Title: The Unexpected
Word count: ~4135
Summary: The Asgard have been keeping a secret.
Spoilers/Timeline: Heroes Fix. Takes place sometime after S08E09 Sacrifices. Specific references to S01E07 The Nox, S07E03 Fragile Balance, S07E09 Space Race, and S07E17/18 Heroes I & II.
Disclaimer: SG-1 and its characters belong to B.W, J.G. and MGM. No copyright infringement intended, no money be made.
A/N1: First line prompt provided by magicmumu. Some dialogue taken from the show.
We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.
– Paulo Coelho
When you turn around, all the tears will dry. Whatever was lost will be found, in the blink of an eye.
Sam stared in surprise at the words on her computer screen. She had no idea where they came from – she certainly hadn’t typed them. As she watched, the words faded... then reappeared and scrolled across her screen.
When you turn around, all the tears will dry. Whatever was lost will be found, in the blink of an eye.
“What the hell?”
“Problem?” Daniel asked from where he stood in the doorway to her lab.
“Something weird is going on with my computer.”
“Yeah. Come and look at this.”
Daniel walked over, and Sam turned the laptop for him to see the words. “What am I looking at?” he asked.
“The words scrolling across the screen.”
Sam quickly spun the laptop back around to see that the words had once again disappeared. “I swear they were there a second ago.”
“What did it say?”
“‘When you turn around, all the tears will dry. Whatever was lost will be found, in the blink of an eye.’ I don’t know what it means or where it came from.”
“Can you run a trace or something to figure out who sent it?”
The blonde’s fingers flew over the keys. After a long minute she stopped and frowned.
“What?” asked Daniel.
“According to the IP address, it came from this laptop.”
“How is that possible?”
“I have no idea.” She shook her head. Finally she pulled her eyes away from the screen and looked at her teammate. “Was there something you wanted, Daniel?”
“Oh. I was just going to pass on some info. Jack approved the gate downtime you wanted for the dialing computer and program upgrades.”
“And Teal’c is going to go visit Ishta for a couple of days while the gate is down. He’s leaving in an hour.”
It was late when Sam got home.
That word had taken on a whole new meaning since Janet had been killed. Sam had always felt at home at Janet’s house, even before they became lovers; however, she could never officially call it home. It would have drawn too much attention to them, attention that neither of them could afford as military officers. Ironically, after Janet had been killed eight months ago, Sam officially moved into her lover’s house. As Cassie’s legal guardian it made the most sense. Cassie had lost so much in her young life – her family and friends on Hanka, and then her adoptive mother. Sam wasn’t about to uproot the young woman from her home as well.
Cassie had originally planned on attending UCLA, but after her mother’s death the young woman wanted, and needed, to stay close to her extended family at the SGC. So when September rolled around, Cassie started classes at UCCS – University of Colorado at Colorado Springs – and lived at home, declining the opportunity to live in the dorms.
Sam was sorting through the mail as she came through the front door. She dropped her briefcase next to the coat rack and hung up her jacket. “Cassie! Turn down the music!” she yelled as she passed the stairs on the way to the living room.
By the time Sam reached the kitchen, the music from upstairs was turned off, or at least turned down. Despite the amount of time Sam had spent with Janet and Cassie, she never really felt like a parental figure; however, since becoming Cassie’s guardian, there were days she felt very much like a stereotypical parent.
Sam was standing in front of the refrigerator with the door open, trying to figure out something to make for dinner, when Cassie came bounding into the kitchen. The blonde turned at the amused chuckle. “What’s so funny?”
“You look like you’re actually thinking about cooking something.”
“Hey! My cooking’s improved a lot.”
“Yeah, it has, but we really need to do some grocery shopping before either of us can cook anything, Sam,” Cassie replied with smirk.
Sam looked back into the fridge and sighed. Cassie was right. She closed the fridge door. “Okay, pizza or Chinese?” she asked as she went to the phone.
“Okay. And I promise I’ll go the store tomorrow after work.”
At bedtime, Sam climbed the stairs. She stopped at Cassie’s door and knocked before opening it. “I’m going to bed now. Don’t stay up too late, kiddo.”
“I’m almost done,” Cassie replied as she saved her term paper on her laptop.
Sam started to close the door, but stopped. She frowned as she heard familiar words coming from the girl’s CD player.
When you turn around, all the tears will dry. Whatever was lost will be found, in the blink of an eye.
“What are you listening to, Cassie? What’s that song?”
“It’s In The Blink Of An Eye by A*Teens. Why?”
“No reason. Goodnight.”
Sam went to bed... but lay awake, unable to sleep. ‘Whatever was lost will be found.’ Yeah, right, she thought bitterly. Her eyes stung with unshed tears. She’d lost Janet... and there was no way to ‘find’ her again.
She couldn’t help but think about everything that had happened during their life together. Like any couple, they’d had their ups and downs. Tears began to leak from the corners of her eyes as she recalled the last weeks before Janet’s death. They’d hit a rough patch and Sam knew it was her fault.
It started when Warrick had showed up and wanted to use one her naquadah reactors to power his ship in a race. In exchange he offered them a chance to study his ion propulsion system. It was a simple exchange... until Sam got a ‘great’ idea. She agreed, but only if she could go along as his co-pilot in the race. The adrenaline junkie in her couldn’t resist – no matter how much worry and stress it would put Janet through.
Janet dealt with the dangers of Sam’s job. After all, they were both officers in the Air Force, and loving a soldier meant having to face the reality of their profession. But it killed Janet a little every time Sam took completely unnecessary risks – like riding her motorcycle too fast. Sam knew that, and yet she didn’t give a single thought to how Janet would feel when she eagerly invited herself to be a part of the spaceship race.
Janet didn’t get mad. That would have been easy enough to deal with. Janet had been hurt – hurt beyond her ability to articulate. And Sam had made no effort to talk it through; instead she’d accused Janet of not being understanding or willing to look at things from her point of view, of being unreasonable and smothering her. So, Sam did what she wanted.
The fact that she and Warrick were almost killed in that damn race did nothing to make things better between her and Janet.
And then there was the incident on the Prometheus. Sam had sustained a head injury which led to some interesting hallucinations. When Sam and the rest of the crew safely returned to Earth, Sam found herself feeling angry because all of her teammates, even her father, had been there for her during her hallucinations. But not Janet. She knew it was her own subconscious, but it didn’t change the way she felt.
To make things worse, Janet hadn’t been at the SGC to care for her when they got back to Earth. When Sam called Janet’s house from the infirmary all she got was the answering machine. She found out by calling Cassie’s cell phone that Janet had gone away for the weekend to visit a friend. How could Janet have taken off on some fun weekend while she was still missing on the Prometheus?!
By the time Janet returned, Sam had worked herself up into righteous indignation and they’d had their worst fight ever. Sam had left the house, slamming the door. She didn’t know what she’d been thinking when a friend of her brother asked her out the next week, but she’d said yes. Yes, she and Janet had had a bad fight, but that didn’t mean they had broken up. Of course, word got around to Janet that Sam had gone out on a date with someone.
Sam wanted to talk to Janet, to explain, to make things right, but their respective schedules and missions that kept Sam off-world made it impossible to find the time.
No. That wasn’t right. She just didn’t try hard enough to make the time.
Sam sighed, rolled onto her side, and beat her pillow into submission. “I’m so sorry, Janet,” she whispered tearfully. I was wrong about so many things. I was wrong to take you for granted, to not think about your feelings. I should never have participated in that damned race – it was so selfish of me. You never tried to change me, you put up with so many things... I didn’t even try to look at things from your point of view.
She couldn’t hold back her tears any longer. Some nights were harder than others, and this was a bad night. She broke down sobbing. She didn’t hear the bedroom door open, but felt the mattress behind her dip and then arms wrap around her from behind. For just a fleeting moment, she imagined it was Janet and not Cassie holding her.
“I’m here, Sam,” Cassie said softly, tears brimming in her own eyes.
“I’m sorry... I didn’t mean to wake you,” she managed.
“It’s okay... I miss her, too.”
Sam felt guilty that Cassie was comforting her – she should have been the strong one. Once she got herself under control, she shifted to lay on her back. She put her arm around Cassie who laid her head on Sam’s shoulder. “I’m sorry, Cassie. You shouldn’t have to worry about me. It’s my job to take care of you.”
“Bullshit. We’re supposed to take care of each other – that’s what Mom would want. I’ve cried on your shoulder so many times; it’s okay for you to cry, too. You don’t always have to be the strong one.”
“When did you get to be so smart and grown up?”
“I’ve always been smart.”
Sleep eventually claimed them both.
Thor appeared in a flash of transporter beam.
“Well, it’s about time,” Jack groused.
“I apologize for not coming sooner.” Thor walked over to where Loki was restrained. “Loki, what have you done? You should have known that O’Neill’s genetic code was safeguarded for his own protection.
That was news to Jack. “Excuse me?”
“A marker was placed in your DNA, O’Neill, to prevent any attempts at genetic manipulation.”
“That’s why the clone didn’t mature,” Sam concluded.
“Yes. Loki will be punished for his actions.”
“Is it true that Colonel O’Neill is the key to solving your cloning problems?” she asked.
“But I thought I was advanced.” Jack sounded disappointed.
“Indeed you are, O’Neill, but our scientists have already determined that while you are an important step forward in the evolutionary chain, the missing link we have been searching for still eludes us.”
“Again, I apologize for any inconvenience Loki may have caused. Unfortunately, the eventual genetic breakdown of the clone is not my doing, but rather the result of Loki’s inept methods.”
“There was no need for the clones to survive,” Loki pointed out.
“Look, Thor, is there anything you can do for him?” Jack asked, referring his young clone.
“You wish your clone to live?” Thor sounded surprised.
“You can’t just let me die,” young Jack pleaded.
“He’s just a kid,” Jack said.
“Are you certain, O’Neill?”
“Very well. I will attempt to repair his DNA. If successful, he should continue to mature at a normal human rate.”
Thor entered Heimdall’s hidden lab. As always, whenever he visited, he walked over to the stasis chamber and looked down at its occupant.
He felt a certain affection for the Humans. They were young, but had come so much further than anyone anticipated; they were often reckless, but were courageous; they were less advanced, but were perseverant. For all of their faults, they were becoming a pivotal presence in the intergalactic community. O’Neill was legend among the Asgard, as were, to a lesser extent, his teammates. And, if Heimdall was correct, this particular Human would change the course of the entire Asgard race, become their savior.
Thor looked up when Heimdall entered.
“I’m glad you are here,” the scientist said. “I have found it.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. Loki’s research was helpful, but he was looking at the wrong sequences.” He walked over and also looked into the stasis pod. “How did you know this subject was the one?”
“I did not.”
“Then why did you not return her to Earth? Why did you repair the clone and leave it on Earth in her place?”
“Alana told me to.”
“Why would an Ancient care about this particular Human?”
“I do not know. Perhaps Alana knew she was the one.”
Thor was embarrassed by Loki’s behavior. The once highly regarded geneticist had crossed the line. If he hadn’t acted so rashly, Loki would have known that O’Neill was not the key to their survival. O’Neill was a step forward for the Humans, but was not advanced enough to be of use in solving the genetic problems of the Asgard.
He focused his mind on the problem at hand – fixing the clone’s DNA so that it would live. He almost missed the file, but the computer indicated Loki had abducted another Human at the same time he’d taken O’Neill! After fixing the O’Neill clone and beaming him back to down to the planet with SG-1, Thor opened the chamber containing the stasis pod. He would have to make the swap and retrieve the second clone.
As Thor scanned for the clone in question a bright light filled the room.
“Alana. Why are you here?” he asked the Ancient who hovered over the stasis pod occupant.
“When you find her clone, repair it and leave it on Earth. Take this Human back with you and continue Loki’s research.”
No answer was given.
General O’Neill hated paperwork. He fobbed off as much as he could on Walter, but there were things only he could take care of. He sighed. If only some kind of emergency would happen so he could push aside the thick folder waiting for his attention.
Suddenly there was the bright flash of a transporter beam. He grinned when he saw who his visitor was. “Thor! Long time, no see! How you doing, buddy?”
“O’Neill, we must talk.”
Jack grabbed hold of something to steady himself. Thor had beamed them up to his ship and shown him... He sat down heavily. “I don’t understand. How?”
“The guy who cloned me? You’re saying that’s a clone?!”
“No. The clone was repaired and left on Earth in her place.”
“The answer Loki was looking for in you, was in her. It has taken us this long to find and unlock it. She has saved our race.”
Jack felt so many things – joy, anger, indignation, relief. After so many years at the SGC he should not have been surprised by the unexpected. Nothing should have surprised him, but this had. It was the miracle they had all prayed for.
“Wake her up.”
The radio came on when Sam started the car. An obvious sign Cassie had been the last one to drive it. She reached out to change the station but her hand froze as she recognized the song.
That damn song seemed to be haunting her lately. The lyrics were like salt on an open wound. She slapped at the radio to turn it off... only to discover it wasn’t on. Unable to listen to those words any longer, she quickly scrambled out of the car. Despite the cold weather, she’d ride her bike to work.
She was disoriented when she woke up.
“Take it easy, Doc. You’re okay.”
She blinked, trying to pull her vision into focus. There were two faces looking down at her – O’Neill and Thor. “What...”
“You’ve been in stasis, Doc.”
“How do you feel, Dr. Fraiser?” Thor asked.
“Um... a little fuzzy.” She reached out and Jack helped her to sit up. She blinked again and noticed something. “When the hell did you become a general?” She realized how rude that sounded. “Sir,” she belatedly added.
Jack shared a look with Thor. “About that...”
“You’ve been in stasis for a while.”
She frowned, not liking the tone in O’Neill’s voice. “Just how long is a while?”
Jack looked at Thor.
“According to your calendar, you were placed in stasis on the twentieth day of June of the year 2003,” Thor stated.
Janet took a fortifying breath. “And what is today?”
“October fifteenth...” replied Jack.
“Four months...” she murmured, trying to wrap her head around it.
“2004,” he finished.
If she hadn’t been sitting, her knees would’ve given out on her. “16 months?! Tell me this is a bad joke, please.”
“Sorry, Doc, I can’t do that.” He grew concerned as he saw her go pale. “Doc?”
“Cassie! Oh, my god, what about Cassie?”
“She’s fine.” O’Neill took a deep breath. “There’s something we need to talk about... actually a few things.”
It took a while for Janet to fully comprehend what had happened... and even longer to sort through her emotions. She was appalled at the thought of being gone from her daughter’s life for so long, missing so much! She’d missed Cassie’s graduation, her eighteenth birthday, and her going off to college.
She’d cried when she thought about Cassie, and Sam, having to deal with her death. She was angry that those she loved had been put through such a terrible thing especially since she wasn’t dead.
The thought that an imposter, a clone, had lived her life for eight months was disconcerting. How could her daughter and her lover not know it wasn’t her? Thor explained that the clone was exactly like her at the moment it had been created. And the colonel – no, the general – pointed out that if not for the clone, she would be dead, killed on some alien planet by the Goa’uld. She’d lost over a year of her life... but she was alive.
Once she got her emotions under control – well, somewhat under control – O’Neill offered to facilitate a reunion with Sam. He brushed off her look of surprise with a knowing smile and quick wink. “She’s not just my XO, Doc; she’s my teammate and my friend. I know what you meant to her. She hasn’t been the same since you w– since your clone was killed. She’s still struggling with the loss.”
Sam was working on a naquadah reactor when O’Neill suddenly appeared in her lab via an Asgard transportation beam.
“Sir? Where were you?”
“Oh. How is he?”
“Fine... fine.” He paused. “Uh, Carter...”
“We’ve seen some strange and amazing things through the gate, haven’t we?”
“We’ve seen people come back from the dead,” he said.
“We came back from the dead, thanks to the Nox.”
“Right. So, it wouldn’t be surprising to see something like that again, would it?”
“I think it’s always amazing – whether due to the technology of the sarcophagus or intervention by the Ancients or the Nox. Death really is the ultimate frontier.”
“Uh... okay.” He took out an Asgard communication stone. “Okay, Thor.”
A transporter beam deposited them in the observation room of Thor’s ship.
“Hello, Colonel Carter.”
“Hi, Thor.” When no one said anything for a couple of seconds she looked from Thor to Jack and back again. “What’s going on? Why are we here, sir?”
Jack gave Thor a nod, who in turn touched a control on a console. A door slid open and–
Jack barely had time to grab the blonde’s arm and slow her descent as her legs went out from under her. Sam found herself sitting on the floor struggling to breathe.
Janet knelt in front of the blonde, her instincts as a doctor taking over. “Breathe slow, Sam, slow and deep.” She shot a glare at Jack. “I thought you were going to prepare her.”
Jack just kind of shrugged. “I tried.”
“How?” Sam finally managed.
“Loki,” Jack answered.
“She’s a clone?!”
“No. This is Dr. Fraiser,” Thor replied. “Loki made a clone of her the same time he attempted to clone O’Neill.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Sam, it was Doc’s clone that was killed on P3X-666. She’s been safe, in stasis, for the last sixteen months.”
The blonde stared in wonder at the woman before her.
“It’s really me, Sam,” Janet said as she gently cupped Sam’s cheek.
Finally Sam pulled the doctor to her, wrapping her arms around her and holding her tight. Both of them clung to each other as tears fell.
With a jerk of his head, Jack led Thor out of the room to give the two women some privacy.
When they finally parted Sam shook her head, finding it impossible to suspend her disbelief. “I understand how, but... why?”
“From what Thor told me, an Ancient told him to leave my clone in my place on Earth.” She shrugged. “Apparently, the Asgard found something in my DNA to help save their race. They needed to keep me to complete their research. They never thought it would take so long.”
Janet shrugged in a self-depreciating manner.
Sam reached out, taking Janet’s face in her hands. “I still can’t believe you’re here.” She pulled the doctor in for a passionate and loving kiss.
They pulled apart as the general cleared his throat.
“I think you should take Doc home, Carter,” he said with a smile. “You have a lot to discuss, so... I think a couple of weeks off from work would be a good idea.”
Before either of them could thank him, the Asgard transporter deposited them in their living room. Still trying to fully grasp the fact that Janet was alive, Sam clung to her as they sat on the couch, her tears still trailing down her face as she was overwhelmed with so many emotions. She started to say something, but the television suddenly turned on – a music video was playing.
“What the hell is going on with that song?!” Sam cried out.
Confused by Sam’s outburst, Janet frowned. Then light filled the room as an Ancient appeared before them.
“You! You’re behind this,” she gestured at the television, “aren’t you?”
A feminine face coalesced. “I did not intend to upset you... merely to help prepare you.”
“You knew about all of this the whole time! You let them take Janet and leave a clone her place. You let us believe Janet was killed! WHY?!”
“For the Asgard to survive, it was necessary. We could not provide them with the answer; they had to find it on their own. And...”
“And what?!” Sam angrily demanded.
“If the Asgard had not taken Janet... she would have been lost to you forever.” Alana looked directly at Janet. “You have much to accomplish before you join us.” A glowing tendril lightly brushed against Janet’s cheek. And then Alana disappeared.
Of its own accord, Janet’s hand rose, her fingertips tracing the touch of Alana. A small smile graced her lips, a feeling of peace calming her mind and settling her soul.
“Typical. The Ancients and their non-interference rule – they manage to find a way around it only when it suits their purpose. Doesn’t matter that they put us through hell!”
Janet looked at the blonde. “Sam.” She waited until her lover met her gaze. “Everything’s okay. What matters is that I’m here. We now have a future together that would have been lost to us.”
Tears filled the blonde’s eyes again as everything came crashing down on her again. “I’ve been so lost without you. I messed up, Janet. I messed up us, and I didn’t make it right before...”
Janet took her lover into her arms and held her close. “It’s okay, Sam. We’ll talk about everything that’s happened, but I promise you we’ll be okay,” she said, filled with the certainty of the truth. “You, me, and Cassie, we’re all going to be okay.”