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Her mother's breathing was still ragged, but it was almost a comfort since at least she knew she was still there if she could hear her breathing.

She couldn't hear Jack breathe...did he even breathe anymore?

Strong hands lifted her up and for a moment, before she let her eyes open, she imagined it was her dad...her almost dad...he said he wanted to be her dad...but then her eyes opened and she saw a stranger's eyes.

Cassandra didn't even have enough energy to protest, though she mustered a tiny smile when the stranger's eyes widened and she was handed to the very familiar dark arms of her Jaffa protector.

Teal'c would never leave her.

He was a constant.

No, Jack was a constant, too.

Sam was a constant, too.

Daniel...Janet...Amber...her dog...they could all die...

Cassie's eyes were huge as the realization hit her that there truly were no guarantees.

Teal'c could die next.

He could trip and fall...he would land on her and she might die too.

A circular train of thought now ran round and round inside Cassandra's head.

Death...everyone could die...everyone would die...maybe everyone was already dead or maybe they were never alive and it was all just an illusion.

If they were never alive, then Jack hadn't left because he'd never been there to start with.

She wasn't really here.

Her heart wasn't here and so it couldn't be hurting because only real things hurt...or did they?

Was anything real?

Teal'c nodded his head slightly at DanielJackson as the archaeologist tried to convince Amber to get into the dark car first so Cassie wouldn't be alone.

The Feds, as O'Neill called them, had arrived and somehow convinced the police to allow them custody and now they were to be transported to a facility to be properly cared for.

Teal'c held Cassandra closer, refusing to dwell on how roughly O'Neill's body was handled before the Coroner had driven away.

Cassandra's tears had dried, but he did not like the look on her face as she stared off to a place he could not see.


* * * * * *

Janet didn't move, knowing she was in shock, but not willing to do anything to help the agent trying to convince her to at least sit up.

She had only moved enough that her face laid on the cool asphalt where she could watch her daughter laying limply in Teal'c's arms before he handed her to Daniel to get situated in the car.

People talking...from a distance.

Only one voice broke through and she didn't want to hear him.

He was a stupid man and she had been stupid to give her heart away again.

Third time's the charm...and to think she was actually wanting to marry the man.

 "You okay down there?"

Why wouldn't he be quiet?

Her eyes closed against the sight of Daniel coming towards her.

Jack's hand was gently cupping her face, telling her she needed to get up before they buried her too, but she wasn't going to give into him again.

She wasn't going to smile or pretend it was all right and she was not going to fall for all...cuz he was dead.

He was truly dead.

The thought still shocked her, even though her heart had already broken, each jagged piece was still hoping it was all a bad movie or dream and that she was going to wake up in the Bunny with his arms around her on their way back to the SGC to get Daniel, Amber, and Airman Trivies treated like should have been done in the first place.

Janet stiffened her body as Daniel's familiar light, woodsy aftershave scent destroyed her hope of being left alone.

"Janet, you need to get up. I'm gonna put my arms around you and do most of the work, but you need to help a bit, okay?"

Janet didn't respond, hoping Daniel would leave, but instead he just sighed and literally hauled her up, ducking enough to position her into a fireman's carry over his shoulder.

 *She must stop this behavior. Samantha is needed. Tell her.*

 *If she really doesn't wanna get up, there's not much we can do.*

 *She has no choice.*

Daniel carried Janet

Janet's thoughts were tumbling around and she realized just how angry she was.

Daniel was whispering soothing words as if she were out of control and her resentment level rose.

He hadn't done anything to make Jack turn back and he should've been able to hit him or something.

He was a civilian and Jack's best friend...that meant immunity.

He should've wailed on him with a decent sized baseball bat until she'd been able to stop him with a sedative and Jack would've been so grateful to her for saving him from the evil Daniel that he would've swept her into his arms, shoving Amber and Daniel out of the way.

He would've kissed her before dropping to his knees and proposing...

Her mental trip shattered as lips touched hers with gentle pressure, but then she realized she was hallucinating.

This was ridiculous...she had to get a grip.

*She needs a chance to relax and cope.*

*There is no time now. She is strong and will recover. He has been presumed dead in the past.*

*Yeah, but now...they've admitted everything and are together. That changes things. She opened up the rest of the way and now she's just been slammed back down.*

 *You must get her to relay what Samantha is saying.*

 "Janet, please. Can you hear Sam?"

Janet shook her head, not to answer Daniel's question, but to clear the cobwebs from it.

Something was going on and she had to care.

It was her job to care.

She'd been through worse.

"Yes, I can hear her."

Amber was in front of her with the Federal Agent.

For the first time, Janet looked, really looked at the flailing man.

"What's happened?"

Sam drew in a deep breath and started over, realizing no one had a clue what she'd just been saying while dangling sideways out of Janet's body.

 "Janet, Daniel said the Colonel flew feet first up and into a man standing directly above him. Instead of a man's...soul being displaced, a Goa'uld appeared and is writhing around. I can't sense it and that worries me since I can sense Teal'c's Goa'uld larva."



"Daniel, you can let me go. I'll stand on my own. Where's Cassandra?"

 "She is in this car. I suggest we all enter the vehicle and relocate to a more private area."

 "Let's figure out what's happened first."

  "Jack went into the man, a Goold popped out and is hanging around Amber."

Daniel's grin died when Amber's eyes just widened and she looked around to see where it was.

 "Amber, there's a Goold right beside you."

"That's all fine and good, but I can't see it."

"Can you talk to Jack?"

"Yes and his host is pretty scared at the moment."

"You can talk to his host? Or is Jack telling you..."

"His host can hear me, I can hear...Arlin's his host's name, and..."


"Umm...he doesn't call it a Goa'uld. He says they're Shifters which makes sense. Shifting from one body to another. This one is Peri."

"It's appearance is significantly different than the Goolds we've seen so far."

Another man in a suit stepped up to them, a polite, but efficient smile pasted in place.

 "Hello. I'm Agent Farsten and we really need all of you to come with us...Jordan? You okay?"


Daniel whispered to Teal'c, making sure the other agent didn't hear him.

"Arlin's obviously either his first name or else he's just a plant to get to us again. Probably more implants or something."

 "I see."

Janet stumbled a bit, blushing slightly at how long it was taking her legs to get circulation going again.

She knew, though, that they were about to become an even bigger spectacle if this other agent made a fuss.

 "He's having cramps in his arms and legs. I'll help him. Everyone else go ahead and get in the car."

 "Dr. Fraiser, I really think..."

The group as one turned to the agent, eyebrows raised.

 "It's on your ID..."

Unconvinced, especially with a Goa'uld hanging around, Teal'c motioned the agent into the other car.

 "We will follow you in this one."

"That's Federal property..."

 "This agent will accompany us."

"I don't think so. You did something to him."

 "Then you will ride beside me."

Agent Farsten looked straight at Teal'c before swallowing and stepping back and getting in the other car, his phone out and dialing loudly.


Daniel jumped and Amber smiled, glad she hadn't warned them.


 "No, I'm Arlin. Jack...the ghost in me is figuring things out."

"Okay, I need you to look at Janet and see if there's anything..."

 "And Janet would be...oh! wow...umm..."

Janet paused at the blush spreading across the young man's cheeks.

 "How did you pass as FBI? You're much too young..."

 "I look older when Peri's in charge and I was the only one not already on assignment because they don't trust Peri. So, since we were the ones that took the call from General Hammond about your situation, we were able to get here. We don't have a lot of time before they find out, though."

Amber stepped up, daring to get closer to Arlin than Janet was for a moment.

**Lovely. Just a sec. One more hole, but two tentacles...oops.**


"So you're in danger, too?"

Arlin stared for a minute.

"You sounded like you meant dead...deadly danger."

 "Well they're trying to kill us..."

 "No! No...they don't care about you at all. They just want...ow."

Janet pushed in front of Amber, an annoyed expression gracing her face as she passed her to check him and see what was wrong.

Amber glared at Janet for a moment before Jack's mental answer and the flashing of Arlin's eyes convinced her to step back.

 **Just shhh...let me look for a minute.**

 "Okay, I want you to look up without moving your head."

"Can I do something else, first?"

Janet stopped, staring into dark green eyes that were most definitely Jack's.

That look...

As soon as realization passed through the group, each averted their eyes to give them a moment, but only  a moment's privacy.

 "How old is your host?"

"Nineteen. Just think. You'll be one of those women with a boytoy at their beck and call..."

Jack stood, as shocked as Janet when an angry handprint appeared and darkened the side of his face.

Daniel stepped forward, catching Janet's hand in case she slapped Jack again.

Janet swallowed, muttering an apology before taking a deep breath to control her features.

Jack stepped forward, enjoying the easy movement of his new body.

"I always wanted you. Even when you were so mad you were spitting with every other word, I wanted you. I was just too stupid to tell you why I..."

Janet pulled away from Daniel, shaking her head.

"It doesn't matter now. You can't keep that body. It's not yours and I'm not going to go through this again."


"No. I agree with Teal'c. We should get in and get going somewhere else. There's no telling how much more will happen if we stay here."

Amber watched the mixed feelings evident on Jack's face as Janet slowly turned and slipped into the car beside her daughter.

 **I'm sorry. Maybe if I tell her...**

**No. I'll tell her. I have to wait until she's ready to listen.**

 **I wouldn't wait too long or she may not ever be willing to listen. Just need to get the two of you some time alone together.**

 **Yeah, well that's not now.**

*You know who put these implants in?*

*Yes, but they weren't trying to hurt you.*

*Really...why don't I believe that?*

*They need to know about your time in Iraq.*

*I knew it.*

  *They don't know Neris healed you.*


*The Queen mother. They only know that she saved you before she had to shift hosts to avoid being killed. That corpse in the truck with you...that was her former host. The man that grabbed that necklace.*

**Didn't need that memory again...**

**No kidding.**

*Anyway, that was Neris. Hagar was able to  make brief contact with you, but you were so badly off that you didn't believe him and an Ashrak almost got both of you.*

*An Ashrak?*

*There are three tracking her. They were sent by Ra and have continued their hunt for her. They wouldn't have killed Hagar. They would've tortured him until he revealed everything he knew about Neris.*

*What's that sensation there?*

*What sensation?*

 **What sensation?**

Jack slid into the driver's seat, pulling back to let Arlin drive until he was sure he wouldn't put the car in a ditch by poking something wrong.

 *Nevermind. Whatever it was caused me to stuff a bunch of goop into a bloodstream nearby...did I mention how disgusting this is?*

Amber smiled, getting in beside Janet, knowing Sam was probably looking at her guts right about now.

She was so glad she wasn't the one stuck in Janet.

Daniel winced as Sam closed her eyes, throwing her arms over her face as Amber scooted into her head.

Peppermint air inside the car wandered up his nostrils as he slid into his seat.

Air fresheners were everywhere and for a moment, Daniel wondered what they'd had in here that they would need to so thoroughly cloak the smell.

 *O'Neill has a body. Are we going back to the SGC now or are we going to Florida?*

 *I assume we're going to the SGC.*

 *Ask. He has made nonsensical decisions before. He may do so again.*

 *Good point.*

"Jack, umm..."

"I'm Arlin. I..."

"Yeah Daniel?"

 "Hey! We had to duck our heads and hide when we changed from host to symbiote. So do you!"

Jack's eyes widened, obviously having forgotten all about that part of his new body.

"Fine. I'll remember from now on. What do you want?"

  "Are we going to Florida or..."


Daniel turned to stare at Janet and averted his eyes while she pulled herself together.

"Cassandra starts school soon, we have sick and dead, and I can't think of any reason not to go back home immediately. Can you?"

Cassie had curled into a small ball in Teal'c's lap, quiet as a mouse, as he shut the door.

Now, though, her eyes clamped tightly shut, small sobs slipped out as she breathed.

Jack just laid his head against the steering wheel, almost wishing one of his familiar headaches would form to get his mind off the quiet sobbing in the backseat.

Finally, he sat up, his eyes tired and pained.

Then he squared his jaw.

 "Daniel, call Hammond and let him know we need money and that we're booking a flight home."

  "Uh, I hate to bring this up, since I really don't care, but where's Airman Trivies?"

Daniel waited, smiling a bit as Jack got the information from his host.

He began playing "on hold" music in his mind and Jolinar was instantly unappreciative.

"Arlin said he's being taken to the NID base near here. We'll head there, too, if any of you want to."

Daniel snorted softly, both at Jack's sarcasm and Jolinar's mental threats now that he'd begun picking the most annoying elevator music he could remember just for her.

"No no...I think a change of clothes and a commercial, civilian airport is just what we need."

Teal'c met Jack's green eyes in the rearview mirror and nodded slightly.

"There is still the need for sustenance. I prefer to avoid McDonald's."

Jack barked a laugh and let Arlin take over.

 *Take us somewhere to eat.*

 *No prob.*

 **You could still propose...**

  **Yeah. I soon as I have some industrial grade strapping tape so she doesn't quietly murder me.**

 "What about the Goa'uld?"

Daniel turned to Janet, smiling slightly.

  "It's floating outside the window, attached to Teal'c."

Amber blanked so Teal'c's disgust wouldn't make her lose it.

Jack concentrated on sorting through Arlin's lifetime of memories, reveling in actually being able to control how many he looked at for any given amount of time.


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