* * * * * *
Amber shoved her way past the police officer, anguish nipping at her.
**Where did that come from? I already knew that.**
**I just...realized I hadn't told you.**
A pause where normally his every emotion would be filling in the blanks tore little shreds in her control.
**Thank you. Umm...stop.**
Amber halted, startling the woman next to her.
**I don't wanna risk suddenly sticking in you.**
**Carter's stuck in...Janet. She kicked one guy out of his body altogether and then push-pinned the Doc**
**Been saying popsicled. Needed a new expression for it.**
**Oh, well...that makes so much more sense.**
**Carter's legs are in Janet and her head's...underground.**
**Are you actually enjoying this?**
**Oh yeah...having a blast. How do you think I feel about this?**
**Sorry...wasn't sure for a moment. I'm not used to listening to your voice to figure out how you feel anymore.**
Silence met that thought.
The paramedic pulled her forward before Amber could stop her and she held her breath in slight anticipation.
After a few steps, she breathed a low sigh of regret when nothing happened.
Jack watched Amber closely, less than an inch away when she seemed to stop breathing for a moment and then her shoulders slumped.
Almost as if she was wanting him to get stuck to her.
His heart was just laying inside his chest, in pieces, and he couldn't figure out how he was supposed to act.
What to do...
Amber's face went blank and his knees went weak.
His stomach lurched and his mind automatically looked for the cause of her emotionless face, knowing from long experience just how un-emotionless she was behind that mask.
Her memories slipped behind his eyes, some gleaned when they had first connected and some lived during those last few hours of joining.
He deliberately closed them, trying to re-experience the memories as realistically as he had the first time.
A connection with Amber.
Even though he could remember being her when she was devastated at finding her husband of four days dead, drowned in the toilet with no marks of struggle, it was vague...like his own memories.
Standing there in shock, feeling horror and fatigue, wondering what she'd done to make him kill himself and then finding out he'd lost all of their money and more.
How scared she'd been when all of the money she'd saved and had been counting on to start medical school with was just gone.
Suddenly her rebellious elopement didn't seem so thrilling or exciting.
Her foster parents had not been happy to see her again, even though her spirit had become guarded and her brilliant mind focused to the point that she was just not the same person she had been when she'd left them.
Jack shook his head to clear the last remnants away, trying not to remember the other parts...where the police investigation had nearly ruined her reputation even though it was obvious to everyone he'd committed suicide.
She'd almost been passed over school-wise and it had only been her exceptional intellect that had gained her a second look.
He hadn't told her that he'd seen that.
He hadn't had to.
She hadn't wanted to talk about it any more now than she had when he'd first brought it up.
Her refusal to get near anyone who cheated, didn't follow the rules, or did the unexpected had become a taboo mental subject and now he wished he'd gone through it with her.
Given her a place to release.
He hadn't thought it would end.
Her implant was gone and they were still connected.
He'd gotten complacent.
He'd felt safe.
Now they were all suffering.
Daniel smiled sweetly at the man, finally getting through to General Hammond.
*He is trying to listen.*
*He can't hear me. Relax*
"Sir, we...kinda have a situation here."
*I'll tell him what I can.*
"Are you already in Florida?"
"Umm...no, we're in Oxford, just shy of Temple."
"Well out with it, son. What is it you need?"
*Access to a plane as well as...secrecy is not as important as our safety and that substance they injected you with is most primitive.*
*You're sounding a bit groggy. You know, normally that stuff knocks me out. Maybe it's getting you instead.*
*I...am not amused. This is most uncomfortable.*
Daniel's smile at Jolinar's predicament dropped away at the General's next question.
"Are those sirens?"
"Yup...those would be sirens. They're taking Jack's body and we need help here."
"Excuse me? Would you care to explain that?"
"Jack's dead...well, he's like Sam was...before she was in Janet."
*And not by my hand...more's the pity.*
*Jolinar! Cut it out! You don't need to take our expressions and use them if you're gonna be so...insensitive.*
*I like that expression.*
"That's the weird part. His head just...exploded. The most likely explanation is that the implant in Jack's head blew up. Janet thinks so, anyway."
"Was anyone else hurt?"
"Not that I know of. All of us got covered in Jack's...head...and Amber and Cassie were cut a bit by flying bone, but nothing severe."
"Let me talk to Dr. Fraiser."
*Oh yes...just go let her know she has a phone call.*
Daniel glared, getting lightheaded when his eyeballs tried to roll into his head to properly convey his displeasure with his symbiote.
*That image was amusing. Do it again.*
Daniel just barely contained his growing ire.
Jolinar's voice was slowing a bit, but her usual attempts to keep from aggravating him seemed to have disappeared entirely.
"Umm...she's a bit out of it, sir."
"You said she was fine."
"Sir...Jack just died."
*Shut up, Jolinar.*
*I said nothing.*
Daniel listened to the stark silence on the other end and knew it had finally sunk in.
The catch in the other man's voice was belied by the strength of his words.
"I see. I'll take care of it from here. Just do what you're told and remember the confidentiality of this project."
"Don't worry. We're evading pretty well."
"I'll get all of you back here soon."
"What about the Bunny?"
"Oh umm...that Plymouth Grand Voyager Amber's sister loaned us. It's got blood and stuff all over the inside and well, it needs to get back to her sister soon."
"I'll take care of that, too. You go take care of everyone else. Teal'c's going to need your help."
"Ya, well...I think he's the only one who doesn't need my help at the moment."
"Dr. Jackson, you and I both know not to let his control fool us. He may say he's sworn his allegiance to this world, but what he really means is that he's ready and willing to follow Jack O'Neill to hell and back. See to it he doesn't take that desire to the extreme."
Daniel stopped walking, shocked at the implication.
"He wouldn't kill himself!"
Amber raised her eyebrows a bit at him as she wrapped her arms around her chest.
He hadn't even seen her walk up to him, but now he just held out an arm and with only a moment's hesitation, she tucked herself against his side.
"If you're right, then the Colonel's not dead and Teal'c would simply be following him to the next level rather than dying. Are you certain he won't take that route?"
Daniel stared at Teal'c where he stood watch over the mother and daughter still laying on the ground, his mind wrapping around the thought.
Amber's shivering distracted him for only a moment before Jolinar, much stronger vocally, reasserted her opinions in his mind.
His arm around her shoulder tightened too much before he breathed an apology and lessened the pressure.
Amber didn't say a word, just standing there beside him.
*You are both fools. Teal'c would not abandon Cassandra, Janet, Amber or you in order to fulfill his selfish desire to be near O'Neill. His loyalty may be unfathomable, but it is there.*
*He won't abandon his family, either.*
*He already has. They are of no consequence.*
*That's not true.*
*They would be here with him if they were so important to his daily life.*
*So you were always with Martouf?*
*No. We both worked.*
*They would be prisoners.*
*He is no longer a prisoner.*
"Sorry...no, I really don't think Teal'c would do that."
"Well, keep your eye on him anyway."
"Yeah. I will."
"SGC personnel will arrive as soon as I can get them there. Ignore any squabbling between the local officials over who gets jurisdiction. Don't say anything to any of them and we'll get you here as soon as we can get the Colonel's body released."
"Will that be difficult?"
"As soon as it's determined that an Air Force Colonel died, they'll expect Air Force personnel to claim him. Nothing will be left out."
"Well there's some questions already. Janet...lost it."
"Yes, sir...she put Sam in charge and quite a few people saw her eyes glow."
The muffled oath on the other side was joined by a quick explanation of the situation and Daniel realized he could hear Jacob Carter in the background.
*Martouf may be there as well! We must leave immediately.*
*We can't leave them here!*
*The vehicle still works. They have extracted his body. We will go.*
*Jolinar, you're not thinking clearly. You're being really rude, too.*
*I wish to see my mate and I wish to leave your world.*
*Well too bad. I don't see that happening any time soon.*
*It would if you would join...why are you so opposed to joining us?*
*I don't agree with your actions.*
*We are fighting a tyrannical...*
*Yes and your reasons are sound, but your methods are a bit cold-hearted at times and I'm not sure if I can handle being actively involved in them.*
"Dr. Jackson, did anything else happen?"
"Umm, well, they saw Cassie seemingly float. Jack was holding her and since they can't see Jack..."
"That doesn't make any sense. I thought Capt. Carter went right through things."
"Jack apparently has full manipulative control over our physical realm. I don't know why. We're missing the defining factor here."
"I see. I need to go. We have a situation here, as well. Try to keep everything else classified a secret and I'll see if we can take some preventative measures."
"Don't thank me yet, son. Thank me when you're actually here and I've drowned in all the red tape I'm gonna have to swim through to pull this off."
Daniel smiled tightly when he heard the General click off.
*I have no desire to speak with you.*
*I'm sorry. I was trying to concentrate on talking to the General.*
*I just realized I truly may never be able to rejoin my family again.*
*You would do to me what the Goa'uld have done to you.*
*Excuse me? Wha...where'd that come from?*
*Sha're is kept from you by the Goa'uld. You can either join them or extract her from them to be together. My mate is Tok'ra. I can either join him there or make him stay here. You will not allow me to join them and he is needed because of his vast knowledge gathered both from Lantash's past as well as events since Martouf's joining. He will not stay. He cannot stay.*
Daniel leaned against the ambulance, his eyes closed as her arguments began to penetrate.
Amber's sigh made him glance over to make sure she was ok and without thinking about it, he pulled her into a hug, holding her tight.
Amber just rested her forehead on Daniel's broad shoulder, part of her in shock that she was being touched, part in fear of even more disastrous twists of fate, and part just wanting to hide from everyone and everything.
Her back was ramrod straight and she expected Daniel to release her, thinking she didn't want the hug, but she obviously hadn't given him enough credit and he didn't move, nor did his arms tighten.
He just held her, letting her take what comfort she could without lowering her defenses too far.
She would not lose control again.
She simply refused to.
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