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This is a short fic I started after seeing "Fragile Balance."  The end part is set after "Revisions" Warning - very sappy!

The usual disclaimers: I own nothing.  Just borrowing the characters for a bit...

young Sam and Jack

The Up Side...

       Jack watched himself drive away.
       It was still way too weird to think of himself as a clone.  As far as he was concerned, he was Jonathan J. O’Neill, Colonel, United States Air Force, otherwise known as Jack.
       Being stuck in the body of a fifteen-year-old did not negate his memories.  And it did not negate his needs.  And since he was stuck in the body of a fifteen-year-old he was bound and determined to have the one thing that not being in uniform could make possible.
       He felt kind of bad having lied to his “older” self.  As he watched the children (for that’s what they were in forty-something mind) enter the school he thought maybe this whole repeating high school idea was what his “older” self found so discomforting.  As a male he could appreciate the girls young, nubile bodies, but he could never be with someone less that half his age.  Of course he -- “young” Jack as he was trying to remember to think of himself -- felt exactly the same way.  It was no wonder his “older” self had given him such a strange look.
       Jack tossed his backpack down and sat on the grass to wait.  A few moments later, the plain sedan pulled up in the spot Jack’s truck had vacated and Jack got in.
       Major Paul Davis smiled.  “You’re identification and tickets are in here,” he said as he handed over a legal sized envelope.  “Once you reach JFK you’ll be met by two FBI agents.  They’ve been given your cover story and will take you through the rest of the setup as part of the witness protection program.  That way, neither Major Carter nor myself will have direct knowledge of your whereabouts.  We, ah, we thought that was for the best.”
       “Understood,” Jack said simply, knowing there was nothing simple about the situation.


       Major Samantha Carter maneuvered her car through the busy traffic.  She knew she’d made the right decision, but glancing at her passenger made her feel…she might as well say it. “This is awkward.”
       The girl beside her shook her head.  She looked almost exactly the same as Sam had at the age of fifteen, minus the long hair.  “You’re just saying that because you don’t want to admit that you’re angry,” the clone stated matter-of-factly.
       “Angry?” Sam asked her younger self.  “You think I’m angry?”
       “Okay, maybe not angry.  More like jealous.”
       “Jealous!” Sam was angry.  Because her younger self was absolutely right.  She was jealous.
       “Yes, jealous.  I know you.  You’re me, I’m you…whatever.  The point is that we have all the same memories up until a few hours ago and I know a part of you is jealous and angry and scared that you, the older you, won’t get to be with him.”
       Sam swallowed hard and let the anger drain away.  “You’re right.  You’re absolutely right.” She shrugged, then smiled “Or I’m right.  This is just too strange.  This is the second time I’ve gotten a chance to talk to myself and despite everything I’ve - we’ve - been through in the past seven years, it is awkward.”  She still felt sad every time she thought of  the robotic SG1 team and their tragic end.
       Young Sam laughed.  “I know.”
       Samantha pulled her car over, shut off the ignition and turned to her younger self. “And I do envy you.  And there’s a part of me that does think we, the original we, might not ever find the right time.  And it hurts.  And now, you and him get to ride off into the sunset together.  And a part of me is happy about that, because you kind of are me.  And he’s him and, well, you do know what I’m feeling.”
       Younger Sam reached over and patted herself on the hand.  “Yeah, lots of conflicting feelings. So, you also know that I’m jealous.  Because even though Jack and I get to do this, we can’t be part of the Stargate program any more.  That’s our life’s work.  What am supposed to do with all of this knowledge about quantum physics and everything when I’m not allowed to use it?”  Her older self nodded sympathetically.  “And we don’t get to have children because the Asgard cloning technology doesn’t allow for it.  And I know, theoretically, that that’s for the best, but it still hurts.  So you and big Jack had damn well better find the time because, from now on little Jack and I aren’t you.  We’re different people with a different path to follow.”
       Sam restarted the car and they drove the remaining distance in silence.  Sam pulled in to a parking spot and the two of them entered the airport terminal.  They spotted Major Davis and young Jack and they all experienced a moment of “what-do-we-do-now” discomfort.  Jack was looking at young Sam for the first time, feeling torn because, gosh she was pretty, but she didn’t look like his Sam.  Then she smiled shyly and Jack felt himself tumble in love with her all over again.  She had Sam’s -- his Sam’s -- smile.  ‘Well, duh!  She is Sam,’ he thought to himself.
       “Hi” he said aloud, smiling in greeting.
       “Hi,” the Sams said in unison.
       Major Carter turned to Major Davis and asked “Everything all set?”
       Paul knew she was uncomfortable, but couldn’t imagine what she was thinking.  Not to mention the two clones.  This was just all around bizarre!.  “Yeah.  I’ll just a… I’ll give you all a moment alone.”  He walked away.
       Young Jack and Sam were drowning in one another’s gazes.  Jack took Sam’s hand and turned to the Major.  “Thank you.”
       “Why do I suddenly feel like the parent here?” Sam asked.
       “I don’t know.” Jack laughed.  “But I know you’re going to worry.  I know you’ll want to tell him,” referring to his ‘older’ self, “But, trust me on this, don’t.  I’m…he’s better off not knowing.”
       She didn’t understand why, but figured young Jack had his reasons.  “Okay.  I’ll worry about that bridge when and if I come to it.”  Glancing at her watch, she added, “You’d both better get going so you don’t miss your flight.”
       Jack watched amusedly as the two Carters hugged good-bye.  Then she shook his hand.  “Be happy.”
       He claimed her younger self’s hand again and, together, they walked away.


      Samantha entered her house and tossed her accumulated mail on the counter that separated her kitchen and living room.  She performed her normal routine after being away from home on an extended mission, but the mission to P3X-289 had taken an emotional toll.  The thought that Pallan couldn’t even remember his wife left Samantha feeling sad.
       The ringing doorbell announced the arrival of her Chinese takeout. After paying the delivery-boy, she wandered back to the kitchen and began sorting her mail while eating her dinner.
       When she spotted the pale blue envelope addressed to her in own handwriting, her heart skipped a beat.  Dropping her chopsticks, she tore it open.  Inside was a card with the picture of a sunflower on the cover.  She eagerly opened it and a picture of young Sam and Jack fell out.  She glanced briefly at it and then read:

Dear “Aunt” Sam,
       Life is good.  We knew you’d be worrying, so we thought we’d drop you a line and let you know everything is working out great.  Can’t go into details (you know why), but rest assured that we’re happy.
Love, Me

Below, in Jack’s bold handwriting was a longer message:

“Auntie” Sam,
       We didn’t have much time to talk at the airport.  Speeches are my strong suit anyway.  “S” (you know who I mean) told me about your conversation.  I want you to know that, even though we cannot be part of the program that we’re going to do some good for the world.  Right now, given the obvious age problem, we’re taking time for ourselves.  High School’s  interesting the second time around.  “S” is having a hard time playing it dumb, but she’s adapting.
       Just know that we’re going to live the life that you and he are fighting the good fight to preserve.  I know you want to tell him about us and I understand why, but I’m asking you to wait until you’re together to do so. If he knew about the young us, it would make an impossible situation (given your working relationship and military ranks, as you've said before) even worse.  He’ll understand and forgive you for keeping this secret.  Just as I’m confident you’ll understand and forgive him for a few things.  He loves you and, no matter what, he’ll make you’re being together happen.  Trust him.  In the mean time, you can take some comfort in the fact that we’re here and happy together.  Now you have to destroy this letter and the picture.  Think security, remember!

       Sam laughed as she put down the card.  She studied the picture.  A gold embossed decal in the lower left corner proclaimed it to have been taken at “Homecoming 2003”.  They were standing in the traditional pose, with his arms around her abdomen, and her hands resting on top of his.  He was in a black tux and she wore a red sheathe style gown the “older” Sam would never have had the guts to wear when she’d been in high school.  Their smiles beamed.  Their love for one another would be obvious to anyone who viewed the photo.
       Sam read the letter twice more, committing it to memory.  She examined the picture for half an hour, wondering what their lives were like.  Bowing to the need for secrecy, she shredded the card and picture as well as the envelope.  Then she burned the scraps.
       It was difficult, trusting in the future.  But she’d lived with the hope for seven years, she would survive a few more.


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