Authors Note: Until I get this HTML problem sorted out all quotation marks are now marked as `. Sorry for all the confusion.
He flipped through the report on his desk, scanning every second paragraph before getting to the summary and reading it, making notes in his own file. `Check geographical readout on naquadah`, `determine if weapons grade`, `send Lt. Elliot to How to write Interesting Reports course`.
Jack was sitting in his office, reading through a report that Elliot had just submitted. It was certainly unusual to have Elliot on base now that he had *blended* with Lantesh. Jack had noticed Elliot`s eyes following Sam without the young Lieutenant even realising it. Jack smiled. Lantesh may still be alive, but the snake at least had more restraint than his old host. His homecoming, six months ago, had been one of complete disbelief. Stunned silence as the young Lieutenant walked through the gate with his fellow Tok`ra friends. Jack, who`d been standing in the control room watching Sam had stood stunned, mouth hanging open. He`d heard Sam whisper the name `Lantesh` then the crowd, as the cliché went, went wild.
`Sir!` Jack looked up to see a SF panting at his office doorway. `Col...onel, sir..He`sback.` Finally, the SF leant over, hands on his knees, puffing in great gasps.
`Thank you, Jensen. Why don`t you take the elevator next time?` Jack asked as he got up and walked out of his office.
`Can`t, sir. Ordered to run at least 20 flights of stairs a day` The boy was slowly getting his wind back.
`Teal`c at you again?`
`Yessir.` Jensen replied. Teal`c had taken to training a select few in an advanced course on weapons and fighting the Jaffa way that was very popular with the young SF crowd. Just to show he had the same sense of humour as all PTI`s, he`d invented a routine that started with intense physical training that weeded out the rabble.
`Keep at it, Jensen. It can`t get much worse.` With that light note, Jack walked away towards the elevator. He sent a brief prayer of thanks up to God that he didn`t have to attend that course. Teal`c, when in a mood, could be a mean S.O.B. He walked out of the doors on Level 28 and went around to the left, towards the control room and the `Gate room itself.
`I swear, Sam!` He heard Daniel cry in glee as he walked in the door. `Jack!` He greeted his friend. `I found it!`
`Good. Shall we take this upstairs?` Jack asked, with a pointed look at the personnel looking and listening with eager faces.
`Ahh, yes. Good idea.` Daniel pushed his glasses up his nose and followed the Colonel up the metal grid stairs and into the briefing room. He got himself a glass of water from the jug and then sat down, facing Jack and Sam.
`Well?` Jack asked, sitting back and rocking on the black leather chair.
`It took me a while, I have to admit. At one point, I was ready to give up.`
`You obviously didn`t.` Sam said, sitting forward, hands clasped in front of her on the table.
`No. Well, as you`ve surmised, the possibilities are infinite, so there had to be at least ONE place out there`
`And?` Jack asked, getting impatient.
`Patience, Jack. I`m enjoying myself.` Daniel took another long sip from his water, then grinned. `I go through, and the other side was fairly normal. Nothing apparently different.`
`But` Jack verbalised the implied word.
`Well, to start with, a few were dead.`
`Dead?` Sam asked, sounding as though she hadn`t actually thought of this eventuality. Daniel looked at Sam and smiled sadly.
`Yes. Me, Elliot and a few others. Jack, you were divorced.`
`Never! I would never divorce ` Jack was adamant. Daniel held up his hands, shushing his C.O.
`There were reason`s. You were a little stunned to see me, I can say that much. You and Sam.`
`Sam was on Base?` Jack shot a look at the blonde sitting next to him. Daniel was trying his hardest not to grin.
`So, obviously I won the bet.` Jack said, turning back to his best friend. Daniel shook his head.
`Actually, you didn`t. Sam and I did.`
`We did?` Sam sounded surprised.
`But you just said we were divorced.` Jack frowned at the archaeologist. `How can you win the bet when we were divorced? To be divorced, you actually have to be married you know, Daniel.`
`I know. But I didn`t say you two were divorced. I said you were, Jack. You`d married someone else, and was divorced from her. You and Sam had never been an item. Hence, we win the bet.` Daniel sat back, gloating in his announcement.
`I married someone other than Sam?` Jack repeated, as if testing out the words. He shot a look at his wife, who was watching with amusement.
`It is possible sir. That`s what the bet was about after all.` She laid a hand on his, eyes softening. `Although it`s one bet I didn`t want to win. It mean`s that they`ll never have what we do.`
`I wouldn`t be too sure about that.` Daniel butted in, used to seeing them all soft and *couple-y*.
`What do you mean, Danny?` Jack asked, tearing his eyes away from his wife.
`Well, I got the impression that the only thing stopping them was regulations.`
`What regulations?` Sam asked, brushing her hair out of her eyes.
`It seems, in their world, regulations were set up to prevent fraternization between the ranks, to prevent preferential treatment. From what Jack indicated, it was the only thing stopping him.`
`He let a pesky thing like regulations get in the way? What a wimp.` Jack observed with a deadly smile.
`Jack.` Sam laughed. `He`s you, you know.`
`No he`s not.` Jack replied immediately.
`Yes he is.` Daniel and Sam chorused.
`No he`s not.`
`Yes he is.`
`No he`s .` Sam smothered Jack`s lips in her palm, laughing.
`So, there is a reality out there where Jack and I haven`t gotten together.` Sam confirmed as Daniel nodded. `Good. Jack, you owe me a trip to the Ballet.` Jack grimaced as she said the evil `B` word.
`For crying out loud!`