* * * * * *
Jack leaned against the Bunny's hood, watching Cassie and Carter feed some birds on the lawn.
Amber had been given some Tylenol, but after another aborted request to go back to the SGC, Janet had walked away from him and now apparently Carter was in charge and had joined Cassie in fattening up all of the little birdies.
Teal'c had gotten back in the Bunny to meditate since Hagar was unobtrusively tied up in the middle seat.
He checked his watch again, about to go see if Daniel had died when he felt a tap on his shoulder.
He hit the other man on the shoulder, the blow glancing a bit.
"I thought I told you to nix the roadrunner impersonation."
"Trust me. I needed to get here quickly."
"You look dead."
"Jack, I need to talk to Janet about something and I'm extremely nauseous so unless you'd like to be my next target, move."
Jack's eyebrows went up and he waved his hand, granting Daniel permission to pass.
He watched as Daniel approached Carter and the look on her face had him moving to join them before he'd realized his feet were moving.
Sam stared at Daniel in shock, waking Janet up so she could listen too.
"Are you certain?"
"No. That's why I need Janet to examine me."
"Daniel, I can sense a symbiote inside you."
"Haven't you been able to sense Jolinar anyway?"
"Well...only lately and I thought it was because I was only just now adapting to Janet's body, but if your body is creating a body for her...Daniel that's a scientific impossibility. Your DNA is completely alien to hers. There's nothing of her in you but her mind. No map for your body to be following."
"Yeah, well...Jolinar and I have already talked about it and we're as confused as you. The fact is, that she's moving around in my head and it's not just mentally."
*Fill me in.*
Sam immediately recapped the first part that Janet hadn't heard, pausing only to close her eyes and duck her head as Janet took control.
"Okay, Daniel. Turn around and let me do a quick topical examination and see if there's any outward evidence."
Daniel pulled off his shirt, holding it against his waist as he twisted and turned for Janet's perusal.
Janet began fingering his neck, looking for any protrusions or anything out of the ordinary.
"Nothing yet. Your skin looks a bit stretched along your neck, but that could be from hanging over the toilet like you've been doing today."
"She's using my body to scratch herself. There's got to be something...different."
"Daniel, I can only do so much here."
"Janet, we're almost there."
"We need a place to examine him. I'm not going to bother to reiterate all the other reasons because his unusual condition should be enough."
"I don't want to talk about this here."
"Jack, I'm not talking about it anywhere else."
Jack stopped, mid-swivel and moved to face her.
Janet's raised eyebrow showed him how completely un-intimidated she was.
Jack's jaw turned to stone.
"A doctor in your care, a prisoner you have captured, and a member of your team are in serious need of medical assistance. Can you look me in the eye and tell me we shouldn't do something about it now?"
"You can tell me...right now...that they'll get worse before we make Florida?"
"No, but I can tell you that if they don't get better, it's almost as bad."
"So, we go back and Daniel gets implanted with something, you get sedated and dissected and who knows what else will happen. Uh...uh...uh...no."
Janet bit her lip, her frustration reaching its limit.
"Can you swear to me that I'll have the proper facilities when we get there? That I'll be given carte blanche with whatever and whoever I need depending on my findings?"
"No, but I will swear to you to pull every string I can and to do everything I can to keep you and everyone else here safe."
"I can't change your mind on this."
"Then, Colonel, I suggest we hurry."
**You're insane. You know, Daniel could've been hinting...**
**You don't think there's anything between Janet & Daniel, either, so don't even try.**
**There doesn't have to be. You're pushing all her buttons right now.**
**You know my reasons.**
**I also know that you need to come clean with her.**
**You're an idiot.**
**How's your head?**
**I'll live...not as bad as it was.**
Jack turned and walked to the Bunny.
He held the door open and stood there, waiting for the others to take their own sweet time getting in.
**You may lose her.**
**No, I won't. She's put up with me even when I was cavemaning it in front of her. Just may take some groveling when this is over.**
**I get front-row seats.**
Jack swatted Amber as she passed him and she glared at his slight smile before moving to the back seat and pushing Teal'c over.
"Why have I been awakened?"
"Cuz I'm not sitting with him so either you or Jonathan get the honors."
"I see. O'Neill, you are closer. I am unfinished."
Jack stared while Teal'c re-entered his meditation and Amber's gloating ran rings around his mind.
**Oh shut up**
**Not in this lifetime. You got snobbed by Teal'c. That's...you wouldn't.**
**Oh wouldn't I?**
Amber brought her feet up, shoving them against Jonathan's chest as he tried to vault the seat in front of her.
His hands wrapped around her ankles and she squealed, grabbing onto Teal'c and her seatbelt to keep from being dragged.
Teal'c tried to shrug off the struggling doctor, but every time he removed her hands, they would latch onto another part of him.
He raised an eyebrow, noting that CassandraFraiser was behaving much more maturely than her adult counterparts.
Her backside in the air, Amber was unprepared for a solid -thwack!-
She screeched in indignation, trying to see who'd swatted her since Jonathan was as surprised as she was.
Only one person could've gotten in and out fast enough and she let go of the seatbelt.
Jack flew backward, surprised by the lack of resistance and grunted in pain as Amber landed on him, pushing them both between the seats and onto the floor at very awkward angles.
**You asked for it**
**You weren't supposed to actually let go.**
**I can't tell how much is my pain and how much is yours.**
**I say Daniel dies.**
**Yup. Definitely. Slowly...**
**I think that between the two of us, we can torture him properly.**
**And nail Jolinar in the process.**
"You two having fun or can we actually get going?"
The coolness in Janet's voice prompted more recriminations from Amber, but Jack stayed silent, choosing instead to shove Amber off of him.
He winced as her funny bone was smacked against an armrest as she latched onto Janet, allowing the other woman to pull her upright.
"Uh, Doc...help me?"
"Oh I sincerely doubt I could treat you, Colonel...at least not with my paltry medical knowledge. After all...you know best."
Her sarcasm made him sigh, but Janet couldn't see any other outward sign of scoring a hit on him.
*He's upset and you know what I think you should do.*
*I need to know what is going through his head. I thought this was just about his fear, but he's never allowed it to endanger his team and that's exactly what he's doing now. This goes directly against all of his previous actions.*
*Maybe he knows something that'll help us.*
*Right...and it's something he feels needs to be kept secret. I think he hit his head harder than I realized and that I'm a fool in trusting him.*
*I know...I'm tired, cranky, and I feel betrayed. Going to bed now. Enjoy.*
Sam waited as the connections clicked and then leaned over, helping her commanding officer to his knees in front of her.
"Sir, you're going to have to give a bit here."
"Leave it, Carter and stop talking. I just realized you've been talking away out there. What if someone heard you?"
Chastised, Sam backed off and let him pull himself into the seat.
If he wanted to snap at her, then she'd ignore him.
She wasn't on duty now.
Seeing Daniel coming back from the bathroom again, she let herself take out her frustration a bit.
Hagar tried to read the lips of everyone at once, but only succeeded in giving himself a headache.
So when Capt. Carter's hands reached out to him, he blinked at her, trying to stay alert while following her to the passenger door.
He realized she had put him there to block the passenger seat as she then closed the door and ran around the front of the vehicle to get in before Dr. Jackson who was heading toward them.
Daniel paused, watching Sam/Janet hotdog it into the driver's seat.
*Should we tell her we'd already decided not to drive until we know what's with this?*
*Allow her her belief she has triumphed. When we are healed, her overconfidence will be her downfall.*
Daniel cocked his head, knowing Jolinar was only half joking.
*You are truly an insane race.*
*As are you.*
Daniel suppressed a smile, climbing in to sit beside Cassie in the middle seat.
Jack and Amber looked like they were bickering and after all the weird undertones emanating from Jack at the moment, Daniel wasn't gonna disturb them.
Teal'c was calmly glaring across Jack at Amber and she didn't seem to care.
Daniel was just grateful it wasn't him on the receiving end of that look.
Hagar continued trying to reconnect himself.
He tried to disconnect and reconnect, but the same tendrils were malfunctioning.
He sighed, reaching out mentally, trying to find Lucas.
He hadn't realized just how dependant he'd been on the other mind, always thinking he was simply someone he had to live with.
Now, he knew he sorely missed the one person who truly understood him and his motivations.
Sam turned the ignition and fiddled with the radio until she found a station that wasn't too fuzzy.
She looked around a bit and her expression turned a bit sheepish when Daniel held up the map.
"Oh, you mean Tok'raMan isn't a great navigator?"
Sam started to reply when a very emotionally tired Janet Fraiser flashed a mental image of the map and Sam smiled.
"No problem, Daniel. I don't need the map."
Daniel raised an eyebrow, but sat back in his seat to wait and see how she did.
"Colonel, it's about seven hours to Temple. Are we gonna wait till then to eat or get something about halfway?"
"Whenever people start saying they're hungry we'll look for a place. After as large a meal as we had at Waffle House, we should be fine, though."
**Speak for yourself. I'm not waiting seven hours for a decent meal.**
Jack smiled at the indignation in Amber's thoughts.
That waitress had really ticked her off.
* * * * * *
Syla checked on the dragon as they stopped for water.
GoldenBird had stayed no less than five feet away from her at any time and she saw nothing but protectiveness in his eyes, so she just enjoyed the attention.
As they began gathering their stuff together again to move on, two dragons landed, looked at each other, and then grabbed Gorowitz and Harris, careful not to dislodge the young dragon now fully jostled awake.
The two men yelled, their voices carrying only a short distance before being swallowed up in the wind.
Syla watched them go and turned to GoldenBird.
He stepped forward and laid down.
Her eyes widened and she sat down on him, hooking her knees around his thick wingtrunks.
She wrapped her arms around his neck and lowered herself, smiling as each of his large hooked claws caught on of her feet.
Firmly anchored, they lifted off.
The new position exhilarated Syla, even though the dragons' timing was really bad.
They'd only had about half a mountain left to get to the Gate and they were flying the wrong direction.
She reveled in how soft, yet strong his scales were, looking as if they'd slice through her, but instead bending to her pressure.
She began to wonder if he could actually control the hardness of the scales, her medical mind swishing through the possibilities.
Terry glared equally at what he could see of his dragon and the one carrying Harris.
Talk about annoying.
Yes, flying was fun, but they'd almost been there.
He did not appreciate this at all.
Who knew how long it would take them to get back this time?
His thoughts were interrupted as his and Harris' dragons moved apart to allow room for Mason's dragon to soar through and past them.
Each time the dragon moved, the sparkles in the air increased and Terry had an insane thought, wondering if the sparkles were their...excretions.
The thought made him sick and he refused to think it anymore.
The sparkles were actually little fairies being dusted by the big mean dragons.
Now that was a thought.
Terry watched Mason throw back her head a bit, her cap long gone and her short hair flying around her face as she rode that dragon like she'd been doing it all her life.
Figured she'd get first class seats...he and Harris were obviously just cargo.
Greg watched Syla, at first jealous, but then he remembered.
He'd been given his own dragon.
He at least had a chance at keeping Slimer, whereas BigBird there would never make it past the Major to Earth.
His jealousy appeased, he began taking a greater interest in the gorgeous sparkling landscape flowing underneath his feet.
It was both far away and near, something inside him telling him to just stretch out his feet and touch the ground.
Terry's stomach tightened when he realized he'd seen this scenery before.
For whatever reason, they were headed toward the ravine again.
Even if they didn't land, he could at least see what the damage looked like...and maybe see if his Captain had survived it.
A sinking feeling grabbed his gut, pulling it into his feet when he saw what was left of the three hooked mountains.
They had been so strange, the way they'd formed, that they'd had to investigate.
Now they were nothing but rubble with a small, grey life squirming its way out of the stacked sparkling rocks.
The dragons descended in formation, with Mason's landing first.
Once all were landed, Terry's dragon stepped forward to lift the baby dragon out of it's trap and the team's remnants watched as it was checked over thoroughly.
Seeing a precedent, Syla took Slimer and started to hand it back, too, when the dragon placed the other baby on the ground and began digging in the hole the dragon had created in its desperate plea to live.
The other two dragons began digging and soon five more dragons had joined the first three, their strong arms combining their strength to send rocks flying away from the living members of SG-13.
Syla hugged Slimer to her, knowing now the fate of Nora Frome.
No doubt remained in her mind that they were digging up the body of her fallen companion.
She looked at Harris and Gorowitz, trying to see any hope in them, but only saw shocked resignation.
Soon, the rocks coming up were reddened and all three, as one, winced, not wanting to see, but needing to at the same time.
* * * * * *
Yousef sighed, listening to Garshaw's mental nudging while trying not to tip off the General that she had somewhere she wished to be.
*They will understand.*
*Lantash is incredibly abrasive when he has been left waiting. Perhaps we should not go at all.*
*Garshaw, that will not help things. They know we received their message.*
*Do they? We did not respond. We could pretend ignorance.*
*That will not be well received by Lantash or Martouf who has had to listen to him while they wait.*
*You will have the privilege of speaking with them as you are the one who so wishes to join them after Lantash has been given opportunity to build his annoyance. He will unleash it on you.*
*He is much too volatile these days.*
*Jolinar's death changed him. He always spoke his mind, but...*
*I think Jolinar's revival has made him worse.*
*His impatience has always been unhealthy for those keeping him company.*
"Yes, General. I agree. The alliance between our peoples should be formalized."
General Hammond smiled, glad at least one thing he'd put forward had been agreed to.
"Then I'll forward your agreement to the President. Naturally, we'll expect to have a Tok'ra liaison here the same as you have Jacob with you."
Garshaw erupted and Yousef bit her lip against the torrent slashing through her mind.
*We need each Tok'ra. Our numbers dwindle as it is. We cannot leave even one here.*
*Perhaps if a non-combatant were to stay...*
*Do you think they will accept such a person? They will want someone with combat expertise and technological knowledge to help themselves.*
*I do not think they are out of line asking for such a person, Garshaw. They are offering many hosts now. You saw the list of candidates, yourself.*
*Children and their old. Difficult to fight, even with symbiotic assistance.*
*We should not complain as long as they are willing. At least having a host will preserve the symbiote until a more appropriate host appears.*
*True. Still not a favorable situation.*
"We will consult our operatives and see who is receptive to staying behind."
"Thank you. We're sure you'll find someone suitable to both our purposes."
Garshaw barely acquiesced to Yousef's insistence she not take over at this delicate point.
*What if they choose Martouf?*
*Martouf may volunteer to be near Jolinar.*
*I sincerely hope he does not.*
*Perhaps Dr. Jackson's time with her has made him more willing to consider joining us...*
Garshaw's skepticism filled Yousef's mind before she withdrew slightly to control her anger.