The Cave

Monika
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Re: The Cave

Post by Monika » Sun Jun 07, 2020 8:30 pm

HI Jack(s)
" Carter feared for her supervisor, for the person who meant the most to her. The person she secretly loved and could never claim for herself."

How true, how true. This sentence brought tears to my eyes. :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops:

Well done, please continue.

From Monika with love
"As long as I always think of you and wish me somethings which I think is unattainable, there is no reason to be hurt by others."

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Jack(s)
Posts: 4751
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:59 pm
Location: UK

Re: The Cave

Post by Jack(s) » Sun Jun 07, 2020 9:45 pm

Monika wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 8:30 pm
HI Jack(s)
" Carter feared for her supervisor, for the person who meant the most to her. The person she secretly loved and could never claim for herself."

How true, how true. This sentence brought tears to my eyes. :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops:

Well done, please continue.

From Monika with love
Thank you so much for this nice comment. if you feel such strong emotions while reading this then I did a god job of bringing it over what I wanted too.

there is more to come and I really hope you continue to read and like that story.

hugs Jack(s)
"Dogs are my favorite people !!!"
"I've got to have fun or it's not worth it."
RDA

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Jack(s)
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Location: UK

Re: The Cave

Post by Jack(s) » Wed Jun 10, 2020 8:02 pm

Three weeks later

"Doc, when can I finally get up? I'm bored to death here. If you want to kill me with boredom over the time you would not have to fix me up." Jack was in one of his moods and shouting as loud as he could in the hope that Janet would hear him. His recovery, over the last few weeks, went without further incident. He had been visited by Daniel and Sam every day and even by Teal`c over the last two days. He would love to go home where he could lie on his couch and at least watch a hockey game or the Simpsons.

Resigned, Jack closed his eyes and tried to shut out his environment. If nobody wanted to send him home, he did not want to see anyone. Yes, the Colonel could sometimes behave like a little stubborn kid.

Only when he felt the presence of a body near him did he blink with one eye. Carter was back. She was still his favourite visit all by herself. He loved to look into her blue eyes and feel her soft skin surrounding her hands. "I hope I did not wake you, Sir," the Major said in an alarming voice as she was about to sit down and was taken aback a little as he looked at her with one eye.

"Nah, I was awake. I'm just bored and that's why I let my thoughts run wild. How are you, Carter? " He grinned at her and wiped the invisible words he had just used with his hand out of his way. She was there and there was no need to talk about him.

"Good, a lot to do. I will not torture you with technobabble. But I figured you're bored now and brought you something. "She grinned at him as wide as she could, and Jack sat up in bed. Curious, he watched as his 2IC pulled out a bag.

He registered with big eyes what she had brought him from home and accepted it. "Where do you have the key to my house, Carter? And how did you come up with the idea? " Receiving his Gameboy in both hands like a little boy who had just found a giant treasure, he grinned from ear to ear.
"Daniel helped me. You once gave him your replacement key for emergencies. That was such an emergency for me. "She shrugged but knew exactly how much she had given him pleasure with his little toy.

"Did the doctor already gave you a date when you can get out of here?" Sam asked as casually as possible.

"Nope, nothing, Nada. Nobody talks to anyone here and they all stay away. No one comes to visit or just look at how I am. "Jack replied with a fake pout. Sam grinned and wondered if she should say something or not.
Both officers talked for a while, so time flew by.

Janet entered the room where Colonel O'Neill lay and greeted the most impatient patient she ever had. After reviewing the clipboard, she turned directly to Jack to inquire about his well-being. "How are we today, Colonel?" "Bored to the bone Doc. I tell you; I can go home. I'm fine, "he replied so quickly that he almost interrupted her. "Ok,” his values look good enough to set him off “tomorrow, Sir. But as always, I'll give you a list of what you must do and don’t do. Understood?" She looked at him penetratingly and said goodbye only when Jack had agreed to their condition.

"Sam, I tell you; she enjoys the power she has here over me. I see it in her eyes, "he turned to the Major, who was only a silent observer the whole time. She smiled at her CO and agreed to make him feel better. She knew just how hard it was for him to be here and not to do anything.

xxx

The next day came and Daniel had offered Jack to accompany him home. According to Doctor Fraiser, the Colonel was not yet allowed to drive himself, so he accepted Daniel's help with thanks.

When he got home, Jack went first to his answering machine. Three messages were there from the police telling him to get in touch with them. Jack whistled through his teeth and shook his head. These law enforcers also have no idea how he felt the last few weeks.

"Daniel? Coffee? "O'Neill asked his friend, already knowing the answer. Before he got a response, he had already started the machine and got two cups from the cupboard. He did recognize how neat and tidy it looked here. Someone had cleaned up for him. Someone who knew how much he hated disorder when he came home after such a long time. Jack knew that he had the best friends one could wish for.

His friend had taken some stuff out of his car and put them on the kitchen table. Gratefully, he took the cup of black fragrant brew and sat on a stool Jack offered him. A casual informal conversation ensued, and Jack realized that Daniel did not seem in a hurry to get back to the lab to his rocks. He did not mind that his young friend still gave him company and so he omitted a stupid comment about it. Instead, he just enjoyed the conversation.

After Daniel finally left, he phoned the police to make an appointment and get it over and done with. He had a polite lady on the phone who had given him an appointment for the next morning. When he hung up, he went upstairs with the little bag Daniel had left in the kitchen and stowed his things away. Most of them were in the bathroom ready for cleaning.

Back in the living room, in his well-worn favourite sweater and sloppy pants, he lay down on the couch and turned on the TV. Daniel had proudly told him that he had recorded every episode of Simpson and every hockey game for him.

It was already dark outside, and it was not long before Jack fell asleep. Restless dreams returned. Every night, when he slept, he was back in the cave where he had been chained. The day when he was awake, he repressed it and pretended to be the happy and sarcastic Colonel he was. He did not want to and could not talk to somebody about what had gotten so deep in his head.

Jack would handle it like anything he had experienced before. Drawer up, the experience inside, drawer closed and forgotten. That had worked very well with him so far and he was thankful for having that ability. He did not want to burden anyone with his problems. Not even himself.

He woke up in the middle of the night. Sweat bathing, his breathing was fast, and his pulse was as if he wanted to win a race. Jack sat up after he had registered where he was and wiped his face with his right hand. A look at the clock told him that it was just around 0300 in the morning.
He still had six hours until he had to attend his appointment. Slowly his pulse and breathing calmed down again and for a moment Jack wondered if he should get a beer from his fridge or not. He knew that Janet had forbidden him and so he decided against it. The thought of a cool blonde was still so tempting.

His alarm clock awoke him at 0800 and when Jack arrived back in the land of the living, he realized that he had fallen asleep at some point. He looked down at himself, only to find that he had slept with nothing around his upper body on his sofa only with a thin blanket over it. Irritated, he looked around and when he discovered his still damp sweater in a corner, he remembered the nocturnal interruption.

xxx

Jack turned off the engine and looked at the main entrance to the police station. After a quick breakfast consisting of fruit loops and coffee, he had shaved and made his way. Taking a deep breath, O'Neill got out and made his way to the reception desk in long strides. He was immediately provided with an official who took in everything the Colonel had to record. Every now and then questions were asked and now and then little breaks were taken. Jack could not finish that task quickly enough and was ever so happy when he could leave.

He preferred to drive to work, just to not stay home alone. But it was not good to turn up at the mountain just after he was released. So, he drove to a nearby park, sat on a park bench and enjoyed the warm temperatures. The fresh air and the birds twittering conveyed a perfect world and that was exactly what Jack needed right now. He watched children playing and people doing their fitness exercises.

xxx

Sam worked in her office. She still had a lot to do to cope with her current project but had firmly planned to drive past her CO’s house in the evening. She knew that he would be pleased about the company even if she already knew that he never admitted it. She grinned when she saw Jack in her mind's eye, grumpy and addressing her with Carter. It was still worth a shot.

The next time the Major looked at the clock, it was nearly 1800. She packed everything and was just about to leave the lab and base when Daniel came around the corner with Teal'c in tow. "Sam, hey, what are your plans tonight? Not that it really concerns me, but we wanted to pass by Jack so that he is not alone. Teal'c also picked out a movie. Will you come with me?" Without waiting for an answer, it gushed out of Daniel and in his typical boyish manner as he waits impatiently until his team colleague and friend answered.

"Great Daniel, I also had the idea and just wanted to go to your lab. That's how it works out. Great. I will just change my clothes and we can go. "
They met about 15 minutes later in the parking lot of the secret base as agreed. Teal`c drove with Daniel and Sam took her car so that she could drive home from Jack to her home.

xxx

Daniel pressed the bell once, twice, three times. Nothing happened. There was no sound and no movement. Teal`c noticed O’Neill’s truck was not there and Sam started to worry. Just as the three remaining team members of SG1 had figured out a plan on how and where to look for their friend, he slowly rolled in front of his house.

Slowly, Jack got out of his vehicle and looked at his friends in surprise. "What are you doing here?" He asked puzzled and fished his house key out of his trouser pocket. Sam noticed how tired he looked but decided not to say anything. "Daniel had suggested a team evening and Teal'c picked out a movie. I'm just here for the pizza. "Sam explained grinning broadly.

Jack unlocked the door, shook his head slightly, and invited his friends in. Sam put the pizza down on the kitchen table and asked casually. "Sir, how was your day today?"

"Carter, we're not on duty, lose the Sir and the day was ok. I was out in the fresh air a lot. Doc said it is good for me. So, nothing exciting. How was your day?" He opened the fridge and got out a couple of bottles of beer.

In the living room, Daniel and Teal'c had already made themselves comfortable. Sam brought pizza and Jack the bottles. Everything was distributed and the movie started. Jack grinned from one ear to the other, knowing whoever of the three selected the DVD had meant well. The screen now featured in Big Comic letters `The Simpsons - The Movie`.

Sam watched her friend now and then. It was good to see him laughing like that, even if his whole appearance looked tired. She knew that Janet told him he was not allowed pizza and beer but she had deliberately ignored it for his sake. Mission `make Jack better` was on the way and so far, it went quite well.

xxx

Jack woke up the next morning. He had slept on the sofa again. It took a few seconds for him to sort out his thoughts but after he had done this, he went into the kitchen making a coffee and grinned as he saw the note in Carter's handwriting on the counter. `Sir, have a nice day. `That was all that was on it but for him, it was more like a love letter. He would keep this note well. After all, it had her signature on it. She had written it.
Jack looked out of the kitchen window and wondered what he should do with himself today. His friends were all at work. Should he drive by and see how everything went? Or should he drive back to the park? Watching TV? He was not sure what he should do. The watch on his wrist let him know that it was after 0900. Jack knew he normally never sleeps that long. Must have been the beer and the pizza. He grinned when he realized now how neatly everything was cleaned up.

The phone rang and he had to search for it as usual. When he finally found it, there was a friendly voice from the police on the phone to let him know that he was about to get a letter in the mail. He was one of the main witnesses in the case of `The State of Colorado against the three remaining men of the bank robbery with subsequent hostage-taking`. Jack sighed.

That was not really what he needed and when the phone call was over, he decided to drive to Cheyenne Mountain. He was fine and bored to death. Better than he was then among friends and maybe he would manage to write one or two of the reports on his desk. His CO had been waiting so long for these and Jack knew it.

xxx

Jack parked his truck and walked through the sharp security check. He stood in front of his supervisor's office for a moment before he knocked on the door. It was rare that the door was closed as it is today. When the command to enter reached his ears, he put on his winning smile and enthusiastically greeted the General, who was sitting behind his desk staring at him in astonishment.

"Jack, what can I do for you, son? Should you not be at home and still resting? "He began after a few long seconds

"Morning General, maybe I should still be home. But I was bored and I'm fine. Thought I'll come over and get some paperwork done that’s still lying on my desk. Just wanted to say Hello" the Colonel replied with a slight grin.

"Ok but take it easy. Otherwise, Doctor Fraiser will be back immediately and on your case. Nice to see you and to know that you are fine." Hammond was still looking at his 2IC as if he could not believe that he was standing in front of him again, although he could have thought something like that.
Jack stood in the doorway to his small office. It smelled musty and God knows good ventilation would do no harm. The dust collected in some places so high, you could grow vegetables in it.

Slowly he walked around his desk and clicked on the lamp attached to it. With a deep sigh, he sat down and began to pick up the first Folder on a neatly stacked pile.

Jack had worked about a quarter of the files through when someone knocked on his door. He looked up and asked his visitor in.

"Sir? What are you doing here and when did you come? "Sam stood in the door and looked at her CO amazed. He had not even said hello to her, and she had only accidentally heard from a young Airman that the Colonel was on base.

"Morning, Carter, how are you?" Jack stares in astonishment at the female figure standing in front of him.

"Good, sir, yourself?" Carter stepped closer and waited for Jack to answer her questions.

She was irritated, hurt a bit and so she did not know what to do with her feelings. For the last few weeks, she had worried so much about him. She had sat by his bed almost every day and night, talking to him, praying and hoping. That was the thanks? He came to work and did not even say hello?
Sam could not help it and made her voice a bit cold, which O'Neill had recognized.

"Carter ..." oh how he wished he had not come. His feelings for his 2IC were in full swing. She was hurt and he was responsible for it. Daniel had told him how everyone had worked tirelessly to find him, and that Sam had made almost no break. So that was his way to thank her, who helped him out of this hellhole?

"What, sir?" Sam wondered if she should just leave. At that moment she regretted looking for him and wished she could turn back time. It was just that she wanted to see him. His deep brown eyes, his silver-grey hair. His high cheekbones and his mischievous boyish grin. She missed his way of downplaying things, so many times giving reassurance in his typical way, so as not to add any more anxiety to any given situation. She missed his scent and how he walks. His entire airing as Colonel of the United States Air Force had cast a spell on her.

So now she stood here, no idea what to say. Her CO stared at her and he did not seem to find the right words. That alone is a joke for itself. Colonel Jack O'Neill was speechless. On good days, this man did not shut his mouth.

He let out the air between his teeth. "What are you doing here and how did you know that I am here. I deliberately did not tell anyone." He regained his composure, leaning back in his chair.

"Someone saw the truck in the parking lot. I just wanted to know if you are alright. Since I know that now I can go again. Sir, I wish you a nice day." She was already on the way out when he called her back.

"I'm sorry that I did not stop by the laboratory. I thought it would be better for you to concentrate on your work. I was so bored at home and I did not want to spend the whole day alone in the park. That is why I am here. So, I can make up on some paperwork and General Hammond finally gets his reports." He wanted and could not tell her that he did not want to be alone. Jack was afraid he would lose himself. He could hardly admit it to himself, how could he to the Major?

Sam went back a bit to her superior, thought for a moment and then decided. She had seen the Colonel in a new light. He said he did not want to be alone and that's exactly what he was all day long when she was here. No wonder he came to the only place he felt safe. "Sir," she grabbed his hand and indicated that he should follow her.

Jack did not know what he should do now. He just wanted to stay here in his four walls where he was not being alone, where he knew his friends were around when he really needed them.

He followed her to the canteen, and she put a piece of cake on a tray for him. She wondered when he had last eaten cake. Sam knew it was his soul anchor. He liked chocolate cake with cocoa icing. They sat in a quiet corner and she pushed the plate to him. Sam knew she was moving on a very thin line. This was not about rules; it was about so much more. This was about helping a man who had done so much more for this planet than one would expect from a single human being.

"Carter, I'm not hungry. What do you want? "He looked from his cake to her and then to his spoon, which he held in his hand.

"Cake is good for you. I never realized how much cake means to you. You not only like it, but you also look at it as comfort food." She underlined her answer with a slight smile. "Try at least one bite"

Jack realized that the blue eyes in front of him had something pleading about it. He took a bite and chewed on it. It did not taste the same as usual. The sweet taste of the melting frosting on his tongue did not have the desired effect that he had hoped for now.

"Well, I figured we could go for a walk afterwards, just get some fresh air and go to your favourite spot here on the grounds." She watched him closely and how he would react when she mentioned his secret place.

"What kind of favourite place is that supposed to be? I never mentioned that I have such a thing at all." Still chewing on the same piece of cake, he looked at her with two tired eyes.

Sam sighed; she could not have thought that the Colonel wanted to play such games. "Sir, please. I know more than you think. I know where your safe haven is when Daniel has once again annoyed you too much and you are short before exploding or you just must think alone and clear your head. I have already seen you here many times and before you think I'm spying on you, forget it. I was just worried every time." She leaned back a bit and crossed her arms over her chest, waiting for what had been said to have penetrated her CO.

"Okay," that was the only thing Jack was able to say to her. Both officers got up and Sam realized that Jack only had a bite of the cake. It was a long way back for him to be the old sarcastic cynical Colonel she loved so much. She knew a little about his past and wondered time and again how he managed to come back again every time. She knew that he rarely opened to someone and here she was, just letting him know that she was there for him.

Once they reached the surface, they walked a few yards into the forest before they came to a clearing. Here was a fallen tree that could not withstand a thunderstorm many years ago. Jack gestured that she should sit down, and he would sit down next to her.

It was completely silent for a while. Everyone seemed to hang on to their thoughts and even the birds preferred to take a nap. For Jack, it was important that she was there. Her closeness gave him all the strength he needed.

Sam enjoyed his closeness. He was everything she needed to live. She would never tell him, but if he was there, she felt safe no matter which life situation it was.

xxx

Daniel and Teal`c sat in the canteen and listened to a conversation. Two young officers were talking about they friend not far from their table. Daniel could only pick up a few words but Teal`c through his symbiote had better hearing. He understood every word and concluded that his friend O`Neill was here and he had gone with his 2IC. After Daniel had learned everything, he wondered, exactly like Sam had done more than an hour ago, why Jack had not said hello.

xxx

Jack opened his mouth and wondered if he should share his thoughts with Sam or not. Yes, they were friends, but he was still her supervisor. He did not forget that. He noticed the beautiful weather and how the leaves in the shallow wind began to rustle. It would not be that long before autumn came in the forests of Colorado.

"Sir, what you are thinking about? I just had an idea. What would you say if we drive to the cabin of yours in Minnesota for a week? I know that you wanted my company there for a long time and invited me on many occasions, but I never had the time. I could talk to the General and ask for a week's leave. I'm sure he will give it to me. We could fish, BBQ and just relax. We could look at the stars and wild animals at night if they let us see them."

He looked at her sceptically. He had tried to take her to Minnesota all these years for a relaxed weekend, and she always had declined. Now she had come up with that idea; she wanted to come with him to his cabin. That made no sense in his head. So, the only thing that seemed logical to him was to ask "why?"

"How, why?" Sam seemed unable to follow his train of thought.

"Why now? After all these other opportunities? "He looked challengingly at her.

"The opportunity seems just right now, Sir, to come to look at your cabin," Sam remarked with a sympathetic look.

She knew that it sounded weird and hoped he would ignore it. She was not even sure if it was the right thing to do when she had suggested this idea to him. She only wanted for him to feel better and that he would again make his jokes which always made her laugh. She missed the old Jack and knew it was her fault. If only he had been sitting in the car as he had planned at the beginning then it would not have happened.

As if Jack could read her thoughts, he turned to her. "You cannot change what happened. You have not pulled the trigger or put an iron chain on my ankle. You did not do the things some people are capable of. So, forget it. Do not bother with the thoughts. Leave that to the pros. "Jack grinned all over his face, more to himself than to the blond woman who faced him.

"Come on, let's go inside. It's getting cold out here and you're not completely okay yet. Or do you want to get back to Doctor Frasier again? "She gave him her hand as she had gotten up and smiled at him.

"Go ahead, I'll stay here for another moment. Nature is so beautiful and peaceful. See you later. "He looked at her for a moment and then looked the other way, which meant for Sam to go and leave him alone. She knew him well and maybe better than she might want to admit.
"Ok, I’ll see you later." With that, she left him alone with his thoughts.

xxx

Sam knocked on the office door of her superior. Hammond looked up and waved the Major in. "Major, what can I do for you?"

"Sir, it's about Colonel O'Neill." She swallowed hard.

"What about the Colonel?" Hammond looked at her astonished, put down his pen and now gave his full attention to the officer in front of him.

"I suggested we drive to his cabin in Minnesota. He had been asking me for a long time. I think it is the right thing to do: get him out of here so he can relax more. Maybe it would do him good to be with someone he trusted but not around here. So, I wanted to ask you if I could get a week off." Sam played nervously with her fingers behind her back.

"Major, you know that there are certain rules. I do not know if that's such a good idea and if it does not hurt any more than it would help." He looked at her intensely.

"Sir, neither Colonel O'Neill nor me would do anything that could harm our careers. This trip is purely on a friendly basis to help him. He said something to me earlier that made me think. Therefore, I consider it the right thing to do to help him. No matter what." She struggled for composure, hoping that she had brought her point over to him.

"Ok, but you know what's at stake. I think it would be better if you took Daniel or Teal'c or both with you. Not as a guardian, they should not misunderstand. But I know how closely SG1 are friends with each other and how much you all give each other strength to survive everything. Only God alone knows you how guys do it." He took a deep breath while watching the Major. "That's all. Dismissed"

Sam thanked him and went directly to her friend's lab. Daniel looked over his books again and seemed desperate for a translation. "We have to talk to Daniel."

Daniel looked up as he heard the female voice and looked at her, irritated. "Do we not do that all the time," he remarked dryly.

"Daniel" Sam warned him with her the tone of her voice. "It's about the Colonel. I think it is in his best interest that we all make a trip to Minnesota to his cabin. Just the four of us. We have permission from the General for a week.”

"But I have so much to do. There is only fishing again, anyway. "Daniel remarked whining like a small child. Only when Sam gave him a reproachful look did he notice what he was saying. It was about his friend. He was always there when it came to helping him and once again saving his soul.

"When are we leaving? Is Teal`c coming along? "He started to slide his papers and books on top of each other and to create some order on his desk.

"I hope tomorrow. I'll let Jack know. He also needs some time to pack his things, "she replied, already turning to leave as Daniel called her again.

"Yes, Jack. I heard he is here. Why did not he even say hello? Would not have been too much to asked for "The young man noticed something hurt.

"Yes, he is here, right now he's getting fresh air on the surface. He said he will come in a few minutes. I had talked to him briefly and asked him the same thing. He said he did not want to bother us because he knows how much work we have, and he wanted to use the time to work on his own papers. " she answered him.

"Sam, Jack and volunteer work? Since when he takes account of our work that we have much to do. He comes to us constantly and brings everything in disorder each time. I think we must be careful that he does not fall into a depression. He had something like this quite a few times in his past and each time it seems harder to get him out of there again." Daniel noted with concern.

"You're right, he did not even have an appetite to eat his favourite cake." Sam now realized after she had considered it. I'll see if he's in his office by now and tell him about the idea. We had already talked about it briefly.

xxx

Sam reached the surface one more time. After she had not found the Colonel in his office and apparently nobody else had seen him, she thought that he had lost the time in his thoughts. It was raining and she wondered for a moment where the bad weather was coming from now. There was still sunshine earlier and now it was pouring so heavily. She only hoped that Jack would not be sitting on his log. In this weather, anyone could easily catch something bad.

Moments later, she reached the clearing again. She could not see him, where was he? Sam stepped closer. The pattering rain and the dark atmosphere did not help to recognize more of the surroundings. When her eyes became accustomed to the dawn, she saw him. He was sitting under a tree a bit sheltered from the rain. His back and head leaning against a tree trunk, enjoying the cool late summer rain on his face.

"Sir," Sam knelt next to him and saw that he had closed his eyes. The dark green sweater he was wearing was now soaked and stuck to his skin.
Jack opened his eyes and looked at her in surprise.

"Carter, what are you doing here? You're getting all wet and you can get a cold. Go inside, "he remarked as he saw her in front of him.

"Sir, only if you come with me. You should really come in again. The rain seems to be getting stronger and I'm not sure if it's right for anyone out here." She stood in front of him, holding out her right hand ready to help him up.

He accepted the gesture and thanked her, only now realizing how stiff he had become in the meantime. It took a moment to relax and stroke his limbs off from the stiffness. Both made their way back to the base where a hot shower was waiting and some dry clothes.

xxx

SG1 had an appointment in Sam`s laboratory to go through the plan of how to spend a week's holiday. She had previously told Jack about the talks with Daniel and Hammond and he agreed.

It was not long before everyone had clattered around, and the decisions been made as to who was responsible for what. Food and drinks had to be procured and things packed. They packed flashlights and all kinds of stuff that been needed to survive just in case something happened. After all, O'Neill's cabin was 20 miles from the nearest town.

xxx

The next day they met at 0600. It was agreed that they would drive with Jack's truck because he could pack everything on his back and still had enough space for all four to travel comfortably.

There were relaxed conversations and now and then someone had even tried to sing a song. Everyone seemed very relaxed, including the Colonel.
He seemed to enjoy the company: vacationing with his best friends in the middle of the forest. What more could he ask for?

Many hours later, they had reached the common goal and unloaded the loading area of the pickup truck. Everything was quickly cleared away, and Jack had lit a campfire, proud of knowing how to build a fire from long ago.

xxx

The week full of laugh, fun, teasing, and nature were faster around than anyone could imagine. It was time to go home. None of the four had any desire yet. They had great fun and did not want to give it all up. But one thing was for sure: this week was screaming for a repeat. Who thought Daniel could sing so well or Teal`c could play a little guitar?

Jack saw his kids and was very proud of them. Once more they had helped him, unconsciously or not, to free himself from his situation. Nobody had raised the topic as to why they had all been there in the first place. That was not necessary. It just helped that they were all there as friends.

xxx

Back at home, Jack looked around his house. He was going to visit the doctor tomorrow to see if she would sign him off again and say he was ready for duty. He had listened to his answering machine where he was told that the trial before the court would start earlier. Why this been moved up so quickly he only could guess. And that would he please contact someone under a certain number.

Jack took a bottle of beer out of the fridge and sat in front of the television where he watched a hockey game. For him, the world looked so much better already.

The Colonel woke up with the dawn. The time on his digital clock showed it to be shortly after 0700. Still tired he rubbed his eyes, sighed and swung his legs out of bed. With a few steps, he was in the bathroom and refreshed himself extensively. He wanted to leave a good impression with the doc. Jack did not know yet how he would react if he saw the three men again. The only good thing was that these three men had never done anything to him and one of the men had been nice to him.

The psychopath who was constantly attending to him was dead. `Thank you, Sam`. He thought to himself. What would the urban criminals get? What was the motive in the first place? It was probably crystal clear that you did not just take a civil servant or a person who belonged to the military as a hostage. He must have gotten something on him that makes him a good target for a psychopath. A normal person would not do that. Jack looked at his hands and noticed only now that they were shaking. He tried to use his training to master the situation, but he only managed to do so to a limited extent.

That was the moment when he realized that it was easier for him if an alien had held him hostage than if he been held hostage among his own race. 'Oh, boy. You save Mother Earth God knows how many times and no one knows. Then you have such a rabble that belonged in the bottom drawer. ` Jack realized he was getting bitter. Sarcastic thoughts were racing around in his head. He looked in the mirror and found that he looked ten years older than he was. `O’Neill, get yourself together or the doc will never let you go back to work today.’

It was now 0800 when the bell rang. Jack opened it in surprise and looked into the blues eyes of one Major Carter. "Morning, Carter, what can I do for you?" He was so surprised he forgot to ask her to step in. Sam grinned slightly embarrassed as she indicated that he should ask her to come in.

"Coffee?" Jack was already in the kitchen.

"Sure, Sir," Sam replied, looking around his living room. She noticed that he had exchanged some pictures. Only those of his son was the same.
Jack followed her with two steaming cups, handing one to his 2IC.

"What brings you here? Is a bit early for someone who does not work like me and a bit late for someone like you? Normally you are at work around 0500," he stated in a bemused voice. Usually, Jack was very good at guessing. This time he did not seem to succeed in finding a reason for the early visit.

"I wanted to see how you are and if you need anything. It's only been a week and a bit since Janet had sent you home and I wanted to make sure you had everything you needed. For that, you have friends standing by your side." She took a breath. As Jack wanted to interrupt, Sam raised her hand to gesticulate that she was not finished yet.

"Jack, promise me something." She looked him in the eye and waited until he got his focus turned to her and she had his full attention. "Promise me you'll never forget that you have friends. Friends who are there for you. Stand by your side and fight. Laugh and cry with you. Go through thick and thin with you. Never forget that. If you need someone to talk to, Jack. I am always there for you. No matter what time it is."

She put her hand over his which he had placed in his lap. For a moment, he was speechless. He did not know what to say. In the end, it became a simple "I know".

Jack sipped his cup and watched the blond woman in front of him. She also sipped her cup and investigated the inside as if the sense of life would spring from it all and make everything a fantastic sense.

"I am invited as one of the main witnesses in the Process against the other three Villains. I do not know what to expect and I do not know if I can do it. Sam, I've testified so often in court and should know what to expect, and yet I feel so small and helpless. I do not want to see the men again and know in the same breath it must be. These people belong behind bars where they have their fair punishment. " he confessed so softly, for Sam barely to hear. Jack's eyes now swept away from his friend and sought a target out of the room far in the distance.

"Colonel, Sir. I know that it will be hard. But if anyone can manage, then it’s you. I have always taken you as a model: your courage, your attitude and your loyalty. Sir, I'm looking up to you. I can still learn so much from you and have already done so. I am on your side. We can do it together." She looked at her superior and noticed how he relaxed slightly, barely visible to an untrained eye. She thought for herself that she had found the right words for him.

"I want to go to the SGC. Doc Frasier wanted to see me, and I wanted to have her clear me for work again. I'm bored out of my skull. Carter, you know that the whole sitting around stuff is totally overrated here and it’s not for me. Since you're here, I thought to myself you could take me with you. This shows goodwill that I do not want to drive yet. Maybe it helps to please her. "Jack's voice had suddenly changed again to his strong military voice.

Sam knew that his wall was up again and that he would not let anyone in soon. She knew her friend so well that she could estimate him. That was how the Colonel was. He decided when, how, where and when he showed his feelings and Sam knew that she was one of the few to whom he opened himself up.

"Sir, I can take you with me. But I'm in the SGC all day. What will you be doing during this time if you do not mind me asking?" She watched him and emptied her cup with a big gulp.

"That's ok, I still have paperwork to catch up with. Did not manage to clear all of it last time at work before we had our time off. I know that it is only a little bit more than a week ago that I could leave the infirmary ..." his words trailed off. He also tilted his cup to empty it with a big swig and got up.

xxx

Arriving at the SGC, both registered and the young Lieutenant at the entrance welcomed the Colonel particularly exuberantly for military relations. Everyone on base knew what had happened and now this young man was glad that he was back. It just was not the same. Jack`s aura defined a big part of the SGC. He always took it a bit more casually. He knew how to speak with the young coworkers to get the courage up they needed and get a few extra per cent more out of themselves to reach the best they could be.

Sam and Jack went their separate ways once they were deep inside the mountain. The lift had accompanied them both to level 21. Jack gestured to let Carter go first and then followed her on the floor.

The Colonel knocked on the doctor's office door, waited until he heard a "Come in", and entered with a grin. `Mission, back to work` was in full swing. Janet looked at the Colonel and looked him up and down. She had to admit that the holiday week with his friends had done him good.

"Colonel, what can I do for you?" The doctor pointed to a chair and Jack was supposed to sit down. Jack thanked her, sat down and started explaining that he was bored. He was fine and he wanted to go back to work.

"You look better, I have to admit that. But I think that only 1.5 weeks after experiencing a near-death adventure, already coming back to work seems too early for me. Your body has earned the break and you should give it to it at least until the end of the week. That's three days left. You can do that." She smiled at him understandingly. Janet knew the Colonel all too well with his highly energetic existence and the urge to constantly to do something.

"May I do at least light work, such as working on my pile of files? Otherwise, I do not know when to do it anyway. "At least he tried to make a compromise. Jack knew that even as a senior officer he had no chance against a doctor.

"Colonel, you cannot stay away from the base." Janet looked at him mischievously and then told him that he could work a maximum of two hours and then had to take a longer break of at least 30 minutes. The Colonel was satisfied and left the office with thanks. Janet looked after him and shook her head slightly before turning back to the work in front on her desk.

Before Jack went to his office, he just checked in on Carter. He did not know exactly why, only that it felt right. He knocked and looked around. Everywhere were gimmicks and other small appliances. Most of these he would like to touch and see what they were good for. But knew exactly how the Major would react if something should go kaput.

Sam heard the knocking, peeked out from behind a cupboard and almost dropped a pile of drawings and documents as she saw her CO standing in the middle of her lab. She watches him for a few seconds. He did not seem to have noticed her and so she saw him looking at her technical equipment. Often a finger came very close to one of Sam’s toys, but he pulled it away every time without a touch. As he stood there, he had something boyish about him. He looked more like an over-excited boy who was too eager to touch the object of his desire but did not trust it than he looked like a Colonel of the USAF.

"Sir, how can I help you?" Sam now emerged from behind the closet. She seemed to have been very quiet. For a moment, it looked as if the Colonel had been scared before he returned to his military bravado.

"Carter, I just wanted to see how you're doing. Thank you for the talk this morning and I would like you to invite you to dinner in our canteen. "He grinned wide, god knowing that the food here was free anyway. "I would pick you up at 1230 if that's ok."

"Um, sure. Yes, Sir, ok "Sam was a bit taken aback and did not know exactly what to say at the first moment. "See you later, sir." Jack gave her another grin and then headed for his office.

xxx

The day passed very fast. Jack had followed his breaks well and so, slowly his very big pile of folders was lessening. He had met with Sam for lunch and they had talked as friends about all sorts of things. They laughed together and Jack had a large piece of chocolate cake with frosting.
Sam had also driven him home after she had spent all day until 1800 in her laboratory. Daniel had visited Jack in his office and questioned him about his well-being. His other team-mate Teal`c also paid a visit. All around it was a good day for the Colonel.

Sam refused a beer in his house which Jack had offered her, so O`Neill sat alone in his favourite chair, sipping a bottle of Guinness. He had no desire to watch TV when he just remembered the message on his answering machine. He searched for the number he had written down the night before and typed it in.

After the fourth or fifth time, a woman's voice answered the call. Jack laid down his request and waited for the promised onward connection. The music was repeated for the umpteenth time. He hated such awaiting.

"Public prosecutor Bauer, good day what can I do for you?" Came a deep, calm voice. Jack cleared his throat and explained his request once more. The whole conversation lasted over 30 minutes in the end. Jack had to give a few minor details and an appointment was made for him to come to the office where he would be prepared for what awaited him on the witness stand.

xxx

The time had gone by and one day flowed into another. Jack got picked up by Sam for another few days and he managed slowly to work through his whole pile of folders. His CO got all the reports he was waiting on for so long and all the other paper stuff on Jack’s desk which was collecting dusk was now sorted. Jack stood proudly by his desk, with a grin all over his face.

He was so proud of himself that he picked up the phone, called his 2IC, and asked her to pay him a visit in his office. As she stepped in, she was just about to ask what the problem was when he showed her with a big boyish smile and a big wavy hand gesture that his desk was empty and organized.

“Sir, I am deeply impressed. That is brilliant. I believe the General is pleased as well now that he has all the mission reports.” She smiled at him proudly. It was especially good knowing how much he hated the paperwork which was attached to every mission.

“So, what does the doc says about you? When can you go back on missions?” Sam questioned her CO.

“She said a minimum for another two weeks. Can you believe this? Two weeks before I can go off world again. How boring is that?” he looked at Carter with a childish upset face.

“Sir, I bet these two weeks will fly by. You will never know where they have gone. Look, Sir. The trial starts in two days. That means you could not go off-world anyway because you will be needed in court, same as I. So we will go through this together and after it is all over, we will go to a nice planet with some lakes. You take your fishing gear and you can teach me. How does that sound for you?” Sam smiled at him encouragingly.

“Yeah, you are probably right Carter. I always knew you are way smarter than I am.” He grimaced slightly and then continued. “When is your big day at the court?” Changing the subject worked always for him. Getting the attention to someone else is way better than all the eyes being fixed on him.

“On the first day, when the trial starts. Late in the afternoon. I think it was around 1700. And yours?” Sam checked her CO up from top to bottom and realized just now how stiff he became. The relaxed figure from earlier seemed completely gone, replaced with one stiff black OPS trained Colonel. Sam knew, under normal circumstances, that the Colonel would never ever do something to her. But she also knew that when he is a bit withdrawn, the ghost of his past loved to come out and say hello. She never had seen it on him, but she read about it and had been warned on more than one occasion to be careful to approach people who have a troubled past.

“Sir?” she tried to reach the unresponsive figure in front of her.

“Yes, yes Carter. Sorry, what did you just say?” The minute he started to answer her the Colonel relaxed again. Sam could only guess what was going on in the head of Jack O`Neill. Maybe the whole trial stuff bothered him more than he led on. Since that morning both had never brought the subject back up. Sam assumed that Jack was fine but now she was not so sure anymore.

“I did ask you when your appointment is at the court?” Sam pointed out again.

“Oh, ehm, I think it is on the same day as yours. The first day from what I heard. The evidence is so much they don’t stand a chance. So, it should only get attention for a couple of days.” He swallowed hard and continued

“I think my appointment was around 1500, but I have to be there by 1400. So, if you like the waiting bit, we could go together and have lunch together beforehand. What are you saying?” Two brown tired eyes looked at two blue ones for a hopefully positive answer.

“Colonel, you’ve got yourself a date. I’ll pick you up at 1200 in two days. Since you’re finished here, I don’t think I have to pick you up tomorrow. You should have a day of rest before the trial starts. It will be hard for all of us but especially for you, Sir.” She patted his arm slightly and left after he nodded in agreement. He felt so exhausted all a sudden. Reaching his chair behind his desk, he let himself fall in and placed his heavy head on top of his arms on the now-empty desk.

xxx

Jack woke up in his bed. Yesterday, he spent a quiet, relaxed day at home with some opera music in his garden and a BBQ for dinner. He had rounded it off with two episodes of the Simpsons afterwards.

`OK, O`Neill. Get out of bed. Today is the big day. Sam will come to pick you up in a few hours. `His heart started beating a little faster at the thought of his second in command. He heard the doorbell ring. Jack mumbled something under his breath and stood up. Quickly he was at the door and when he turned to open it, he looked straight into the barrel of a Walther PP.

He heard the doorbell ring. Jack mumbled something under his breath and stood up. Quickly he was at the door and when he turned to open it, he looked straight into the barrel of a Walther PP.

“Morning,” Jack smirked, and his mind was already racing about what to do. He has been pushed back into his house still with the weapon in his face. Five men entered, all dressed in black leather jackets, black trousers and shirts. O`Neill was reminded off a cleanup mob from the mafia. Had it to do with the trial? Could these guys, in prison, be so stupid and send somebody after him? He just hoped that no one was visiting Sam. That she was safe.

“What can I do for you guys? Not very friendly of you to come in the morning to somebody’s house and push the owner around. What did I ever do to you?” Jack was slowly walking backwards. He knew that in case a fight breaks out, he would have better chances outside with more space than in here. And another point was that stuff could get broken in here.

One of the men stood right in front of him. Jack noticed that the high was nearly the same.

“You stay away from that trial today” the guy waved the gun now demonstrative in front of Jacks face.

“Or?” Jack been curios.

“There is no OR” the man replied.

“Sure, what happens if I go and testify. I assume you are the welcome committee after I get back?” slowly Jack reached behind himself and opened the door to his back yard.

“We are here now. If you can’t stay away out of a free will, we will force you. Do not underestimate us just because you are a dam military guy.” The man answered now getting a bit wimped up.

“Well, sorry fellas. But this is a no from me. This is one thing I just can`t do. So why we do not go outside and all of us take a bit of fresh air. I am sure we can settle this in a nonviolent way.” Jack stepped outside and with a waving arm he invited his unintentional guest to the little unexpected garden party.

Jack was standing barefoot on his soft grass. His opponents had circlet him in and he was not sure who would strike first. There it was. Out of the corner of his eye, Jack recognized the first movement. He ducked and the swing that was meant for him gone into thin air. In a split second, he knocked two guys in the crown jewels and a third one he knocked him right on his knee. Jack got up and had a go at the fourth guy. A right and then left. Bullseye, right in the face. He did not see it coming. While he was still busy with the fourth one, the last guy got a knife out and managed to cut Jack on his right arm. A scream followed and blood stared to well out of the deep wound. Jack was now driven on pure adrenaline and he pushed the dizziness aside.

He saw that two out of the five men been still on the ground and besides the pain, Jack flew at another man. He punched that one right in de tummy area which led to a loud groan bevor he sank to his mates on the ground. Jack blinked a few times to get his focus back on track when he felt a sharp pain on the back of his head. He tried to turn and see for himself what was going on. Before he was swallowed up by complete darkness, he saw a guy with a baseball bat grinning in his face. Jack fell unconcise to the ground. The motionless body laid in the middle from five groaning men. Each of them shaking a bit after the fight. The man with the bat stepped a bit closer now to the Colonel and kicked him with his heavy boot first two times in his ribs and then just for good measure another two kicks on the temple of the Colonel's head.

“He had enough. Let’s go. It will take some time for him to come around again.” He waved his companions to the house and to go. But before they left each of them had to get, they own share of the colonel. He had to putt up such a fight that the men needed to get back at him. So, one kicked him in his legs, while another one stepped on his knees. A third one stepped on top of his back and stood for a few seconds on the spine of the Colonel. The fourth was not better and gave the rib cage another good kick. Jack did not get any of that but by the time he would come around again he sure was sore. His body would scream in agony.

xxx

Sam was in a good mood and danced through her house. She was so looking forward to eating together with Jack at lunchtime. She knew that through all the rules and regulations it was not allowed to have an intimate relationship with each other. But why couldn’t they be just good friends? After all, SG1 had regularly hosted a team night at the Colonel's home.

A glance at the clock showed her that it was just over an hour until she would meet with her CO. Janet had told her yesterday that she was very impressed by the Colonel. He seemed to stick to everything that she had said light work, many breaks, no driving a car. Janet had even asked her anxiously if everything was OK with Jack. Sam had assured her that everything was ok. Jack was just very tense and just wanted to get everything over and done with.

She sat down at her computer and checked her mails. Except for a few spam emails, they seemed to be nothing and so she was done in no time. A quick glance at the clock told her that only ten minutes had passed. She thought for a moment and picked up the phone. She had Jack’s number on speed dial. It rang and rang. Nobody picked up. Sam wondered a bit because she knew the Colonel well and he would not go out before they had a date and certainly not on such an important day. He personally had probably already wanted it to be over.

Sam was quickly dressed and sitting in the car. Her feeling told her that there was something terribly wrong and that she better checks it out. Even though Jack pretended that everything was okay with him on the physical side, she knew that not everything had healed yet. It was only about four weeks since the eventful day happened.

Not even 10 minutes later, she parked her car next to the dark green truck of her supervisor. She approached his door and noticed that it was ajar. She had not been able to recognize signs of burglary. But this is nothing for today. Sam pulled her weapon and pushed the door open. In practised steps she searched the living room and the kitchen. She looked up and down in the basement. Everything looked normal until she noticed the open door to the back garden.

Still, with her weapon drawn, Sam stepped outside. At first glance, she could see nothing there. She was just about to return to Jack's house when she heard a low murmur. The Major turned and searched all corners and angles. Then she saw him.

Jack just seemed to come to his senses and groaned softly. In a few steps, she was beside him and she knelt. She dared not touch him because she did not know where it would hurt him. "Sir, can you sit up?" Sam asked gently

"Yes Carter, I can. Oi, my head. What steamroller has driven over me this time. "Jack tried to sit up but stopped as everything began to move around him.
"Sir, I have no idea what happened here, but you're definitely being in a bad shape. You can forget the trial today. That will not be possible anymore.

"Sam gently stroked his blood-smeared hair. Jack finally managed to sit. His head had stopped showing him spinning images and with the word Trial, it all shot back into his head.

xxx

At the same time in courtroom 105

"All rise" shouted a firm voice across the room. Lawyers, defendants, jurors, and the entire auditorium rose in unison. The Presiding Judge left his office that was behind the courtroom and stepped onto his platform. “Department One of the Superior Court is now in session. Judge David presiding. Please be seated," he announced, and all members of the room followed suit.

" Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Calling the case of the People of the State of Colorado versus Bernhard Newman, Nicolas Freshwater and Peter Augustan. Are both sides ready?”

“Ready for the People, Your Honor.” Replied the district attorney followed by a “Ready for the defence, Your Honor” coming from the Public Defender.

“Will the clerk please swear in the jury?” the Judge asked to get this show on the road.

The clerk, now standing in front of the jury started.

“Will the jury please stand and raise your right hand? Does each of you swear that you will fairly try the case before this court and that you will return a true verdict according to the evidence and the instructions of the court, so help you, God? Please say “I do”.

The jury replied in unison with “I do”.

“You may be seated.”
The Deputy may please make a start and submit the form so that we all know why we have gathered here on such a nice day.

xxx

"Sam, we have to. I remember, five guys showed up here. They suggested to me not to go to the Trial today. When I tried to make it clear that something like this is not possible, they beat me up. I think I got a few of them pretty good but one came with a baseball bat from behind and knocked it over my head. The rest I don’t know anything about it but by the feeling I have here, they cracked a rib or two after I was unconscious on the grass. I will take a shower and clean myself then we can go. Does not take long. "Still a bit shaky on his feet and with shallow breathing Jack managed to get up with the help of Sam.

The Major wondered if it would make sense to report it to the police or let it just go. She would have to talk to the Colonel about it when he finished his shower. But as she knew him, that could take a while. She already knew this from her work when she returned from some missions. Jack loved hot extensive showers.

So, it was again today. It had taken almost an hour for a clean, freshly and ready-dressed Colonel to come down the stairs. Sam had made coffee while she waited for him and read the latest news. The trial had even been featured in the local news. When she saw Jack now, it was hard to miss the full extent shown in his face. A cut above the left eye and a bruise already formed on the right. He had a wound on the right arm that he had already bandaged up. Sam could not see the rest of his body. But hoping that it was not too bad among his things, which he had picked out for the court.

"Sam, would you mind if we drive in my truck? I'm not sure if I can fit in your little car. You can also drive. The seat is easy to adjust." He grimaced slightly with his face, trying to hide the pain of his aching body as much as possible. Why did it always take so long for the painkillers to take effect? He had taken only light ones to keep his head clear but strong enough to even make it to court. He was a member of the USAF. He was not so easily intimidated.

Sam obviously enjoyed the ride in the truck of her superior. It took a little longer to show at the court as when he had driven, but that's why they both had a lot of time left. They had skipped lunch. Both officers had lost their appetite.

TBC

XXXXX

that's for now, stay tuned to find out how Jack is doing in court, if he ever will arrive there. Or is something coming in between? Like to hear from you and what you thinking while reading the story
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Re: The Cave

Post by bftlovesRDA » Wed Jun 10, 2020 10:13 pm

Oh boy! Thank you for this section of "The Cave"! It is so well written and I am sitting on the edge of my seat to find out what happens next!
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Re: The Cave

Post by Monika » Thu Jun 11, 2020 9:44 pm

Hi Jacky,
Thank you.
Oh WOW
If possible, please don´t let us wait that long. It´s just so exciting.
I look forwart to the continuation.

From Monika with love
"As long as I always think of you and wish me somethings which I think is unattainable, there is no reason to be hurt by others."

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Re: The Cave

Post by Jack(s) » Thu Jun 11, 2020 10:04 pm

hey Monika, thanks for the compliment. so happy you enjoying the story so much. I try to remember to post some tomorrow. if not then it will be on Saturday.

stay safe and take care

hugs Jacky
"Dogs are my favorite people !!!"
"I've got to have fun or it's not worth it."
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Re: The Cave

Post by Jack(s) » Sun Jun 14, 2020 3:24 pm

so, at last. here comes the next part. sorry, it took so long but I had a few issues with my laptop. hope all is fixed now. so enjoy the next section and have fun


The Deputy, now standing in front of the judge, presented the case of the Robbery which took place in Colorado Springs with four men of which three were here to stand the trial.

After he was finished, the Public defender stood up, walked in front of the jury and started his opening plea. “Your Honor and ladies and gentlemen of the jury: under the law, my clients are presumed innocent until proven guilty. During this trial, you will hear no real evidence against my clients. You will come to know the truth: that Bernhard, Nicolas and Peter were just puppets by someone else. After finding out what was going on Bernhard, Nicolas and Peter have been just trying to do the right thing by setting things straight. Therefore, my clients are not guilty."

The Judge looked at the prosecution. “You may call the first witness.”

“The People call the owner of the bank.” Announced the Deputy.

“Please stand. Raise your right hand. Do you promise that the testimony you shall give in the case before this court shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you, God?” The clerk swore the first witness in.

After stating his first and last name, address and business the first real question came.

“Going straight to business. Were you working there on February 8th?”

“Yes, I was”

“Which color was the car which the robbers with the hostages escaped?” The lawyer asked.

“It was blue” came the answer from the witness.

“You just indicated to the court the car was blue?”

“Yes.”

“Do you remember providing a statement to police on the night of the robbery?”

“Yes.”

“Were you telling the truth to the police at that time about what you saw?”

“Yes.”

“You were sober and aware of what had just happened?”

“Of course, I just saw it all clearly.”

“The statement was immediately after the robbery was it not?”

“It was. About 10 minutes after.”

“And like all humans, your memory would be better immediately after the event than it would try to recall things six months later, as you are trying to attempt here?”

“Sure. That makes sense.”

“Can you please look at this?”

“Ok.”

“And what is that?”

“The statement I provided to police on the day of the event.”

“And you would agree that you told the police that the car was white?”

“Yes, it appears I did.”

“You already indicated you were not trying to mislead police that day.”

“Of course not.”

“And you agreed that your memory would have been better that morning, ten minutes after the event?”

“Yes.”

“It’s fair to say that looking at this now, the car must have been white, and you are simply mistaken now, one month later trying to remember things
as best as you can?”

“I guess so.”

A few more questions had been asked, and the witness was released afterwards. The state attorney was on a roll the whole day and soon it was Jack’s time to stand in the witness stand. The Colonel still struggled to walk normally. But being him meant he tried as much as possible as not to show it. He was dressed in his full blue uniform with all his ribbons and medals on it, proud of what he was presenting.

As he heard his name called, Jack took a deep breath, closed his eyes for a second and stepped into the courtroom. He walked along the aisle with all those people to the left and right. He saw the jury sitting by the windows to his right side, the Jury pedestal in front of him. As he reached the witness stand, he looked at the three men in the eye. He could see them whisper and was assuming it had something to do with the attack on him earlier that morning.

“Please state your name for the record and your rank in the military service.” the man in front of Jack began.

“Colonel Jack O`Neill, United States Air Force” he replied and shifted a bit to make himself more comfortable.

“Can you please confirm that you're the respondent in the Supreme Court file # 24356?”

“That’s correct”

“So, Colonel is it. You are working where exactly?”

“Cheyanne mountain, deep space telemetry”

“What are you doing there if I may ask”

“Checking out the neighborhood in space”

“So that particular morning of the robbery, had you been on the way to work?”

“Yes”

“Why had you stopped at the bank”

“One of my co-worker’s car broke down and she phoned me before work and asked for a lift. She needed to go to the bank before work.” Jack shuffled again on his chair.

“Are you ok Colonel? You seem a bit restless today and what happened to your face? These wounds are looking quite fresh.” a concerned attorney was standing before Jack.

“I had some visitors this morning.” Jack looked towards the Jury.

“What did they want?”

`Asking me to come out and play`, was shot through Jack's head. But here it was serious, so he bit his tongue and replied with honesty and without sarcasm.

“They did ask me to not attend court today. I told them that this is a thing I can`t do. So, these five men decided to beat the crap out of me.” Jack looked now to the three men on the bench.

“But you still came. Why”

“It is my duty to help and protect God’s nation. No one can keep me from it.” Jack replied now with a very stern voice. He had grown tired and just wished all was already over.

“So, have you reported it to the police?” the lawyer now on a hunch

“No.”

“Why not?”

"I was unconscious and my co-worker who is here as well found me. There was no time, otherwise, we would have come too late."

“So, you have not seen a doctor either.”

“No.”

“Do you think that your visitors this morning have anything to do with the three men we are here to decide over their fate?”

“It is not up to me to make the assumption.”

“Ok, back to the day it all started. You have special training as a military person. Did you try to play the hero?”

“No”

“How come these guys picked you? I mean, who would pick a military officer?”

“I don`t know.”

The questions rumbled all along. After the state attorney had been finished with his questions, the defence made their moves and tried to twist it all around a bit. The Colonel himself would not agree to it and he fought where he was for what was right.

Finally, after over an hour, Jack was released and allowed to leave. He quickly checked his watch and recognized that it was somewhere between 1500 and 1600. In front of the room, Sam waited for her turn as the door opened and her CO stepped out.

"Sir, how you are holding up? Sit down, you look tired." Carter helped him to sit and waited until he relaxed a bit. She knew she was not allowed to talk to him in between the testimonies but she also had been concerned. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see that two men approached them both. From the way, they were dressed she believed them to be first aiders.

“You are Colonel O`Neill?” one of the men asked the Colonel who was now slumped against the wall behind him.

“Yes”, he mumbled.

"Colonel, we have been asked to check you out. For this, you must come with us. Can you walk?” The deep concern on Sam’s face was not unnoticed and the other man assured her that the Colonel would be taken good care of. With a little help from the first aiders, Jack stood and walked with the two nice men. His breathing had still been shallow, and his rib cage protested now even more than before.

Sam watched them leave, sat back down again and waited. Right now, the only thing she could do for the Colonel was to give a good and honest statement. She would see him later.

The time came and Sam had been called into the courtroom. The first few questions were the same as asked to the Colonel and Sam gave as much detail as possible. She relived nearly every single minute of that morning and realized that the questions for her CO had been that detailed. He must have relived his stay at the cave as well. It dawned on her that it was why he was so exhausted. He never spoke about stuff like this out of a free will, but she must find a way to help him: make him talk and put this experience behind him in a more natural way than to just lock it in a mental drawer.

As she came out, Jack was waiting for her. He had a little bag with some painkillers sitting next to him. Sam looked at him and was not sure what to make of his appearance. He had a cheeky boyish smile on his face as if he knew something she didn’t.

"Colonel, how you are feeling?" Sam sat next to him and checked him over silently from top to toe.

“Great, been given some of these lovely little pills.” His finger indicated to the bag next to him.

“Ok, so do you have to go to a hospital? Did these guys say anything?” Sam still had a concerned look on her face.

“Can`t remember.” Jack had gotten a bit rubbery.

“You can`t remember?” Sam did not trust the words she just heard.

“Look, we are here already for a very long time and we have had neither breakfast nor lunch. I did what I am come for and so did you. These first aid guys patched me up pretty good and that's it. So, we’re here, not home. Can we go now?” His face grimaced a bit while he was on the whining side. Sam knew him so well and the way he was now, there was no chance to get anywhere with him except to just follow his wishes.

“Ok, let`s go. You want to grab something to eat on the way home or have a pizza delivered to your house?” Sam helped him up to stand and led him to his truck.

“You want to share a pizza at my place? You have to drive me home anyway.” Jack grinned while getting into his truck.

“No.” Sam looked at Jack before she started the engine.

“Oh, ok.” Jack snapped back into his reserved Colonel mode. He was thinking that they both could have had a nice relaxed evening, but it seems she did have other plans.

“Sir, what`s wrong? Something just changed.” With a playful look towards Jack, she put it in first gear.

“Nothing, everything is fine. Drive on home Major.” Jack plastered his face straight forward and did not look once at his 2IC again for a few minutes.

“Sir, you did ask the wrong question?” Said Sam softly after a while. The quietness was so awful between them both.

“What’s that? Which question?” Jack asked now getting more irritated. Sam could not really believe it and gave him a clue.

“Sharing a Pizza.” She smirked at him now

“Oooh. You want your own Pizza?” Jack felt so stupid. He should have known his Major.

"Yes, Sir. That would be great. I am starving. So sorry to say it but I don’t want to share it with you. But if you share a bottle of beer with me that would be great.” Finally, the Colonel caught up with what she meant. The relief washed over her instantly.

“Own Pizza means own beer. That’s the rule.” now it was on Jack to smirk in relief. He was looking forward to having his friend around.

“It would be better if we invite Daniel and Teal`c over as well. We could make a team night out of it. Would be great.” stated Carter who was thinking of the rules and regulations.

“Yeah probably. I’ll give Danny a call. He can ask Teal`c. Which time do you think is ok? An hour from now?” The Colonel picked up his phone and checked the time on his watch.

The phone call placed, he looked out the window. He knew that the woman next to him was out of reach. But hey, he was a guy right. He could dream.

About an hour later, all four members of SG1 sat in the Living room at O`Neill’s place eating pizza, drinking beer, and enjoying a movie. Times like this could not happen often enough.

xxx

Next day in court:

Today it was the day to call the villains into the witness stand. After the jury listened to a hand full of witnesses yesterday, the defendant’s side decided to call one of the men in.

The judge stepped into the courtroom and the same procedure happened like yesterday. After the formality was over, one of the men stepped up.

“State your name for the protocol please?” his defendant lawyer started the long day that lay ahead.

“Nicolas Freshwater.”

“What is your job title and position?”

“I`m a mechanic, at the moment jobless.”

“So, who came up with the plan for the robbery?”

“Me”

“What is your technical background, skills, or knowledge?”

“I know how to open safe doors. I watched a lot of movies and studied police work over the internet. I talked to a lot of contacts that I have.”

“Which contacts would that be?” A long pause arose before Nicolas answered the question which still hung in the air.

“Mafia.”

A soft murmur went around in the room. People looked at each other with shocked faces. Mafia in their small community?

“Tell us, in your own words, what you were doing in the hours prior to the robbery, how you worked it all out and what happened afterwards.”

“We had an early start with some alcohol. Before you ask, no drugs. Berny had organized the weapons. We got ready, and with rap music got ourselves hot. We went over the routine one last time. We arrived at the bank after it was open for around an hour. We sat in the car a bit and watched customers coming and going. We saw the guy with the blond woman in the green truck. Marvin said he bets they are a couple and he would do everything for her.

I held the bet against him, and we stormed the bank. Everything was working perfectly till Marvin started to play with the dude from the truck. He could not resist provoking him. I mean, the guy stayed calm and that pissed Marvin off. He was a guy who loved to control. He loved to inflicted pain just to see his victim in agony and he could feel the power he had over it. So, after it went all a bit haywire, Marvin decided to take hostages. We agreed before that we would not go there. But he did it anyway. He wanted to have a real go at the calm guy. The rest you know. We got a white transport car and escaped into the mountains.” His head dropped onto his chest.

“What is your connection with those involved in the whole hostage situation?” With no rest, the next question came flying.

“No connection at all. Never saw him or anyone else of hostages that we took before.”

“What attracted your attention to the robbery?”

“The thrill, money, kind of a daring.”

“What actions did you take once you reached the cave?”

“We covered the car, brought the money into the cave, and Marvin led the guy into another chamber of the cave. He came back one time and told us that he had caught himself a Colonel of the United States Air Force. It seemed like he went completely high and into a fairyland. For him, it was like a lottery win. He hated all military service putting the blame on them for the death of his parents who both served and then the system failed him.”

“What do you think was the main cause of the robbery going wrong?”

“Marvin not sticking to the plan and taking a hostage”

“Is there any additional information you would like to provide?”

“I would like to apologize to all the victims, the bank itself and to all the persons involved. It was never intended to hurt anyone.”

“Do you regret what happened?”

“Yes.”

“Is there anyone else that you know of that we should talk with?”

“No”

“I thank you for your time. The defence is finished and now the witness is all yours." With that, he turned to his seat and sat down.

Happy with what he had achieved, the defence attorney had shown the jury that his clients were not bad at all. These kids had hearts, feelings and a conscience.

The state attorney got himself up and stood now in front of Nicolas.

"That was quite impressive. I got only a few questions for you. How come that it was your plan, but Marvin cooked it all up and now you blame it on him. He can’t defend himself anymore.”

“I had to tell the truth. That’s what had happened. I know he can’t defend himself and I know how it looks, but that’s how it happened.”

“That’s convenient. So, we heard yesterday Colonel O`Neill here as a witness. He looked quite beaten up. Who of you nice guys are responsible for the early visit to his house yesterday morning?"

“Nobody.”

“Oh please, you can tell this to your mother. You stated earlier that you have connections to the Mafia. So, don’t think that we all here are stupid." The lawyer grew impatient.

“Nothing else to say. It was not one of us three. Maybe one of our families. How should I know?” Nicolas shrugged with his shoulders.

“Thank you. That’s all.” The protectionary looked at the jury and the judge on the way as he returned to his desk.

The public Defender arose and asked questions which should now safe the skin from his three clients. He knew it was not looking good. But he had to try his best anyway. The list of questions not been long and so it was all over before it really began.

The Judge looked around in the room and asked if there be any more witnesses. The reply was a `No’ from both sides.

“So, after all the evidence has been presented and all witnesses have been heard, I am ready to hear the final argument. After that, the jury will retreat themselves.” He made it official with a loud knock of his wooden hammer.

xxx

Jack woke up quite late that morning. His friends stayed very late in the night or early this morning. After the movie was finished a relaxed chatting round had started and a few more bottles of beer had been shared out.

He sat up with legs already out of the bed. A slight groan escaped his mouth and he rubbed his eyes with the palm of his hand. His head still hurt and so did his ribs. Slowly he stood up and walked to the bathroom. As he looked in the mirror and saw himself, he just had to grin. What been his teammates. thinking of his appearance last night?

`Ah well, a nice shower would do me good.` Jack turned the water on and stepped in it. He was not sure after all if that was such a good idea. He was hurting all over. Sam promised to come over at lunchtime to pick him up. She had insisted that he get checked out by Janet.
Lunchtime came and Jack was ready to go. The only missing part was his ride. Right at that moment, his doorbell rang. He opened it with a smile to see his Major standing with a shy smile in front of him.

“Sir, you ready to go?”

Jack grabbed his Jacket and keys and locked the door behind him. Both agreed to take Jack’s truck again for easier access on the side of the Colonel.
Just a short while later they reached the so familiar base. On the way to Janet’s Domain, Daniel passed them and got a shock of his life after he saw his friend.

“Jack, what happened? you did not look like yesterday, did you?” he asked, deeply concerned.

“Had some friendly guys over for a party. They didn’t like the theme I picked yesterday morning.” Jack replied in his cynical style he had mastered so well.

"Well, you look like shit, but at least your brain still seems to work. Still the same guy." With that, Daniel hurried along to his lab to study some more of his pictures of symbols which had been lying around all over his lab.

Carter and O`Neill stepped into the Infirmary looking for Janet who was found shortly afterwards in a corner hovering over an experiment. Janet looked up after Carter called. “Colonel, what happened to you?” she asked him, taking in a deep breath.

“Nothing to worry about. Carter insisted that I come and see you. She did not trust me that I would really go and see you. That’s why she is here with me.” He looked at Sam and motioned to her that she could leave now.

“Have fun Sir, Janet.” With that, the Major left and went to her own laboratory to get some work done.

“So, Colonel. Where does it hurt?” Janet pointed at an empty bed and gestured for him to sit on it.

“The question should be, where doesn’t it hurt. I feel like I’ve been run over by a train.” Jack replied feeling the tiredness wash over him.

“Ok, here is a Hospital gown. Get changed and let me know when you’ve finished. I’d like to run some tests and take some x rays and an fMRI scan if this is ok with you.” She held the robe to him and left him with that to his own devices.

Jack muttered under his breath and with a bit of swearing and heavy breathing he got the job done. He covered himself with a blanket and lying in bed waiting for the Doctor. Shortly after he pressed the bell, Janet showed up impressed with what she saw in front of her eyes. There was her most impatient patient completely complying with what she had told him to do. That alone was worth writing a report over it. She concluded in her mind that he must feel awful to act this way.

“Ok, Colonel. First the scans. Then the rest. Do you want some painkillers to help you?” she asked him in concern.

“Nah, it will be alright. Just do what you must do. I want to have it done and over with, so I can leave again.” Jack answered softly.

Janet looked at him and had now realized that the man on the bed had fallen asleep. “Sleep on, Colonel. Hope we can sort you out.” With that Janet left and arranged two of her male nurses to get all the scans and tests done that she had arranged for him.

xxx

Several hours later

Jack woke up in a quiet corner of the infirmary. He hadn’t realized that he did fall asleep and wondered now for a moment where he was when he woke up. It all came back in a flash and he groaned softly. Looking around, no staff was to be seen. He looked at an IV drip next to him which was attached to his left hand. Trying to sit up, the room started to spin and O`Neill decided against the feeling to sit. He closed his eyes and drifted off to a restless sleep again.
Sam was in Janet’s office and both looked over the test results which were spread out all over the desk. “He took quite a hit on his head. How he managed with that to go to court is beyond me." Janet said looking at the x-ray of Jack’s head. It showed a small hairline fracture. So long as Jack would not move too much it would be no problem, but he certainly had a very bad concussion which alone was serious enough.

"I hope he did not break any of his other bones," Sam whispered looking at some other x rays.

“No, all looks fine. Sam, what had happened to him? I mean, we speak about the Colonel. It's not easy to take him out, is it." Janet watched her friend very closely now.

“He said he had some guys come over to persuade him to not go to the court and testify. He told them that’s a no go and all five had a go at him. He said that he got two or three pretty good. So, what I’d like to do is catch these guys. Jack said they had all been dressed in black. He said that it was his duty as a member of the Air Force to go. He was in bad shape yesterday. But you know him. If he sets his mind to something, he will follow it through.” Sam exhaled out loud.

“I’ll go and see how he is doing. Maybe he would like to see a friend when he is waking up. He could be confused with all this attention around him which he doesn’t like at all.” With that Sam left the office and was well on the way to see her CO.

xxx

Sam sat next to the bed of her friend for a while now as he started to shift slightly. She watched him closely and decided then to press the call bell next to his bed. Janet would come shortly and could take care of him and explain all the questions he would have now in his head.

Janet arrived just in time to see how Jack opened his eyes for a second time. He looked a bit confused but smiled once he saw the blond woman next to his bed. She smiled at him. `What better way to wake up? ` he thought.

“Colonel. Come on now. You are doing great. That’s the way to go.” Sam cheered him with a smile.

“Sam…” came an exhausted voice from the bed.

“I am here Jack; you will be fine. How you are feeling?” Sam asked him, gently stroking his arm.

“Run over by train…” his voice started to trail off again. “Tired…”

“Colonel, you can sleep again later. I need to do some more tests. But I need you to be awake for that.” Janet joined in now.

“Hey, Doc. You go and poke me with those needles of yours?” Jack turned his attention now to the Doc who was standing on the other side of his bed.

“Nope, done that already. But we saw a hairline crack on the back of your skull. You have a very serious concussion. So, I must check your eyes and see how they are responding. It will get bright and I do apologize beforehand." With that, she took her penlight out and leaned in to check the pupils of her patient.

“The response is slightly slow but better than I was expecting it to be. Well done Sir. So, your job now is to get well. Get to the police and get these bastards caught for what they did to you. I will leave you alone now. Promise me, whenever you need anything ring the bell. Don’t play the hero. You’ve done that already often enough. Are we understood?” Janet’s voice was stern on the end to bring her message across to one stubborn Colonel.

“Yes, Ma`am.” He replied with a small smile. He hated it already in here but could not do anything about it. The only good thing that came out of this whole situation was, in his eyes, that Sam was here.

"Sir, I should let you sleep. I will come back later." With that, she was already on her feet. She looked at him and noticed how frail he looked.

"Don't go, Sam. Stay with me, please." His eyes pleading for her to stay.

“Ok, go to sleep. I will stay.” She sat down again and watched the man drifting off to sleep.

xxx

Sam had waited several minutes after her CO had fallen asleep and was now in her lab to get some of her own work done. She had notified Daniel and Teal`c about what was going on and both had promised to visit Jack and stay with him so, when he does wake up, he will not be alone. Sam knew how it worked with him. First, he was nearly dying and wanted not to be alone like a small child. Then he was feeling better and drove everybody around the bend just so he could go home.

Her concentration was way off today and her mind was more circling around Jack and the day in court yesterday. With a deep sign, the Major recognized that there was no way today to get anything done. In her mind she was playing the conversation back she had had with Janet earlier.

`Two broken ribs and a bad concussion. Otherwise, he is fine. It will take a few days, but he will recover soon. ` her friend had told her. Still, here she was, concentration out the window. Figuring out a way to help her CO. She knew already that he would not go to the police. Knowing Jack O`Neill he will go after the guys himself just to make sure they get what they deserve.

A knock on her door brought her back to reality. Daniel was standing in the doorway and watched her for a few seconds. “Penny for your thoughts, Sam” he started the conversation.

"Oh, hey Daniel. Well, I can't really tell you. It's all so muddled up - the whole scenario we have here on our hands. Jack did not say one word yesterday; he did not mention once that his head was killing him, and he felt dizzy. Yeah, sure, he said he hurts and was ever so happy when I agreed to drive his car, but he should have told me. I have not even paid attention to it. I had not seen how much pain he was in. Daniel, I am his 2IC. I should take care of him. Everybody knows how he is. I can`t believe it.” She turned her head away from her friend. Tears started to form in her eyes.

“Sam, you said it yourself- we know how Jack is and works. If he doesn’t want you to see it, he will not let you. He mastered that whole `hiding the feelings` thing a long time ago. Don’t beat yourself up over this. It is not worth it.” He stepped closer and stretched one arm out to her.

“Maybe you are right. But still. I should have known. I found him, he had blood from his head all over him. How stupid do I have to be to not even think that he had a concussion from the blow? He could not even sit up at first. That was clearly a sign of how dizzy and weak he already had been."

Sam's voice was racing now, and the words were just flying around Daniel’s head. He had no idea how to respond. So, he did the only thing he knew would help her.

“Come here” And with that, he embraced her in a long friendly hug and Sam finally lost control over herself and she sobbed uncontrollably.

xxx

Teal`c was sitting next to his warrior brother leaning against the wall. He had watched over him for a while and decided then to go and meditate. He would know the second his friend awakened and would be there for him.

The man in bed started to stir and in the same second, the big Jaffa was standing next to him. He waited patiently for O`Neill to wake up. In the meantime, he patted the forehead of his friend with a cold damp cloth.

Jack opened his eyes again and seemed already a bit clearer in his head. “Teal`c?” he looked at his big friend whom he trusted so much with his life.

“I`m here O`Neill.” Teal`c sat himself down and studied the face of his friend

“Water” Jack requested. A big strong hand reached to his bedside table and helped him to sip on a straw. “Thanks”

“Rest my friend. I will notify Doctor Frasier, Daniel Jackson, and Major Carter that you have been awake." With these words, he left a dozing Colonel alone.

Janet stepped into the Colonel’s room, followed by Sam, Daniel, and Teal`c. As if the Colonel could feel all the presence around him, he flipped his eyes open. Dark brown eyes narrowed themselves as he looked around the group.

"Hey, Jack.” Daniel smiled at his friend who was awake at last.

"Hey, Danny.” Jack’s voice sounded already a bit stronger than the hours before when he was awake.

Janet checked him over again and nodded satisfied. “You are recovering well. I knew it would do you good, Colonel, to sleep a while. You still don’t want those painkillers I offered you earlier?” Janet inquired.

“Nah, I am good, Doc. Thanks anyway” Jack replied thankfully.

“Sir is there anything we can do for you” Sam joined the conversation now.

“Yeah, you could actually.” He looked to Janet and grinned. “Speak to the Doc. So, I can get out of here!” his boyish smile widened even more as he saw the expression on the doctor’s face.

“Glad you are on a good way back to your normal self, Colonel. If you behave and do what my staff tells you, I may, and only may, let you go in a couple of days.” She smirked at him and with that left the room, not waiting for the complaints to follow.

SG1 spend a nice time chatting with each other. After an hour or so the Colonel got tired again, so his team left him for the night with the promise to come back the next morning to give him some company.

xxx

Courtroom

The Jury entered the room and took their seats. The judge looked around, demanded order and addressed his question directly at the first juror.

“Will the jury foreperson please stand?” he waited till the man was standing. “Has the jury reached a unanimous verdict?”

The man who was the first juror unfolded a piece of paper. "Yes, your honour. The jury finds the defendant guilty.”

"The jury is thanked and excused. The court is adjourned." The Judge made it final with the little wooden hammer.

All three defendants sat on the bench with open mouths. No one could believe what the jury just had said. The final decision of the sentence would be made by the Judge. The court got noisy as all the people started to talk at once. The district attorney got congratulations from various people around him and thanked them all with a big smile on his face.

Nobody noticed the two dark clothed men who just left the room.

xxx

The next morning came and Jack looked already so much better, he was awake early and just let his thoughts fly. Nobody was around yet whom he could annoy with his favourite question. He knew that in the next month it was Sam’s birthday. So, he was thinking about what to give her and he also was thinking about how to thank her for the last two days. He could have not done it without her.

Deep in his thoughts, he did not hear the night nurse come in and check his vitals. He nearly jumped out of his skin when she appeared in the corner of his eye.

“Sorry Colonel, I didn’t know that you have been awake. I just wanted to check if everything is as it should be before I give the handover to the morning shift.” She smiled at him and could have sworn that he blushed a slight bit.

“It’s ok, no harm done," Jack replied already hard at work to calm his breathing down.

“Any request what you would like for your breakfast?” the nurse asked in a friendly manner and noted the last details in his file.

"Some fruit loops and coffee please if this is ok." The Colonel answered friendlier, much to the surprise of the Nurse.

“I will see what I can do. But I can’t promise the coffee. That’s up to Doctor Frasier to decide.” She smiled at him one last time and left the room before his mood could change.

Jack did not reply to it at all. He was back thinking about Sam and how he could thank her. His thoughts were so far away that he did not hear Sam enter this time.

“Morning Sir. The night nurse told me that you are awake and in good spirits, so I decided to make a quick stop on the way to my lab." She sat next to it and glanced at her CO who was lying motionless in his bed.

"Earth to Colonel Jack O`Neill? Please come in!" she mocked him somewhat.

"Oh, hey Carter. Sorry, I didn't hear you come in. These doors should be a bit louder.” He stated and smiled at her. “Did you say something before the earth bit?”

“Not important Sir, not important. How are you this morning? You do look better.” She gave him her biggest morning smile. Jack knew that this smile always was reserved for him and he felt so much better already.

“I am fine. You should know that.” He smirked at her. “So, you are having breakfast with me then?”

Sam could see how eager he was for her to stay and share his breakfast with her. “Yes, I will get something and come back. When are you getting yours?”

“The nurse did ask me earlier. I hope soon. She said she must give a handover and needed to ask the doc if I can have coffee for breakfast. If you like, you can get yours and by the time you are back, mine will be here. Hopefully." With a boyish smile, he waved her out of his room.
Sam was standing outside for a bit and was shaking her head. This was not the Colonel she knew. As soon this man is feeling better he would want to get out of the infirmary and go home. Why was he on so cuddly a course this morning? She made her way to the canteen and got herself a tray full of stuff she liked to eat and got a chocolate muffin for her CO. If he is in such good spirits, then better keep it that way.

Back in Jack’s room, he had his breakfast standing in front of him. He did not touch it, only stared at it as if the cereal bowl had said something mean to him. He was waiting for the blond woman whom he adored so much. The only time he is getting away with murder is when he is sick and must spend time here in the infirmary. Why not make the best out of it?

The door opened and Sam came in with her tray. Both smiled at each other and after Sam had settled, she had the Colonel tucked in. Sam saw a small medication pot on the Colonel's tray with a black liquid. Pointing with her finger toward it, Jack explained that the old doc told him he could not have any coffee. But for him being so nice, friendly and in a good mood she was making a compromise. So, he got a small pot of coffee. Grinning from ear to ear, Jack enjoyed his breakfast very much…

xxx

Meanwhile In court

The whole court was standing as the judge entered this morning. He looked grim and it was telling from his body language he would rather be somewhere else. The command for everybody to be seated came after the judge sat in his chair, high on his pedestal. he opened the final day in court with the following statement

“According to Section 8(1) Theft Act 1968 provides: ‘A person is guilty of robbery if he steals, and immediately before or at the time of doing so, and in order to do so, he uses force on any person or puts or seeks to put any person in fear of being then and there subjected to force.’ The defendant entered a plea of not guilty before this court, to the first-degree robbery as well as to kidnapping. On that same date, the defendant waived his right to a penalty phase jury and the court allowed the penalty.

The parties presented matters in aggravation and mitigation during the penalty phase hearing. Victim impact statements were presented, and the court has considered them in arriving at the sentence to be imposed. The defendant was given an opportunity to be heard regarding the sentences to be imposed and he made a statement. The parties stipulated to submit final arguments and sentencing memoranda and the court and jury have to listen to them and considered them. The court now finds as follows:

The accused who all have been unemployed and who supported each other, robbed a bank with loaded firearms, to flee the place, which was surrounded by police, and these men took hostages. They forced their way out with a demanded automobile. The money that was taken counted for a total of three million dollars. Two hostages had been released immediately, one later and one was held for fun. Even if it was not the three men itself who tormented the victim, none of them did anything about it. Just as they had been spotted and a S.W.A.T. Team neutralized the situation, the victim was saved. Based on the testimony presented and the other evidence in the case, the court concludes as follows: The capital felony was a planned crime and was committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner without any pretence of moral or legal justification.

The facts that tend to establish this aggravating factor are: (1) the defendant’s admitting that the whole act was planned out to the last detail, (2) the defendants arrived with one loaded firearm each in a black bag along with ammunition and took them with them to the bank to cause the maximum of harm and anxiousness, (3) the passage of time between the date of the robbery and the liberation of the victim (4) the coup de grace. Going to the bank and robbing it, taking hostages and repeatedly letting one be tortured by one of the friends. The court finds this aggravating circumstance to have been established beyond a reasonable doubt.

The court is convinced that the defendants were sufficiently in control of their faculties to plan and carry out the robbery and the kidnapping with the following tormenting of one victim. Accordingly, this aggravating circumstance is given great weight. The defendants have no significant history of prior criminal activity. Therefore, the court will sentence all three men to six years of jail time. Starting as from today.”

The hammer swung and the judge retrieved himself to his chambers. The Villains stood at the bench in shock. Cheering among the visitors in the courtroom grew louder and louder. Three Deputies of the court put handcuffs on the now official prisoners and took them away.

xxx

Sam sat in her laboratory and worked on one of these doohickeys which were brought back from a mission SG 7 went on. She had a great time with the Colonel and enjoyed the breakfast as much as possible in an infirmary room. She left her CO as he became tired again and drifted off to sleep.
She knew that today the trial was on the last day and she would send an email later to find out what the outcome was.

Sam already had a plan on how she would help Jack to overcome his demons. He never spoke about it, but she had watched him a few times sleeping very restlessly and tossing and turning in his bed. Carter assumed it was the experience in the cave that would not let him go and she was of a mind to help him. Nobody should suffer after such trauma. He had suffered already far too much in his life. Sam had a flashback to the time she had met him in the locker room and had seen him going through some photos, not knowing even that it wasn't him. Daniel had told her of Jack’s tragic life and what had happened to his son Charlie.

Sam just realized that they never really had talked about it. Sometimes it felt to her that she knew him for a lifetime, and on other days he would not be letting her near him, and she felt like they are both total strangers.

She sighed and continued her work. Deeply concentrating she had not realized that Teal’c had come to the doorway. “Major Carter”. He announced himself. Sam nearly jumped out of her skin.

“Oh, hey Teal`c.” she smiled at him now. “How can I help you?”

“It is not me who you can help. It is O`Neill who is in desperate need of it.” His face not even making one flinch he realized the sudden change in the Major’s body language.

“What is it? What is wrong with him?” Sam was surprised and anxious. Hours earlier he seemed fine. What was it what Teal’c is meaning?

"He seems to be very restless when he is dreaming. His skin is looking wet and it seems to me that he needs someone he can trust and talk to. I believe that you are the right person to do so Major Carter. O`Neill will only open up to a friend he is completely trusting." Teal`c bowed his head slightly and left a stunned Major standing behind.

`Hmmm, that was a bit odd. But that means I am not the only person who thinks the Colonel needs help.' She turned around to work a bit more on her device. But her concentration seemed to be off by now. After deciding to go and get a cup of coffee, she got up. Walking to the commissary meant she would pass by the infirmary. After stopping by and seeing the Colonel was awake, she decided to spend some time with him.
He was happy to see her.

"Hey, Carter. How is it going?" he smiled and pointed at a chair next to his bed.

“Everything is fine, I was just on the way to get coffee. Do you want anything? Any news on when you can get out of here?” she sat down.

"Janet has said if I behave my self and be a good boy, I can go tomorrow. I must take it easy for a while. According to her, I should stay a bit longer, but I promised her I will follow doctors' orders at home." He grinned wildly.

"That's good news. I also have good news for you, Sir." Sam took a dramatic pause and shifted her weight a bit in her chair. After she saw the blank look on her CO’s face she smirked.

"I sent an e-mail this morning to the court. Today was the last day of the trial and I was wondering what the outcome was. So just before I came here, I received a mail-back where it was stated that all three men have been sent to jail for six years each." She looked at him and could tell how his brain processed the information.

"That is good news, Carter." Jack sat himself up a bit more and both officers talked a little while till Sam decided that she needed to go. There was still lots of work to be done.

xxx

The next morning came and Jack was eager to leave the infirmary. He was extra nice to all the medical staff just to not push his luck. His sarcastic mind had lots of comments in store when he had been asked questions. In his eyes, these were stupid questions, but he wanted to go home so he bit his tongue.

Sam had promised him last night when she had visited him again before going home, that she would come this morning and pick him up. He still had a dizzy feeling when he moved too fast, but Janet had told him that he could go so long as he didn’t do anything at home and would take it easy.

Speaking of the donkey, right at this minute Sam stuck her head around the corner to see if Jack was ready to go. He was just on the last button of his top when both of them looked at each other. It seemed like the time stood still and neither of them wanted to break that moment. He was the first one to snap out of this trance-like feeling.

“Morning Carter. Nice to see you.” He beamed like a little kid.

“Ditto. You all packed Sir?” She was looking around and could not see anything that looked like a bag with personal belongings.

“Yeah, ready to go. I had an Airmen bring my toothbrush and all the other stuff to my quarters here. I will see to that on another day.” Jack waved with his arms and flapped them around jokingly.

“Ok, let's go. I just let Janet know not that she would arrange a search party in your name.” she grinned and left him alone to get finished up with whatever he was doing with the things on his night table.
Jack waited outside the infirmary till his 2IC came and they both left the base. The General had been informed, and all was sorted out. The world was looking great today.

xxx

Carefully she parked Jack’s truck in front of his house and stepped outside. Inhaling the fresh air, she looked around. Jack had insisted that he didn’t need any help to get out so she waited patiently till he came to unlock the front door.

"Ah, home sweet home." Jack stepped in and the memories of the morning a few days ago came rushing back like a thunderstorm in his head. Sam could see that something wasn't right. But she knew not to pressure him as he just would completely shut himself off. Jack took a deep breath and after a second he stepped in and smiled, hoping that Carter would not have noticed his hesitation.

"Coffee?" he shouted from the kitchen already starting the machine. He took two cups out of the cupboard as the reply came.

"Sir, if I may ask, what you plan for today then?" She stepped into the kitchen and leaned casually on the counter watching him and every move he made.

"Uhm, nothing planned. Why do you ask?" Jack gave her the cup and sat on a chair opposite her.

“Pure nosiness.” She grinned right at him. “I have a day off today. If you like we can go for a walk. Fresh air would do you good after the long stay in the infirmary.”

"Sure, I don't see the harm in that, but no holding hands." He smirked at her and emptied his cup at once.

xxx

The days had gone by and Jack was already bored out of his skull. He watched Hockey games, documentaries, the Simpson's and listened to his favourite opera music. His nights were still troubled and more than once he woke up in the middle of the night fighting his blanket off just to realize he was safe. In his own home, even after what had happened here, he felt safe.

Carter had promised that she would take him on a road trip today and for that, she told him he must be ready to go at 0800. He was already up and running by 0600. She would not tell him where they were heading even if she had been threatened with her life. Sam had it all planned out and was sure that this trip would help her CO and friend.

Exactly 0800, she rang his doorbell. He had a smile on his face when he opened and saw her standing there. No uniform, plain and casual. "Ready to go, Sir?" Sam asked him.

"Since 0630 this morning Carter." He grabbed his jacket and locked the door behind. "So, you want to tell me now where we are going?" He was sitting next to her and adjusted a bit in her car. He still could feel his ribs from time to time, but it was much better now than a few days ago.

"Still a surprise, Sir," she replied with eyes focusing on the street in front of her.

"Carter, can you stop calling me Sir for today, please? We are not at work. Call me Jack, please." She did not look at him, but his voice had a mix of playfulness, annoyance, and a plea.

“Ok, Jack, today only.” She smiled, and silence washed over them.

After a couple of hours, the small car reached its destination. Sam opened the door and told Jack to do the same and to get out. He recognized the landscape straight away and was not sure about his feelings. Hell, he was not sure of anything right now. Why did she bring him here? What does she want to do? Jack glared at her over the car. She ignored him as best as she could. The reaction of her CO was as expected as it would be.

“Come on now Jack.” She waved him over. In very hesitating steps he followed her suit.

"Carter, what are you doing?" he asked her in a low growling voice. When he got up this morning, he was expecting a nice day. But not that she would take him back here. He was working on forgetting everything and she just opened his wounds.

"Jack, I know what you will do. As soon you are up to it you will go after these black-dressed guys. But in order to so, you need to be at your best. I am here to help you. I am standing right here to help you to face your demons, to put an end to your nightmares, and to get on with it. Please, Jack, let me help you." She watched him as the words she just expressed to him sunk into Jack’s mind.

"How you know about my nightmares Carter?" His voice was more of a whisper now. He looked down at his feet and was not sure how to work it all out. He knew he had never mentioned to anyone what he lived through in his dreams.

"Jack, I am your friend. We have been working together for such a long time. It is not the first time you’ve been through stuff like this. But it is the first time I know how I can help you if you let me." She straightened her right arm and held her hand out for him to reach. He took it slowly and walked with her to the opening of the cave.

Jack hesitated to enter. Every cell in his body screamed in agony by the reminder of what had happened here not so long ago. He took a deep breath, let go of Sam's hand and stepped in it. A cold draft touched his face. His body started to shake; he was so not ready to go there where she wanted him to go. Inside he knew it was the best thing to do. End it all, right there.

Taking small steps further into the cave, he turned around to see Sam standing very close behind him. Reassuringly she smiled at him, never giving him the feeling to hurry up. This was a thing he had to do but she knew it was important for him that she was there. Her silent comforting presence was to calm his troubled mind.

Deeper into the cave he reached the small gap with the tunnel leading to the other cave chamber. He stood in front of it for the longest of times. Jack knew what would await him on the other side. It cost all of his strength to make the next move.

After he entered the second compartment and stepped a bit further in, he could hear Sam breathing behind him. The whole time she had not said a word. She waited for him to make the first move.

Sam could see how the body of her friend become shakier. Within a few seconds, she was standing next to him and softly let her hand touch his shoulder. He calmed down a bit. He was not looking at her but she knew he was silently crying.

His face was locked at the small lake in front and the chains he had been attached to. He stepped a bit closer and dropped to the floor. His feelings were no longer buried inside him and just had found a valve to escape. The tears were now rolling in streams down his face. Sam sat next to him and laid her arm around his shoulders. That was what she was hoping for: that the whole bottled up mess he was carrying would come out so that when he would leave today it would be just a bad memory he could live with.

Sam did not know how much time had passed until the Colonel eased a bit. She looked at him and the moment she shifted a bit he curled up to her. He was so keen on the feeling that she was there, comforting him and never letting go. Another few minutes had passed, and the tears had stopped. Jack sniffled a bit, stood up and straightened himself. He held his hand out for Carter to help her stand up. "Thank you, Carter. Thank you for everything." He turned around, leaving the cave for a second time. Leaving his demons right there where they belong. Leaving a time behind that he never would miss.

On the way home, neither one of them had spoken a word. A comfortable silence hung over the car. Jack looked out the window and saw the trees passing by. He was feeling so relieved right now as if someone lifted an extremely heavy stone off of him.

He knew what he would do, and he already had started to make some mental notes in his head for this. Soon he would have the clearance of Janet he would put some leave-in and would hunt those bastards down. Jack knew that Sam knew what he would do and that she would be worried about him. But he could not rest and completely find closure so long they were out there.

Sam parked her car in front of Jack’s house. Killing the engine, she sat there and glanced over to him. He looked at her, cleared his throat and asked her if she would mind coming in. “I should go home. It was an eventful day and you should get some rest now.” She replied but wasn’t sure if it was what both wanted.

“Oh, come on Carter. You deserve a nice cooldown time too. I got Ice-cream.” He stated and beamed at the same time hoping that she would change her mind.

“OK, Jack. I never say no to ice-cream. You got me there.” She answered him with a cheeky smile.

xxx

“There you go. A special bowl of ice-cream for a special woman.” He gave her a large bowl with her favourite flavour, whipped cream and sprinkles on top to round it all off.

“Thank you.” Carter took the reward for all she had done for him and dug into it with satisfying pleasure.

The rest of the afternoon went by with more relaxed talking. The cave and all the things came with it were not mentioned at all. That night Colonel Jack O`Neill had a good night sleep like he had not done in a long time.


TBC

one more part is to come. if you like to find out what is still to come and how it ends then stay tuned. Comments are welcome as usual :)
"Dogs are my favorite people !!!"
"I've got to have fun or it's not worth it."
RDA

Monika
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Re: The Cave

Post by Monika » Sun Jun 14, 2020 6:38 pm

Hello Jacky,
Many thanks for the great continuation, so full of emotions, it makes you want more.

From Monika with love
"As long as I always think of you and wish me somethings which I think is unattainable, there is no reason to be hurt by others."

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Jack(s)
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Re: The Cave

Post by Jack(s) » Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:12 pm

thanks Monika, I tried to take my readers on a rollercoaster of emotions. I am happy that you like that section.

Jacky
"Dogs are my favorite people !!!"
"I've got to have fun or it's not worth it."
RDA

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bftlovesRDA
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Re: The Cave

Post by bftlovesRDA » Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:39 am

Wow - was on the edge of my seat. The whole chapter(s) are soooo detailed and well written. Made me feel as if I was right there in the story with them.

Thanks, Jack(s)...........can't wait for the next (last) part of The Cave.
B

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