out what's wrong," suggested Katya.
"I don't understand," said Dr. Frasier a little later, she had finished treating Daniel's wounds and examining the threesome, "Again there are no signs of physical causation yet you all are complaining of head aches and black outs. And Captain Carter came in earlier complaining of the same thing."
"Sam?" asked Daniel a confused look on his face.
"What do you remember something?" asked Jack.
Daniel pulled something out of his pocket, "I blacked out earlier and I came to on a cot. I found these."
Jack looked at them, "Carter's dog tags? What did you . . ."his voice trailed off.
"God, we didn't, did we?" Daniel looked at all of them and then suddenly at the figure in the doorway.
"I don't remember," said Carter, "All I remember is coming to on that cot and you were out of it."
"What the hell is going on?" Jack asked noone in particular but looked at Katya.
"Everyone was in that room, that's all I know, Teal'c do you remember anything?"
"I was in the hallway, I heard Ekaterina yelling. O'Neill and Daniel Jackson were fighting. O'Neill told me to get Jackson out of his sight," as usual Teal'c was to the point.
"You had no headache, no memory loss?" asked Dr. Frasier.
"None," Teal'c affirmed.
"So it whatever it is, doesn't affect Teal'c, perhaps we should go in the room and see what happens," said Dr. Frasier, "But first MIRs for all of you."
Dr. Frasier said, "I think I've found something."
"What is it?" asked Sam.
The group had been waiting for some time while the doctor examined the results of the MIRs.
"I've examined all of your MIRs and I've noticed something. In everyone but Teal'c there seems to be some abnormal brain activity."
"Abnormal how exactly?" asked Daniel.
Dr. Frasier launched into a discussion of brain activity and its effects on emotional response. Jack didn't get any of it and Katya was having trouble following the language.
Jack said, "Whoa, hold on, how about explaining this in plain English? You said something about emotions?"
Janet sighed, "Yes, something in that room is having an effect on your emotions. It's amplifying your emotions, making even the most latent stronger. It explains why you felt like you were unable to control yourself."
"But why the memory loss?" asked Daniel.
"My theory is that it affects your subconscious much like dreams do. When you are outside of that room, your conscious mind cannot remember what happened or at least not everything. I'm sure you've all had dreams that you only remember briefly and the rest of them you don't remember at all," answered the Doctor.
"Okay so we have to find out what is causing this right?" asked Jack.
"Katya," Janet said, "You said something about a statue that you and Daniel were looking at."
"Yes, it was from PR2436, it was dedicated to Eros," said Katya.
"Cupid," said Daniel suddenly, "Cupid's Arrow."
"Cupid's Arrow, is that what the statue is called?" asked Sam.
"Yes, that's right," nodded Katya.
"And if Cupid used arrows to cause people to fall in love," mused Daniel.
"Then it would stand to reason that the statue would also effect other emotions since they come from the same brain region," finished Sam.
"Then what are we waiting for, let's destroy it," said Jack.
"Not yet," said Daniel, "I'd like to know what we did in there," He looked at Sam.
"But we won't remember afterwards," protested Katya.
"I will remember," said Teal'c.
"And I probably will to," added Dr. Frasier.
"Why?" asked Daniel.
"Because I have slightly altered brain chemistry due to a minor head injury I had as a teenager. It's never been anything that has caused problems but it just might block the effects of this device," she said.
"Then let's go check it out then," Jack said.
He put his arm around Katya as they left the Infirmary. She seemed to be frightened of finding out what happened.
"Doc says that whatever happened wasn't our fault," he said quietly to her.
"I know but if it plays on already existing emotions . . ."
"I said it played on latent emotions as well," interrupted Janet, "These would be feelings that are subconscious, feelings that you wouldn't normally act on."
Katya nodded but it really didn't make her feel any better.
Soon they were in the lab. Daniel circled the statue warily.
"Katya read the inscription," he said.
She took a deep breath and looked at the inscription, mouthing the words to herself then said, "Let no one have secrets from each other. Let your souls be barren and empty. Trust in your heart; allow your heart to lead. Everyone is equal everyone is at peace. Let Cupid's Arrow pierce you."
"So that means that this statue helps you "allow your heart to lead?" asked Sam.
"Well, it certainly would keep people from keeping secrets, they wouldn't be able to keep anything," said Janet.
Katya was touching the symbol for Eros on the side of the statue; somehow it didn't feel right, so she pressed harder on the center. A grinding noise startled all of them. The statute suddenly opened and in the center was a black box. It vibrated slightly without it's protective shield.
"Well, we found our device," said Janet, "Now why don't you try to remember what happened before so that we can try to dismantle it."
Daniel looked at Katya and then said quietly, "Katya came to look at the statue. Jack and Lasha left. I remember saying something about love . . ."
"Yes, and I told you that I believed that Sha're still loved you and you held my hand longer than I had intended. Then we were translating the inscription. I read it and then you hugged me."
"That's when I lost control," Daniel looked directly at Jack as if pleading for forgiveness, "I couldn't help it. So I kissed her and she kissed me back."
"Then Sam walked in," said Katya quickly.
Jack was smoldering, he kept telling himself that the damn device was making him feel that way and that neither of them had wanted to betray him. But it was hard. Suddenly he felt her softly touching him, he looked down at her and was glad for the moment that the device was working. The anger suddenly disappeared. Instead he found himself holding her.
"Go on Sam, it's your turn," said Daniel.
"I walked in and saw them. And I was so angry. I called Katya a tramp or something," Sam said.
"She called me a lot of somethings, accused me of lying about who my child's father was, so I slapped her," said Katya.
"That's when I told Katya to leave to go find Jack," finished Daniel.
Sam avoided Jack's glare for what she had said about Katya and continued, "That's when Daniel started in on his rant about how Jack got everything and he got nothing."
"What?" asked Jack, "What the hell would make you say something like that?"
"Well, it is true," said Daniel, "Look at you, you have everything that I wanted. You have a family, a wife well alright a girlfriend, and a child. And my wife? She's a Goa'uld and I might never see her again," Daniel snapped.
"Oh Daniel," said Katya sympathetically, "Jack promised to find her and he will."
"Maybe," was all Daniel said.
"Then you said that I wanted Jack," said Sam, blushing slightly as she did so.
"You do?" asked Jack, flattered for some reason.
"And she called me a tramp," muttered Katya softly.
"But then you said you wanted me too and then . . ." Daniel stopped trying to remember what for some reason he couldn't.
"I grabbed you and then we started to well you know," said Sam, "And then you suggested we go somewhere more comfortable, we got to the cot and after a little while, the effects of the statue wore off. And I left."
"So we didn't?" asked Daniel.
"No, thank God."
"Later we came in the lab because Kat blacked out, looking for Daniel so that he could tell us what happened," Jack looked at Kat, "But we never got very far in the search."
Kat blushed softly, "That's very true."
Jack grinned, "Say Doc could we take that thing home with us, it's um very interesting."
"Jack, stop it," Katya sighed, "Daniel came in later."
"Yeah and then that's when all hell broke loose," said Jack feeling a little bad for what he had done.
"It's not all your fault," said Daniel as if he knew what Jack was thinking, "I started it. I picked a fight and then I threw up kissing Katya in your face."
"Jack got so angry, I've never seen him that angry before. In fact, I've never seen anyone that angry," Katya shivered in spite of herself, "He threw Daniel against the wall."
"Yeah and then I got up and hit him. So he hit me again," said Daniel rubbing his face gingerly.
"That's when I yelled and Teal'c came in," finished Katya.
"Okay, let's see what we can do about dismantling this thing," said Sam.
After a little while, Sam managed to disconnect the device. Suddenly everyone in the room but Teal'c and Janet got a headache.
"What happened?" asked Daniel.
"Quite a bit," said Janet, "Why don't you all take a seat and I'll explain it to you."
"So have we figured out why this device existed in the first place?" asked Jack.
"There is an ancient story in our religion regarding Eros. We did not have the arrow story like your Earth religion. They say that Eros felt that because humans had been given consciousness that they could keep secrets from each other. He believed in honesty above all else. He quarreled with the other gods because they believed that total honesty would create disharmony, which is why mortals had been given consciousness. And then the other Gods expelled Eros from the heavens," said Katya.
"So maybe this Eros went to another of his planets and attempted an experiment, you said this was over three thousand years old," said Daniel.
"Yes the statue is at least. The device may not be."
"Well, we'll have to run some tests on it. Deactivated of course," said Sam, "I'm going to the lab right now," she took the device and started to leave.
"Um Sam, wait up. I think we need to talk," said Daniel.
"We need to talk too, later," said Jack to Daniel.
"Yeah, we do," Daniel said and headed after Sam.
"You know Daniel," Sam was just a little miffed, "Your timing stinks."
"Why?" Daniel asked, "We need to talk."
"I don't see why, as Janet explained, the device acted on our subconscious, the feelings weren't real. Besides we didn't do anything. And you didn't have to bring it up in front of every one. Which is why I said your timing stinks. I have to run these tests now," Sam replied.
"But doesn't it bother you that we had these feelings?" asked Daniel persisting.
"No, why should it? They're latent feelings Daniel. We're only human, we see each other all the time. It's a natural response. The feelings were not real and that's the only important thing," said Sam suddenly feeling like a voice of reason.
"Yeah, I guess," said Daniel not completely convinced.
"Is it Sha're that you're worried about?" asked Sam softly.
"In a way, yes. It's frightening Sam that she could be so easily replaced," Daniel said shaking his head.
"Oh Daniel, you haven't replaced her, attraction is not the same as love."
"Maybe you're right. It's been such a long time that I've begin to have my doubts that I'll ever see her again. What if I don't? What will I do then?"
Sam decided to risk making Daniel uncomfortable and hugged him, "It'll be okay Daniel. We'll be here for you. You always have us. We're a family, Daniel."
"Thanks, Sam," Daniel said letting her comfort him. She could have ignored him or been angry with him, instead she was being what she always was his friend. And that's all he wanted.
A few days later, Daniel knocked on the door of Jack's house. After a few minutes, Jack answered the door and Daniel was practically knocked down by two little girls.
"Daniel!" shouted Cassandra and little Lara just jumped into his arms.
"Sorry, I'm on kid duty. Kat, Carter, and the Doc are on one of those girls' day out things. I was really hoping for some adult conversation ya know?"
"I can see that," said Daniel trying to disengage himself from the two children but not succeeding.
"Cass," said Jack, "Could you do me a favor?"
"What?" she asked letting Daniel go.
"Could you take Lara outside to play and keep an eye on her for a little while for me? I'll be right in here talking to Daniel so if you need me just yell."
"Sure, come on Lasha, let's take Apollo out."
Cassie took the littler girl's hand and went outside, the dog following them. Jack cracked the back door open so that he could listen to them.
"Look at you," grinned Daniel, "Babysitting, it's hard to believe."
"Hey, I happen to be a great dad," said Jack then softer added, "I don't plan on screwing up this time."
"Jack, I know you wanted to talk about what happened with Katya . . ."
"It's not Kat, Daniel. It's you and me. I know that damn device made you both do things that you wouldn't normally do. The same with me. I hit you really hard, Daniel. And I scared the hell out of Kat."
"Is she still upset about that?" Daniel asked.
"Yeah, she doesn't like to admit that she's afraid of anything but that really unsettled her. She wakes up crying in the middle of the night."
Daniel said, "You really love her don't you?"
"More than anything."
"Yeah, I know. I love Sha're the same way. And yes, maybe I am jealous. I miss her, Jack. And I see you and Katya so happy, I don't know. I'm sorry."
"Danny, I made a promise to you way back on Abydos. I promised that I would help you find Sha're. And we will, I haven't forgotten that promise."
"She seems so far away sometimes, Jack. Sometimes, I can't even remember what she looked like. And that scares me," Daniel said quietly.
"Memories are funny that way, Danny. And you never seem to remember the good times, just the awful ones."
"Yeah," sighed Daniel and the two men lapsed into silence only broken by the squeal of a child in the back yard.
"Jack," said Daniel suddenly, "I need you to make me another promise."
"Yeah, what's that?"
"Promise, you'll hold on to what you have. Cherish every moment you have with your family. I wish I had, but I thought that Sha're and I had our whole lives together. We had plans, we had talked about having children. And now I might never see her again, I may never have a family of my own. I don't want to see the same thing happen to you."
Daniel spoke so earnestly, that Jack couldn't make any of his usual cracks. Nor did he want to. He looked out of the window at Cassandra and Lara running in the yard playing with the dog. He looked back at Daniel.
"I promise Daniel," he said holding out his hand to his friend, "And like I said, we will find Sha're it's the least I can do for you."
"You've never broken a promise before," said Daniel shaking Jack's hand, "It helps to have you around to talk to about Sha're."
"Hey any time. And you know if you want to spend some time with your niece, I'm sure Katya wouldn't mind. Provided of course, you keep your hands off my wife," Jack grinned.
"Oh she's my niece now?" grinned Daniel, he liked the thought that Jack was now family, "And you know I'd never touch Katya again, not that she's your wife or anything," he teased.
"One, I plan on changing that status as soon as possible and two, yeah you're family Daniel. I thought you knew that," Jack said.
"Yeah, I do. I just like to hear it that's all. Thank you, Jack," said Daniel hugging his best friend.
After a moment, Jack squirmed, "Okay, okay, let's not get sappy or anything. Hey are you busy right now?"
"No, I can't think of any place I need to be."
"Good, because I'm thinking of taking the girls for ice cream. On the way there you can fill me in on how it went with Carter."
"Nothing really exciting to tell," said Daniel.
"Damn and I was hoping for something juicy," Jack opened the back door and stuck his head out, "Girls, you want ice cream?"
"Yes!" shouted Cassie, grabbing Lara's hand and heading back in.
"Come on, Uncle Daniel you can get a glimpse into domestic bliss," Jack said picking up his daughter.
"Are you buying?" asked Daniel taking Cassie's hand and the dog's leash in the other.
"Oh for crying out loud," sighed Jack, "Yeah I'll buy."
"Then let's go."
Later that evening, Katya found Jack sitting on the roof. Lara was asleep on his lap. It looked like Jack had fallen asleep as well. It reminded her of the first night she had spent here when he had shown her the faint glow in the night sky that was her galaxy. She sat down beside them quietly.
"I was thinking about that night you showed me the stars on Goshen," Jack said softly.
"I thought you were asleep," Katya smiled.
"Nope, Lasha's been out for some time though. How was your girls' day out?"
"It was nice. Straightened out a great deal of things with Sam and did some bonding. So how was baby sitting?"
"Exhausting. You would not believe how much energy two little girls have. It was a good thing Daniel came over and helped out."
"Yes, it was nice of him to stay and help. He said you and Lara were up here then he gave Janet and Cassandra a ride home," Katya said then softly added, "I suppose you had your talk?"
"Yeah we did."
"Jack, I want you to know that I never would have kissed him if I was in my right mind. I like him; he's a dear man. But I love you and only you."
"I know that Kat. It wasn't about you so much. It was about Daniel and me. We had to sort out some misconceptions. I think we did. There was something he said that made me think about that night on Goshen."
Katya smiled and looked down at her daughter. It was the night she had reached out to him and it had changed their lives forever.
"That was the night I fell in love with you," said Jack softly, he wasn't the type to talk about his feelings at length, but he felt that she needed to hear this, "Leaving you was the hardest thing I've ever done."
"You had to, Jack. I had to marry Noor and perhaps if I had known that I was pregnant, it might have been different. But that's the past. What matters is that we're here now. A family."
"Yeah, I know," Jack fished for something in his pocket without disturbing Lara too much, "Which is why when Daniel made that point about us not being married, it hit home."
"But we are, in my culture, formal ceremonies are just for the nobility or the wealthy. For everyone else, marriage is a feeling in your heart. And I consider us to be married."
"Not quite how we do things here," Jack said, "Believe it or not I'm an old fashioned kind of guy and I've been meaning to ask you this for a long time. Will you marry me?"
"You know the answer to that," Katya smiled, "But to do honor to your custom: Yes, I will marry you."
"Here, it's another one of our customs. It's not fancy, I mean you've got pinky rings in the safe that are worth ten times this but it's kind of a symbolic Irish thing."
Katya turned it over in her hand; it was a ring that had a heart with two hands and a crown, "What is it?"
"It's called a Claddagh ring. The heart stands for love, the hands are friendship, and the crown loyalty. You were it on your left hand with the heart pointed in. That means you're engaged or married."
Katya did as she was told and then smiled, "I know I have nicer jewels but this one means more because it came from you."
"You're just saying that to make me feel better," he grinned.
"As for these customs, I suppose you have some sort of formal marriage ceremony as well," she said.
"Yeah, we'll work it out later," he said shifting Lara's weight so that he had room for Katya, "Come over here."
Katya came over and he put his arm around her, "I love you, Jack."
"I know," he said.
But in his head, Jack was thanking whatever god had brought him the two people he loved most. And he was hoping that someday Daniel could be as happy as he was tonight. He would keep his promise to Daniel, just like he would keep the promise he made to Katya. To seal that pact, he pulled his fiancée just a little closer and kissed her.