Note: All disclaimers from Chapter 1 still apply.
SG-1 was on downtime, and Samantha Carter had been catching up with some experiments she had been meaning to get to when Colonel O'Neill had walked into her lab. Ignoring all of what she thought of as reasonable protests he had literally ordered her to go home and get some rest; quite forcefully in fact. "Don't let me see you back here before Monday am. Get gone!"
She still had a pout on her lips when she grabbed a beer from her fridge and stepped out onto the back deck of her house. Leaning back against the step leading down to her small yard, she relaxed slightly and took a healthy gulp; looking up into the heavens. There was no moon tonight and the sky was so clear in the mountain air that she could see for millions of years.
Even after many missions offworld, sleeping under alien skies, she still thought that there was nothing to compare to this. This was Home.
Quickly dealing with her few outstanding household chores and dumping all the junk mail addressed to 'Occupant', she had a light meal before enjoying a long hot soak in her bath.
Now sat in her bedroom, she looked in the mirror...
Perhaps she did need a break; there were shadows below her eyes and even to her usually indifferent gaze she looked tired. A few days to unwind could be just what she needed.
Turning her head and lifting her chin, she could just see the scars of her Marking.
What had really surprised her upon her return to duty after meeting Willow was that nobody on the base could see anything different about her. Not even Janet had commented during her various physicals after returning from offworld...
Willow had said that she had screened the punctures with a glamor, but while not actually doubting her veracity, Sam had thought that with the actualities of 'Gate travel the glamor would have dissipated the first time she had gone offworld. Now it seemed that the glamor was tied to her actual lifeforce and she had no need to be apprehensive of awkward questions.
As she looked at the single red rose in the vase beside her bed; unwilted even weeks after she received it, Sam knew she was seriously considering accepting Willow's offer.
She settled down to sleep.
With a wild cry Sam lurched back to consciousness, the details of her nightmare dissolving even as her hand moved instinctively to her throat; fingers resting on her Marking.
Panting in shock, it took her a long moment to realise that the connection to Willow had flared to life; leaving her with the quick impression of talking to a thin woman with deep brown, almost black eyes, before a soothing presence entered and calmed her own psyche...
That presence fading as she lowered her head into both hands, she sobbed for a moment before raking her hands through her hair, and, untangling herself from the sheets stood on shaky legs before making her way downstairs.
Grabbing a bottle of water from the fridge, she curled up on the couch as she tried to recall what she had seen; what had frightened her so badly. It wasn't until the strident ringing of her cell penetrated that she realised she had been staring at nothing for a while...
Looking at the small screen, even with the words 'No Caller ID.' on the display, she knew who it was. In a soft whisper, she answered the call.
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