The party was in full swing, music pumping through the make-do speakers that scattered around the clearing. It was close to night, where the air is crisp and biting and the world is a translucent blue edged with purple. The party-goers gathered round large fires that were dotted here and there, alcohol and the warmth of the flames warming them, protecting them from the nip of winter.
Those who weren`t gathered near the fires found other ways to warm themselves. A dance circle had formed near one of the biggest speakers, set about twenty feet from the musicians themselves. The cheering and yelling that erupted from the circle often drew the attention of the majority of the others. Smiles and laughs of appreciation joined the chatter, along with spoken and yelled compliments or joking criticisms. Children ran through the crowds, giggling and squealing as they darted here and there. Mist from the gathering dusk hung just above their heads, combining with the smoke from the fires to create a surreal blanket that covered the area.
`Hey, O`Neill!` One yelled, his voice full of laughter and alcohol.
`What?` Came the belligerent reply. A snort of laughter from another was muffled hastily by a cough.
`Have you finished monopolizing Samantha`s time yet?` The same voice yelled.
`No.` Jack replied, then snorted himself when his wife firmly pushed him away and stepped out into the lit area, tugging the ends of her shirt at the same time. She grinned at the light ribbing she received from some of her friends but said nothing, merely went to join Janet and Teal`c at one of the fire pits. Janet grinned back and offered her a mug of steaming alcohol.
`Where`s Danny?` Janet asked, sipping from her own mug.
`Last time I saw, he was playing `horsey` with Uncle Jonas.` She replied, laughing.
`When will he learn?` Janet laughed with her.
`It brings him joy to be considered `uncle` to Daniel, Doctor Frasier. He recognizes that he cannot go back to Kollowna, so is doubly appreciative when welcomed into our family.` Teal`c told them, standing at ease with his hands clasped behind his back. The fire shone off his skin, the reds and oranges playing with his features. Janet patted his upper arm.
`I know.` She said, not commenting on Teal`c`s automatic inclusion of Janet in the `SG-1` family. It was a close bond they all shared, and one she was honoured to be a part of, even if it was just as an observer.
`Hey, Janet!` A dancer yelled, staggering towards them. `Susan asked if you could sing for us.` He announced, slapping an arm around Janet`s shoulders and leering at the petite doctor.
`Not tonight, Justin.` Janet replied, laughing. She ducked out from underneath the arm of the inebriated technician, and shoved him gently back towards the dancers. He laughed and waved goodbye before trotting back, hips pumping in time to the music.
`That is one drunk man.` Sam commented, watching Justin Siler stagger away from them.
`I believe you are correct, SamanthaO`Neill.` Teal`c said, his tone dry.
`Well, it`s not often we get the upper hand around here.` Janet replied. `This little breakthrough deserved a party.`
`Besides, we`ve been working six months straight. It`s time we let our hair down.` Sam continued. She ignored Teal`c`s pointed look at her recently cut hair. After growing it for the last eight years, a month ago she`d decided she`d had enough of the long hair and had cut it again, back to her old military hairstyle. Her husband had been most appreciative of the change.
* * * *
They drifted, waiting.
* * * *
Jack leaned over the bucket, groaning, holding his stomach with one hand and the bucket in place with the other. He felt a dribble of sweat run down the side of his face, smelt the salt from it and groaned when his stomach heaved again.
`You okay, Jack?` His wife called from the other room. He could hear them all, his family, giggling in that high-pitched tone that was just made for bursting ear-drums.
`Fine.` He groaned as his stomach cramped again. He spat into the bucket, inhaling deeply to get past the nausea. The door cracked open and he whimpered.
`Bright light.` He whispered, shutting his eyes. He could sense Sam`s indulgent smile but decided not to comment.
`Here.` She said, holding out a cup filled with steaming liquid. `It will help.`
`A very sharp axe is the only thing that`s going to help me.` He replied, but took the cup anyway, downing the liquid quickly, shuddering at the taste. `Damn home-made remedies. Why can`t we just use Tylenol?`
`Cause we need that for the real sick, Jack.` Sam said, laughing. `You just have a hang-over.`
`There`s no `just` about it.` Jack grumbled, then shot a look at his wife. She was grinning at him. He snarled back, hiding his own amusement behind the hang-over. She jerked her head towards the bathing area.
`Have a bath. Shave. I`ll cook you up some sausages and eggs.` She laughed and trotted out the door as his face turned green and he huddled over the bucket once more.
* * * *
They drifted, restless.
They drifted, searching.
They drifted, angry.
They drifted, bound to this planet by the atmosphere. By it`s gravity. By the Stargate.
They drifted, trapped by those they had consumed.
* * * *
`Remind me again why we had that party last night?` Jack asked, stepping into his office with his son in tow, eyes shaded against the bright sunlight beaming in through the windows.
`Because we finally got the disrupter working.` His wife replied, expertly navigating around the crawling Sylvie.
`Ahh. Next time, we`ll have a parade. No alcohol.` He suggested, sitting down and clapping his hands to get his daughter`s attention.
`Civilian`s don`t march, Jack.` His son said, voice so like the adult Daniel that both Sam and Jack did a double take. Danny grinned up at them, then went and sat down with his sister, lifting her up to balance on her toes. She grinned and gurgled at him, talking nonsensical baby-talk at him.
`It`s spooky when he does that.` Jack complained, then turned on his computer. Sam went back to her own work, picking up a screwdriver from the bench and leaning over to fiddle with her latest project. They worked in relative silence for the next few hours. Relative due to the presence of their two children. Demands for food, attention, food and then more attention were handled expertly by both of them, barely impacting on their ability to work.
`Right.` Jack said with a huge sigh as he sat back. Sam immediately came over and leaned down to look at his display.
`Oh, that`ll work brilliantly, Jack.` She commended him, studying the plan. `I think I`ve got their origin calculated down to three or four planets. So, with a few more days of testing, we should be right to send through the first team.`
`Have you decided?` He asked, tensing up for her answer. She looked down at him, one hand on his shoulder. She pressed gently, nodding.
`I want to go.` She said, and he nodded dismally. He understood why she`d want to go. His wife had spent over a year on this project. It was understandable that she wanted to see it out to the very end.
`I understand.` He said softly, staring blankly at the monitor before him.
`Do you, Jack?` She asked, turning him around and kneeling in front of him. `I don`t want to go for the glory. I definitely don`t want to go for the danger. I`m over being an adrenaline junky. But if something goes wrong with the device, I`m pretty much the only one who could fix it. I can`t not go.` Her eyes begged him to understand.
`I know. That doesn`t mean I have to like it.` His eyes said more than his words. That he didn`t have to like the fact that no matter what, he had to stay behind. There was no choice for him.
`Someone has to take care of the children. In case -.`
`No.` Jack cut her off. `No `in case`. You and the rest of your team are coming back. I don`t want to hear anything else, okay?` He gripped her shoulders tightly in his hands, knowing that his fingers would be bruising her flesh.
`Okay.` She replied softly, holding his gaze. She drew in a deep breath, then expelled it fast. `I suppose I`d better go sign on to Teal`c`s training schedule.` Jack grinned then.
`Yes. And considering your physical fitness when you were with SG-1, I don`t think Teal`c is going to take any prisoners. So to speak.`
`Thanks for the sympathy, honey.` Sam snarled good naturedly, daunted at having to essentially go back to boot-camp.
* * * *
The searched, hungering for sustenance. Prying for a way off this planet. A way to continue. A way to feed. They searched for day upon day. Prowling the surface, probing beneath, peering into the reaches of the atmosphere. The wind shivered, ice cold, in their wake. The forests had overrun the buildings, their leaves rustling as THEY passed, the only noise on this now silent planet. One day, years after their entry, they found it. They found their gate of travel.
Buried deep underground, far into a mountain. It`s area surrounded by concrete and dirt. The stargate. And now it was only a matter of time until they could control it. Until they could journey. Until they could eat.
They were happy. They were hungry.
* * * *
Stargate SG-1 Fanfiction