Page 51

    They both yanked back to reality.
    "And then what?"
    "We woke up."
    Dr. Fraiser stepped forward and Amber couldn't help but flinch a bit at the pride Jack felt as he watched her.
    **Gotta get over that.**
    **I know, I know.**
    "Are you speaking telepathically? Like Tok'ra?"
    **I didn't think of it that way.**
    **I didn't either.**
    "Yeah, Doc. We're talking...."
    "We woke up speaking to each other before we were able to control our bodies..."
    "We weren't able to see or hear anything at first. It gradually..."
    "Came back to us. I recommend a full physical for both of us as well as..."
    "Tests to see how strong and how far this link works."
    They both sat back, watching the varied expressions arrayed in front of them.
    **I love the disgust on Danny-boy's face.**
    **You actually call him Spacemonkey in your mind?**
    **Yeah, so? It's my mind and my nickname.**
    **No comment.**
    **Red flag and accompanying emotions say otherwise.**
    **It's a stupid nickname.**
    **It suits him.**
    **He's stupid?**
    **No...I dunno. When I saw him standing there, alive, after being so completely sure he was dead...**
    Amber was rocked by the strong emotions as she saw people parting in the Gate room, barely hearing anyone or anything as Daniel pushed forward and stood there, grinning at her.
    All she could think of was to either cry or laugh.
    She laughed and threw her arms around him, relief after having been forced to leave her best friend behind, dying, flooded her and the name just popped into her head.
    The amused look in Daniel's eyes as she said it was worth every syllable.
    Amber shook her head to clear out the last of that memory.
    **I'm sorry.**
    **No need.**
    **I didn't know. I've never had a friend like that.**
    **Then we'll have to see about finding you one. No one should go through life without an indestructible Spacemonkey.**
    **You're being absurd.**
    Jack grinned and ruffled her hair, making it fall out of the bun she kept it in.
    **Aack! Stop it.**
    **It was already falling out anyway. I mussed it up a lot when we were...**
    **I didn't even think about the sight I must be.**
    She saw herself through his eyes sitting there, her hair falling around her shoulders and realized he was holding the hairpins in his hand.
    **Give me the pins.**
    **Nope. I like your hair down. You look...**
    **Younger and like no one a patient is going to trust medically.**
    **There's probably a professional haircut that would be more flattering and easy to do.**
    **I like my hair the way it is. I'm not you.**
    **Yeah, I know. Don't worry, you'll improve.**
    **You're insufferable.**
    **Funny...Janet said that too.**
    **Ugh...not that again. Please, no more memories of Janet...I mean...oh I don't even know what to call anyone anymore.**
    **When on duty, use titles. Off duty, use names. That's what I usually stick to.**
    **Okay, I can do that. Even though you've broken that rule repeatedly.**
    **Anyway, know what we really need to work on?**
    **Learning to hold two conversations at once.**
    **Yeah. We've probably been sitting here like logs.**
    They turned to the group only to find no one paying them the slightest attention.
    "They need to be tested, yes, but they shouldn't be imprisoned."
    "Dr. Jackson, we're only planning to keep them a couple days for observation..."
    "No. You don't understand. Unless there's something deadly going on with them, they have to be released today...well Jack does, anyway."
    **Cassandra, right?**
    Jack smiled.
    Amber melted through one memory after another of Cass smiling, playing, crying, and sleeping.
    Jack cocked his head at Amber, realizing the emotions weren't really suprising her this time.
    **That's not as new, is it?**
    Jack was about nine and watched with excitement as a trio of boys came running up.
    "C'mon Amburger. We only have an hour to play before everyone else has to go home."
    Jack agreed and jumped up off the front porch steps, his jeans already covered in dust and grass stains.
    He'd been crawling through the tall grass finding bugs to examine as usual.
    He ran with his foster brothers to the field where other boys and a couple girls stood waiting.
    Bats littered the ground and a few beaten up balls were being tossed.
    "It's 'bout time. Grab a bat. Y'all are up."
    Jack followed his brothers and one of the girls to the flattened cardboard box that served as homeplate.
    Robby, the oldest boy, took center to pitch and started warming up his arm.
    Jack took his favorite bat and stepped up to the plate.
    He always got to go first since no one knew when he'd be called home to help with dinner.
    The ball flew past and he let it.
    Robby always threw wild the first pitch.
    That was Paul, his youngest, but most serious foster-brother.
    He was seven years old, but no one bothered to point that out since he was smarter and faster than all the rest of them.
    Robby let fly another one and this time Jack smacked the ball.
    It flew and so did he.
    Almost turning into wind, he passed the old tire on first base, rounded the three milk jugs on second and slid into the newspaper stack on third just as the ball sailed over his head.
    Jumping up he ran home, his heart pumping as fast as his legs.
    "Go Amber, Go!"
    He was there, the box was under his foot, and then a weight plowed into his back sending him face first into the ground just past the box.
    Everyone held their breath, waiting for Paul's verdict.
    "Sorry Amber."
    He barely heard Robby's whisper before Paul was calling it an out.
    Jack turned over and got up, holding Robby's hand for support.
    "It's okay, Robby. Good play."
    Robby blushed a bit.
    Jack felt a cool hand on his face and his eyes focused outward on Daniel's kind eyes.
    "You can come back now."
    **You okay?**
    **Yeah, I usually don't let myself remember things when I'm here. I don't even usually let myself when I'm alone, actually. Not anymore."
    "Thanks, Daniel"
    **No. Not here. Not now.**
    **Okay. But soon.**
    **I know.**
    "No problem. You're really linked with Corvores?"
    "Not really."
    Jack looked back at Daniel, seeing the suspicion in his friend's eyes.
    "Not like that. Janet's the only one I want and you know it."
    **No, really?**
    **The peanut gallery can shut up, thank you.**
    Amber chuckled...out loud, making Daniel jump.
    She looked at him sympathetically.
    **Poor man.**
    **Be nice.**
    **Why? He's the one who's caused me all this trouble in the first place.**
    **So why don't you come with us tonight to the party and...oh come on...**
    **I don't think so. I'm not much for parties. Besides, I think your friends need time to adjust to this. This week has just been...**
    **I know. That's the whole point of this weekend. Adjusting. **
    **I don't know. I'll think about it.**
    **You're flagging me again.**
    **I'm just not comfortable in non-work public situations.**
    **Too unpredictable.**
    "How are the two of you feeling? Physically, I mean?"
    Jack looked up as Janet walked back over from where she and the General had been talking with Warren.
    "Really good. I feel like I've slept and eaten and...I feel better today then I have in a long time."
    Janet visibly relaxed.
    "Then unless the tests show definitive reasons not to, you should be released tomorrow."
    "Colonel, we don't know exactly what happened, but we want to make sure it's not contagious or dangerous to you in any way. There's no logical reasoning we can see for what happened."

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