Hi!

No, I'm not dead!

Here is a new chapter,and again I want to remind you that this story is rated M.

Thanks to gatehead, my beta!

My style has changed a lot in two years, so sorry if you don't like it anymore.


Jack was wide awake. The strange clock on his left was spreading a red light in the dark room: 05:21. He exhaled noisily. He turned his head to the right and looked at the sleeping little girl. Slowly, he pushed his hand toward hers until he could reach her fingers. He gently grabbed them, and his heartbeat accelerated when he heard her whisper something unintelligible. Luckily she didn't wake up but tightened her hold. He sighed, smiling at the ceiling.

Life was good.

Jonathon J. O'Neill was a simple man (he is no more than ten, after all). And so far, his whole existence has been pretty simple too. He would wake up every day at dawn, eat, help his mom with the farm chores, go to school, play with his friends and sleep...So aliens were real? He was in the future? Well, okay, he could live with that. He really missed his mom thought, and hoped she was fine and not worrying too much, and he really, really missed his cow Carla too. But Daniel said everything will be alright again, they just had to be patient. He believed him. He trusted him. People were nice here, and food was good. So in truth, he didn't have anything to complain about. And there was Sam. He liked her, a helluva lot.

He didn't have that much experience with women (he was only ten, after all…). But Grandpa Bert told him a lot about women, before he went to heaven. "Women, son," he told him on a hot summer day. They would often sit together, on the old bench on the front porch, and talk about stuff. "Women are the reason why life is worth living. And the woman, and I'm talking about the one that set your body on fire, if you know what I mean. Well, treat her like the goddess that she is. And if you are lucky enough to earn her love, son, and share her bed, oh lord! To hold her at night, to kiss her delicious lips, to caress her skin, to make sweet, gentle…"

Then his mom interrupted him, but he got it: a woman's love was heaven on earth.

He looked again at her. He thought that he must have done something right because he was already sharing her bed. And he didn't know about a fire, but he was really feeling warm inside, being here, with her.

Oh yeah, life was really good.

It was six am when he heard someone coming in.

"Good morning Jack," Daniel whispered.

"Morning!" the boy replied.

"It's time to get up and start a new day!" He came closer; on Sam's side. "Come on honey, wakey wakey!"

"Daddy?" she mumbled.

"Sorry it's just me."

She stared at him, her face lacking any emotion. And for a minute Daniel thought that she might cry, but before he could say anything, she turned to Jack.

"Good morning Jack!" she said in a cheerful voice. She threw the cover away with one hand as the other was still held by the boy. She frowned at it, but then kissed Jack on the cheek and dragged the blushing boy out of the bed.

"Let's get you both dressed, and then we can go take our breakfast," the smiling young man announced. His friends were just too cute.

"I need to take a bath first." Sam objected.

"Me too."

He frowned at them both. "Of course you do. All right then," he sighed. "Grab your things and we'll fetch Teal'c on the way."

While Daniel was with Jack in the men's locker room, the Jaffa was in the women's one, watching the young Samantha Carter. She was silent, methodically laying her belongings out on the bench. Obsessively, he remarked, as she took a long time setting her bow, perfectly parallel to the bench borders. He wondered at the change in behavior compared to the day before. But he didn't say anything, just patiently waited for her to complete her task. Once this was done, she started removing her clothes, neatly folding them. He turned around, giving her her privacy. She wasn't paying attention to him at all, doing everything on her own. She washed herself, carefully cleaning every inch of her body.

Sam was now facing a mirror in her emerald dress and yellow cardigan. She made a high ponytail, and then added the bright green bow around the hair band. As she did so, her eyes caught something of interest reflected in the room. She walked to one of the lockers. Her locker. She climbed on the bench and gently caressed her name. "Major Samantha M. Carter." She whispered to herself. She sat down. Teal'c came over and did the same. They stayed like that for a while, in silence.

"Is something bothering you Samantha Carter?"

She met his eyes. He wasn't positive she was going to confide in him, until he heard her quite voice breaking the heaviness surrounding them.

"There are just so many things inside my head, sometimes I'm just so tired and I want to disappear."

She was hurting, of that he was sure. And it was deep. That look, he had seen that one on rare occasions through the years he had worked with her. And as her eyes stared within his soul, he realized that there was nothing he could do to make the emotional pain go away.

The door opened and two female Lieutenants walked in. As they saw the alien and the girl, they stopped in their tracks.

"Let's just go get breakfast Teal'c."

When they entered the commissary, Daniel and Jack were almost done.

"Finally!" the archaeologist spoke. "What took you so long?"

"We were getting worried, weren't we Daniel?"

"Sure we were," he replied, a knowing smile on his lips.

They sat down and started eating. Jack was talking non-stop, doing most of the conversation on his own.

"You're not very talkative this morning Sam, is everything okay?" Daniel asked softly.

The little boy turned his head to his friend. "You're not hungry?"

Teal'c silently warned his friend to just drop the subject, but as always the young man did not know when to stop.

"You know it's not very nice to ignore me Sam." Daniel chastised a little.

She didn't even acknowledge him. She just kept on organizing the food in her tray the way she wanted it.

"Can you at least look at me when I am talking to you? If you have a problem you can talk to us! We are here to help you, Sam, you can…"

Hours later, he would still be berating himself and wished he had just let it go.

Before anyone could react, the small girl started screaming and shouting as she made a mess of everything that was on the table.

"Stop talking, stop talking, stop talking," she chanted repeatedly, her hands over her hears. Daniel tried to calm her down, but as he grabbed her shoulders she just shrugged. She ran out of the room. When he finally caught up with her, she was leaning against a wall, out of breath. He tried once again to put his hand in a soothing gesture, but she jerked away from it.

"Leave me alone. Don't touch me. Just leave me alone, please." She wasn't screaming anymore, but heartbreaking sobs shook her little body.

"Please leave me alone, you can't help, just leave me alone." She was now kneeling on the floor her head covered by her hands and resting on her thighs. Her muffled pleading was the only sound that could be heard. Some people were staring from both ends of the corridor. No one knew what to do. Jack was holding Teal'c's leg, both watching silently.

Daniel couldn't let his best friend stay that way and tried one more time to calm her. He bent down beside her, but did not dare touch her.

"Please Sam, tell me what's wrong. We are your friends and we will do everything we can to help you. Everyone here would do anything to make you stop hurting. Please stop crying."

"You can't help!" She turned to face him, her azure eyes brighter than he had ever seen. "No one can do anything for me. You can't go inside my head and remove everything from there, can you? Nobody can, I'm all alone."

"What are you talking about honey? Do you want me to get Janet?"

"No." She was still sobbing and her breath was cut by hiccups. "They all say that it's a gift. They don't know what it's like to have all of this things running around inside and it won't stop until I'm finished thinking and understanding everything."

Daniel was at a loss of words, beginning to see where this was going.

"And then I can't deal with this world, full or improbabilities and emotions and imperfections, and I want to stay inside the perfect and rational and safe world. And I'm tired of having to switch to one then the other."

For a second Daniel thought that maybe there were complications, and the little girl's brain wasn't made to have her older self knowledge.

"And the situation I'm in right now, it's really not helping. It's just opening new doors and possibilities and throwing my safe place into a state of constant chaos. This is time traveling! Do you realize what knowing that it is a reality and not just mere speculations and ideologies is doing to me?"

But no he realized, it was no complication or an error. It was just who she was, way too smart for her own good.

"And then how can I be sure that me knowing is not going to change my future, this present! Will I remember everything when I get back to my present? And if I change things will it destroy this universe as you know it, or will it create an alternate one. And how do I know if I'm changing anything or not? And, and, and…just make it go away please, just make everything go away."

She just sat there, begging for someone to end her sorrow, again and again. But she was right, no one could even beginning to comprehend how she was feeling.

The young boy didn't understand either, but he knew one thing. His best friend was hurting a lot. He walked slowly to her and she stared at him, startled by the movement. Kneeling in front of Sam he put both his arms around her and whispered softly "I can't switch off your brain, but I promise that when you think too much for too long, I'll be there to play with you and bring you food and make you happy."

It wasn't much, but it meant the world to the frightened, innocent little girl lost somewhere inside.

.

"Unscheduled off world activation."

"It's the Tok'ra, Sir."

Jacob stepped in the gate room. "Hi George, I was told that you needed our help. Things are slow so I was able to come as soon as I got your message."

"Glad to see you Jacob, Selmac. Come in my office, and I'll explain our little problem."

The retired General stared at his old friend. "And not a clue on how to reverse it?"

"Doctor Jackson is working on it, but so far, we have no idea what to do."

"Selmac will take a look at the markings."

Hammond nodded. "Let me call and tell him you are here. Jack and Samantha are with him, I think it's better to warn her that you have arrived."

The children were both in Daniel's office. Jack was sitting cross-legged against the wall. Papers and crayons were laying before him, but the discarded drawings had lost the interest of the little boy. All his attention was on his blonde friend. Her head was resting on his thighs, and as she stared blankly into nothingness, he gently combed her hair with his fingers.

She has been like that for nearly one and a half hours now. After the scene in the hallway, Daniel brought them into his office, far away from the curious stares of others. Teal'c was Kel'no'reeming in a corner. Janet came by, but she couldn't really do anything. Hammond joined them and they talk about bringing her to McKenzie, but he was no child psychologist. They were powerless. They had absolutely no clue as to what they could do. Apart from her intellect, the little girl and the Major share nothing in common. They guessed that whatever her problems were, she would find the solution as she grew up. So if they wanted to help her, they had to find a way to reverse the proceedings.

The phone rang and Daniel quickly but absentmindedly answered it. Jacob was on his way.

He looked up from his works to look at the kids. "Sam, your dad is coming." But she didn't acknowledge him.

Jack tried too. He bent forward to be able to look into her eyes. "Come one Sam, it's time you were back with us," he gently caressed her cheek. She turned her head toward him and he brightly smiled at her. "Your dad is here!"

"Really?" she whispered back, her excitement hardly contained. Once again the Doctor was concerned at the rapid change of behavior. Hopefully, Jacob will be able to answered their questions and tell them how to deal with his little girl.

She quickly stood up, stammering for a second as her whole body wasn't as eager as her mind. She grabbed Jack and unceremoniously hauled him up. "Hurry!"

And with that they were gone.

.

Jacob heard them before he saw them. Stealth wasn't a word to describe his daughter, yet. He wasn't prepared for the feelings that came with the sight of his little girl. She looked like a princess, and he was ashamed he almost forgotten that a long time ago, she has once been a very girly young lady. They were running in his and George's direction, but as soon as they saw them, the delighted children slowed down before coming to a halt. The older men made the last few steps to reach them. Her piercing blue eyes were observing him. He didn't really know what to do. Twenty five years ago, she would have jumped into his arms. He is not the same man as he was, both physically and mentally, and he didn't know how she would react. He crouched down to her and she hesitantly touched his bald head and let her fingers wander over his face.

"Hey kiddo…"

"Why are you wearing a skirt?" she asked.

His laugh was genuine. "The mission I was on required it."

He hugged her and she hugged him back.

"And who is this young man?" he asked looking over her shoulder.

"It's Jack. My best friend," she answered proudly. It was her first friend she had made that was around her own age.

"Hi Mister Carter," he shyly greeted.

He smiled at the adorable kid. "Call me Jacob, son. So I heard you have been taking good care of my daughter." He made the young boy blush.

"Daddy! I can take care of myself just fine!"

"I know you can honey." He took her up into his arms and started walking to their previous destination. Then Jacob almost lost it when he saw Jack reached for his CO's hand, it was just so unexpected that it was funny.

.

The morning went quickly after that. Teal'c watched over the kids, (after Sam finished telling her dad about absolutely everything she did the past two days.) while Daniel and Selmac worked. By noon Hammond called for a debriefing. A couple of airmen volunteered to keep an eye on Sam and Jack.

"So, I hope you have good news."

"Well," Daniel started, pushing up his glasses. "I'm afraid with have nothing to tell you Sir."

The General turned to the friendly Tok'ra. "I'm sorry General Hammond, I have no idea which language we are dealing with."

There was a heavy silence.

"Maybe it will just go back to normal on its own?" Daniel hypothesized.

"Let's hope so, but I will try to contact the Asgard. I guess that there is nothing else we can do for now. How long are you here for Jacob?"

"Until the end of the day. I need to ask the others if they recognize the writing. I don't have a lot of expectations, but you never know."

Hammond nodded.

"Teal'c, do you mind being in charge of the Colonel and Major Carter for the week?"

"I do not mind General Hammond."

"By then, if nothing has changed, we will have to discuss permanent settings for the both of them."

They all prayed it wouldn't come to that.

Just before Hammond called the briefing to a close, Daniel spoke up. "One last thing Jacob. Sam seems a little…I don't really how to explain it. One minute she is a happy and carefree little girl, the next, she's shutting everyone out. Has she always been like this?"

He frowned at the young archeologist.

"To tell you the truth, I hardly remembered until today that she used to be that talkative and exuberant. So for me, shutting everyone out and staying in her own world is not unfamiliar. I wasn't home often when she was that young."

"What happened to make her change so drastically?" A worried General asked.

"I don't really know," he breathed. "One day when I came back from a mission, gone were the dresses, the fake make-up and cheerful attitude. I didn't know what made the change and neither did her mother. We didn't push her. You know she has never been your average kid. She was very mature and didn't fit in."

"She is okay now? I mean, she doesn't wear dresses every day, but Sam is a happy and confident woman."

"I think she started getting better when she graduated from high school. I'm ashamed to say that after Catherine's death, I wasn't as present as I should have been. She made some friends in college…"

"Wait. You mean she went to college before she joined the academy?" Daniel was surprised that Sam never told him that.

"She graduated early."

"So what should we do to prevent young Samantha Carter from reliving the pain she has experienced previously?"

"The only person that could help was her mom," Jacob said sullenly. "She was the one dealing with her. But she didn't want to talk about what was going on, even to me. It was hard on her."

It had been hard on both of them. They had seen a lot of doctors and psychologists since she was barely two. They all blame her high IQ for her lack of social skills. But as parents, they took it as a failure. Not for the first time, Jacob Carter wished he could start over and be more present for his wife and his family. Then for a fraction of a second, he selfishly desired his little girl to stay that way so he could have a second chance with her.

Suddenly a memory flashed before his eyes. 'Thanks Sel,' he thought to his symbiote.

"Writing!" he said out of the blue, startling everyone. "I remember Catherine telling me that Sam took up writing the day she got…worse. She would write all the time."

"What did she write?"

"Nobody was allowed to read it. We wanted to respect her privacy." he shrugged.

"So, we just give her a notebook and a pen and that's it?" Daniel asked.

"Can't make things worse."

That was true.

The briefing now finished, Hammond left for the sanctuary of his own office while the others went to fetch the kids. As they made their way to the elevator, Jacod wondered, "And what about Jack? How is he taking things?"

"Surprisingly well! He's such a sweet boy. He wears his heart on his sleeve," Daniel smiled.

"No change there," Jacob retorted. He knew that once you got to know the man you learned that he was not as cold as he first seemed, on the contrary in fact.

"Indeed. The only change I see in O'Neill is his capacity at hiding his true emotions, which his younger self is clearly lacking." Teal'c added.

"I was just thinking of something," the archeologist began, "we should learn more about what they remember just before they woke up in the temple. There're must be a reason why they shrank back to those ages specifically."

.

After a late lunch, Teal'c went to the gym while the others decided to take a break in the recess room. Jack has been fascinated with all the computers and TVs ever since he saw one for the first time. Jacob and Daniel were on the couch, the kids sprawled on the floor and all four were watching cartoons.

"So Jack, can you tell me more about what happened just before you woke up the other day?"

The boy was half listening to the former General. "I was sleeping."

"Tell us more about the whole day."

"Why?" He averted his eyes from the screen to the two men.

"It might help us to understand what happened. What day was it?"

"It was Friday! Three days after my tenth birthday!" he proudly answered.

"Happy belated birthday!" Samantha all but screamed, "What did you get?"

"I got new shoes, a new bell for Carla and an awesome chocolate cake!"

"So, what did you do on that Friday?" Daniel asked before he lost the kids to their new interest.

"Well, mommy woke me up, we took our breakfast. After that I fed the animals then I went to school, then to Martha's. I came back home, I did my house works, I played with Carla, we ate and then I went to bed."

"Who is Martha?"

"My neighbor, she gives me pie if I help her with her garden. She's really nice, but really old."

"Where was your dad?"

Jack frowned. "He sleeps late and comes home late. Mom says he drinks too much." The two men shared a knowing look.

"Nothing out of the ordinary happened that day?"

"No," he answered too fast.

"Are you sure?" He didn't say anything this time. "Jack, tell us what happened."

The young boy's eyes shot from his hands to Jacob's gaze. "I swear it was an accident!" he pleaded. "I was cleaning the dishes, and there was water on the floor and I slipped! I didn't mean to, I swear! He's going to be so mad when he find out! I would have never broken the plate on purpose!" His eyes were filling up with unshed tears.

Jacob embraced the boy as he sobbed soundlessly. "It's all right son, it was not your fault."

The distress he was feeling over the broken plate told the older man a lot about the relationship between Jack and his alcoholic father.

Sam looked worriedly from her friend to the adults in the room. "What's going on daddy? It's just a plate, it's fine, he won't get grounded." Jacob looked at his daughter, eyes wide open with naïve incomprehension and grief. How could he tell is daughter that it was not okay and that what Jack was going to receive was far worse than a gentle reprimand.

.

Daniel left them to see the General, and only returned much later with Teal'c. While eating, a heavy silence surrounded the group. Jacob sent a silent question at the two comrades, both were looking too morose for his liking. 'Later,' Daniel mouthed.

"Do you want to hear about the day before I came here daddy?" Sam asked, clearly not picking on the tension. "I woke up at five am, I stayed in bed thinking until 6.30." Daniel managed half a smile at that. In her case 'thinking' meant 'ignore the rest of the world'.

"I took a bath and got dressed. I choose the white one with blue butterflies because it was really sunny outside. I ate my breakfast, and then I tidied my bedroom and sorted out my clothes until noon. Mom made Mac'n cheese and an apple pie. It was delicious. I thought until three pm then I got into a fight with Mark. I helped Mom cleanup and prepare the house for the party,"

"A party?" her Dad interrupted, "what party?"

"New year's party, all the neighbors were invited! So I got ready for the party. I put on my most beautiful dress on, the light pink on with the bow in the back. Mom did my hair and she let me put on some lipstick. It was a really good party, Mom was laughing all the time and everybody was happy. But I got tired and I went to bed before the countdown," she added dejectedly. "And I woke up on another planet."

"Are you positive nothing major occurred Samantha Carter?"

She shook her head no.

"Come on kids, it's time you get ready to go to bed," Jacob announced. He didn't know why, but he had a really bad feeling about all of this.

Forty-five minutes later, teeth were brushed, faces were washed and they were back in their assigned quarters.

"Sam what are you doing?" Jacob suspiciously asked his daughter.

"I'm sleeping with Jack," she replied, as if it was the most natural thing to do. Somehow, Jacob has always known he would hear those words. But this was in much better circumstances that he had hoped.

"You've got your own bed."

"I sleep better with Jack."

He looked at Daniel. "I gave up too."

"All right, but don't get used to it."

Daniel and Teal'c hugged them goodnight and gave Jacob some privacy to say goodbye to his daughter.

"Kids, how are you taking things, really? It's not every day that you travel to the future."

Jack took some time to think about it.

"It's okay, I guess. I try not to think about it too much. I miss my mom, but it's kind of super cool here. It's strange to know what I will do later. I'm a Colonel in the air force! With awesome friends! I wanted to be a teacher, but this is pretty good too!"

The Tok'ra smiled at his enthusiasm.

"And you Sammy?"

"Well, I miss mom. I have never been away from her that long before. I don't really miss Marc so far thought," she frowned, "or maybe just a little. Also, time traveling is a wonderful experience, and I suppose that I should just enjoy it. But…that's not where I wanted to be when I grow up," she whispered looking at her hands. "I'm not complaining, everyone is nice, and traveling to other planets is unbelievable, but I just wonder…what happened."

Little did she know that her father was wondering the exact same thing. And he didn't have any good answer to give her.

"I don't know sweetheart. People change when they grow up. Just… don't think about it too much okay? I know you can't help it but…"

"Jack is helping me with that," she interrupted not so nicely.

"Oh…"

Selmac quelled Jacob's rise of emotion. He was jealous of a ten years old boy. But he acknowledged that it was his own fault that she turned to someone else to be there for her and he was glad that it was Jack.

Nobody talked for a minute.

"I have to go back on my mission," he finally declared.

She didn't say anything, but the look of disappointed on her face was worse than words.

He kissed his daughter on the forehead. "All right then," he leaned over Jack and kissed him too. "Take care of my girl for me Jack."

"Yes sir!" he answered devotedly.

"Have a good night kids, I'll try to be back as soon as I can."

Outside, Daniel and Teal'c were waiting for him.

"So, what's up with the grim faces, you are starting to scare me."

"Let's go talk somewhere in private."

"After what happened is the recess room, I decided to dig a little in Jack's past," Daniel professed after shutting the door of his quarters. He was feeling bad for prying into his friend's life, but they needed to find a solution. "And what I found, it's, god… it's really not pretty."

.

"I can't sleep Jack."

"I can't sleep either."

Sam took something from the nightstand and turned on a flashlight. She threw the cover over their heads and propped up a plastic sword to keep it from falling on their bodies. Jack was on his back, staring straight in front of him.

"Your father is really nice," he said not moving or looking at her.

"Yeah, he's a good dad. I just wish he was at home more." She was on her side, staring at him. Even if she wasn't really good at noticing people's state of mind, she knew that her friend wasn't feeling well. "You don't like your dad." It was more of an affirmation than a question.

"No," he simply replied.

"Why?"

He moved so he could face her. "He's mean to us." He took a shaky breath. Sam put her hand on one of his. "He shouts and screams all the time, and he beats mommy. And sometimes he hits me too."

"People are not allowed to hurt children. You have to tell the police, they will arrest him."

"Mom says that when we get enough money, we will leave."

"You can borrow my Dad if you want. I don't mind." She smiled at him.

"We can do that?"

"I guess," she shrugged. "It's like adopting a pet. It becomes part of the family after."

"Like Carla is my sister."

"Yes, but we can't be brother and sister."

"Why?"

"Because if you're my brother, we can't get married," she simply said.

And this was a good enough reason for him. She removed the sword and turned off the light.

.

"That night, the one Jack was talking about, October 23th 1962, Carmen Isabell O'Neill, aged thirty-two, died in an accident."

"What kind of accident?" he asked, but Jacob was afraid he already knew the answer.

"A home accident of course," Daniel answered bitterly. "I couldn't find anything else. I guess Sherrif O'Neill did a good work of covering up the case."

.

"Sam"

"Yes?"

"That night," he whispered like he was telling her a secret. "I think something bad happened. I don't really remember, but I know."

"I think something happened to me too."

"I don't want to go back and grow up."

"I want to stay here with you and never grow up."

Samantha put her tiny hands around Jack's waist and hugged him as tightly as he hugged back.


So that's it!

I hope you liked it.

I know it was heavy on the drama, but next chapter will be full of cuteness and pranks and friendship...

And sorry but it will be long before I update again! Suggestions are greatly appreciated, they might make me write faster ^^!