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The gray clouds that had filled the sky all morning seemed to get heavier. The temperature had dropped considerably, so that by the time the team had gathered at the park, walking around wasn't as attractive an outing as it had been when the plans had been discussed. Another brief discussion was held, and everyone agreed that meeting back up at Jack's cabin was a much better idea...especially when the colonel suggested ordering pizza's for a late lunch/early dinner. Sam had only a moment to talk to Casey alone, telling the seer that she needed to speak to her...and that her 'radar' might be needed.
The brief conversation with her best friend had left her burning with curiosity. There were no bad vibes; in fact, Casey was certain she'd never seen Jack cling to Sam so much. It was as if he couldn't bear to let her stray from his side. No doubt he was leaning heavily on his lover, emotionally anyway, in dealing with his sister, and whatever it was that had driven her to seek him out after so long. She was so distracted, in fact, that the conversation between Daniel and his grandmother barely registered in her mind...she could hear their voices, but wasn't paying attention to a single word. Until she heard her name.
"Earth to Casey," Daniel said playfully.
"I'm sorry, what?"
"I was just telling Grandma that you consider Jack to be an older brother," he grinned.
"He can be a totally annoying sibling at times," she huffed.
"So what were you thinking about?"
She shook her head. "Just wondering what it is that Sam wants to talk to me about," she admitted. "She only had a chance to say that she and I need to talk, and she might ask me to...look...for something."
Daniel's smile faded to a frown. "Not without me," he said quietly.
Casey reached over and took his hand. "Never without you," she said softly. She turned in her seat, to be able to see Muriel. "Whenever I have a download, that's what I call it when I get...well...a download of information...or I have to do a search, Daniel helps me."
Muriel smiled at the pride, and the awe, that reflected on Casey's face, and in her voice. "That's nice, dear," she said. "I never did believe in psychics. But then, I'd never met a real one before."
Casey smiled in return. "Yeah, I get that a lot."
Daniel snorted. "She certainly proved her abilities to a group of Senators in DC."
"I'll bet they were impressed," the older woman replied.
He couldn't help but laugh. "I think they were impressed, all right. And scared to death that she'd go to work for the president, exposing all of their dirty little secrets and plans."
"That would serve 'em right," Muriel said. "Can't trust a one of them!"
"Isn't that the truth!" Casey exclaimed. "Sometimes, I think we need to send 'em all home, and start all over again."
Muriel chuckled. "I think people have been saying that since Thomas Jefferson left office."
"Probably. If not before," Casey grinned.
"Any clue what Sam wants you looking for?" Daniel asked.
"Nope. Well, maybe an idea, but I'm not certain," Casey admitted.
"That's a safe bet."
"Jack and his sister certainly do favor one another, don't they?" Muriel said.
"They could be twins," Casey agreed.
"She's older than him, I think," Daniel said.
Casey looked over at him. "He told you about her?"
"We did a bit of talking on...er...when we were in Abydos," Daniel replied.
Where the two had faced their first Goa'uld together, she thought. Where Jack had nearly died, and Daniel had given his life to save the man who would become his best friend. Something told her that the majority of their conversations had happened shortly after Daniel had returned to Earth; the two hadn't been together long enough on Abydos to have talked too extensively. And that the memories of those days had been filled with so much emotion that they were hazy at best.
When didn't matter. The fact that Jack had found someone to confide in, to open up to, was what was important. And that Daniel had found someone to lean on, to help him through those horrible days while he was looking for Sha're, that had been important, too. The men had needed one another, needed the security of their friendship. It was no wonder that they were as close as they were, Casey thought. They'd been to hell and back together. That thought had her reaching for her Husband's hand. Daniel had suffered so much in his life. At least he would never again have to face the hard times alone...because he had her. And his Family of the Heart. And a Grandmother who adored him.
A A A A A A
The restaurant wasn't as crowded as it had been the night they'd arrived on their first visit, laughing and having a wonderful time together...neither of them intending to make their feelings known at that moment. Basking in the glow of that early love when their conversation had turned serious. Janet followed the hostess to the table. Sat down and faced Gary with the same trepidation she faced the Oversight Committee meetings. She noted that he wouldn't actually look at her. And that when he did, the worry that filled his blue eyes was impossible to miss. He's afraid I'm going to be hurt...or angry, she realized. Which brought a rush of sympathy so strong she reached for his hand.
Gary tried to smile when Janet's small hand closed around his fingers. Better to just get it over with. The tension in the air between them was palpable, and there was no way either of them would eat a bite until it was dealt with. He took a deep breath.
Maybe, Janet thought, if I 'dump' him, he won't feel as guilty as his eyes say he's feeling.
"Gary, before you say anything, I have...I have a confession to make. I just hope you won't hate me when I've finished telling you what I have to tell you," the petite woman interrupted softly.
He jerked slightly. "Okay."
"First of all, I want you to know that I treasure every moment of our...romance. You've made me feel special, and attractive...you've made me feel like the sexiest woman walking."
He smiled. "I've enjoyed our time together as well."
"I love you-"
Aw, hell! He was going to wind up breaking her heart! Damn it! Why did life have to be so complicated?
"-but I'm not in love with you. And you deserve a woman who is so deeply in love with you that she can't see straight."
It took a moment for her words to fully impact on his brain. When they did, all he could do was chuckle. He'd been prepared to breakup with her, when apparently she'd been thinking along the same lines.
"Janet, I think that's the sweetest thing a woman has ever said to me."
"I'm dumping you, and you think it's sweet?" she asked incredulously.
The chuckles became a bit louder. "Considering I've been wracking my brain, trying to figure out a way to let you know that you're one of the most incredible women I've ever met, but 'forever' just isn't in the cards for us-" He broke off, shook his head.
She couldn't help but grin. "I needed someone when Paul and I split. And you were so wonderful...so willing to just listen..."
"You're the first...since Cookie," Gary confided.
Brown eyes went wide. This was one thing she hadn't learned about him in all of their many hours of conversation.
"I never allowed myself to feel anything for a woman. I always felt as if I was cheating on her," Gary said softly. "Then I met you...and you're so full of life, and love...and you swept me off my feet."
She studied his face for a moment. He was her 'rebound'. She was his first attempt after losing his wife. They had, it seemed, used one another for what they needed. Not that it hadn't been enjoyable. She truly treasured every moment she'd spent with Gary. But it hadn't taken her long to realize the he wasn't 'Mr. Right'. "I'm honored to be the woman you took that first step with," she said softly...sincerely.
"So, how long have you been..." he waved his hand in a small circle.
"Feeling like something was wrong?"
"To be honest, Gary, I don't know. I'm not sure when it happened. Hell, I'm not even sure what 'it' is!"
"I believe 'it' is the realization that what we were in was a wonderful...fling. Nothing more." When the words hit the air, he cringed. "That sounded terrible!"
"But it's the truth! What we had wasn't..." She paused. "There's just no 'good' way to say it, is there?"
Gary frowned. "Okay, what we have...what we had...was special. Beautiful. Fun-"
"Ego boosting. Definitely ego boosting."
"Definitely. Sex was phenomenal."
Her eyes sparkled. "Really?"
The frown turned into an instant grin. "Honey, you rocked my world every time."
"Well, thank you, sir," Janet giggled. "You aren't so bad yourself, you know. A bit sadistic maybe-"
"You reveled in driving me out of my mind before letting me go over the edge," she retorted.
"Oh, and you never did that to me?"
"I beg to differ, sweetheart! I damned near suffered heart attacks on a regular basis with you! How in the hell did you manage that, anyway?"
Janet grinned. "I'm a doctor, Gary."
"Yeah, well, that little...squeeze play trick thing of yours-"
Janet burst into giggles. "My what?"
"Where you..." he paused, looked around, then leaned closer. "When you'd get me right to the point of...you know...and then you'd manage to hold it off for another year or so...or however long it really was."
Apparently the pressure applied to the one place where his attention was most focused at that particular moment prevented him from realizing it was the gentle tugging just a few centimeters lower that prevented his...explosion. Now that was a nifty bit of information to store away for future use! "Oh, that little 'squeeze play trick'," she grinned.
"Now that is sadistic!"
"You loved every minute of it," she replied.
His grin softened into a smile. "Every second of it."
"We did have fun, didn't we?" she sighed.
"Yes, we did. And, honey, we'll still talk and laugh together." He took a deep breath. "Nothing says that two friends can't still meet up for coffee in the afternoon."
"No, there isn't anything that says we can't still do that. I do want us to be friends," she said.
"So do I," Gary replied.
"Did we, or did we not, just breakup?"
Gary pretended to give the question deep consideration. "I believe, my dear, that what we did was took the sex out of the equation."
"Seriously, Janet, we've been good friends from the moment we met. I think we're capable of continuing that friendship. We were just friends with..." he paused. "Benefits."
"And, it seems, those...benefits...are no longer...necessary?" The last word was more of a question than a statement.
"I think you're right. We were there for each other, offering what was needed at the moment. It's not...needed...now."
Janet shook her head. "I think this is probably the strangest breakup I've ever gone through!"
Gary chuckled. "Haven't been through many, myself."
"That's because you're the man in the 'equation'."
"I'd argue with you about that, but I'd probably lose," he quipped.
"Probably. I feel...well..."
She sighed, nodded her head. "Extremely. Is that a bad thing?"
Gary squeezed her fingers. "No, honey, it's not a bad thing. It just means that we've reached the end of one phase of our relationship. We took the time to explore that aspect. There won't be any regrets, no 'what ifs'. We can say we gave it our best, had a great time, and move on from there."
"I just hope this won't upset Casey. She's just now getting used to the idea of us being together," Janet sighed.
"I think that as long as she sees that we're both happy, she'll be happy for us. Besides, she'll be able to hear about your sex life now. That should please her."
Janet stared at him for a second, then began laughing. "Good point!"
He studied their entwined fingers. "Janet, I have to be honest with you. I...I do have feelings for someone. I didn't know I did until recently. Well, yesterday, actually."
The timing left no doubt in her mind. She'd wondered on occasion why the two hadn't gotten together before. Maybe, she thought, Gary had to move past his feelings of guilt concerning his late wife. The knowledge that she'd been the woman to help him, had been his 'first step' toward fully 'recovering' from his loss made what they had shared all the more special. She'd tuck those precious memories and feelings away in her heart to cherish always.
"I think these feelings might be of a more...permanent...nature," he continued. He glanced up at her, dreading the thought of seeing hurt in her beautiful, warm brown eyes.
"I'm happy for you," she said, smiling at him. "Charley is a very lucky woman."
"How'd you know it was Charley?" he asked, eyes wide.
"Because you were with her when you had your little...epiphany," Janet shrugged.
"You know this, how?"
Janet shook her head. "Gary, it's easy enough to add one plus one."
He frowned. Thought about what he had said. Janet had known he was going to Kansas City...and the events of the night before had left no doubt as to what had happened...Oh. "I'm sorry," he said softly.
"I didn't want to hurt you."
She smiled, patted the strong hand that was wrapped around hers. "You didn't. We've been...'drifting apart' just doesn't sound right...but I think we've both been moving toward this moment for a few weeks now, even if we weren't consciously aware of it."
His frown deepened. "I think you're right." He watched her for a moment. "What about you? Is there someone on the horizon for you?"
It was Janet's turn to frown. "I'm not sure."
"You're not sure?"
She smiled at the man across from her. "It's nothing...really."
Gary's smile matched hers. He knew her well enough to recognize the evasive tone of voice; that she wouldn't meet his gaze alerted him to the fact that something was bothering her. He knew it wasn't their 'breakup', such as it was. But there was a hint of confusion in her eyes. "Bullshit. I'm one of your best friends, Janet. If you can't talk to me, who can you talk to? Now, tell me what's going on. Let's see if we can't sort it out."
A A A A A A
Janelle searched for the little blue address book that she carried with her. She was in Silver Springs, and even though Gary was busy with Janet...she paused long enough to wish her nephew well on that score...she had every intention of doing what she had arrived to do. No doubt the girl had a way to get here. Casey, she thought amusedly. If Gary knew she thought of his daughter in terms of 'the girl', he'd have a hissy fit.
She dialed the number she'd been looking for. This would give her a chance to talk to the girl...Casey...without Gary hovering nearby. That thought brought a smile to her face. He was as protective of his daughter as he'd always been with Connie. She gave a mental huff of indignation. She had refused to use the woman's 'nickname'. Which sounded like the kind of name a stripper would use. What grown woman went around calling herself 'Cookie'? She couldn't help but smile wider, however, at the memory of Gary telling her in no uncertain terms that she could keep her opinions to herself, and that if he ever heard that anything derogatory had been said, they would be speaking about it.
"Hi. You've reached Daniel and Casey Jackson. We can't come to the phone right now, so leave a message after the beep. We'll get back to you as soon as possible."
"Damned blasted machines!" She slammed the receiver back into place. The voice was obviously that of the husband. There was something about it...something familiar. She'd have to think about it, but she was certain she'd eventually recall where she'd heard it before.
Out of sorts that her plans had been foiled...again...Janelle grabbed the kettle. She'd have a cup of tea, and try again in a bit. She glanced around the room as she waited for the water to boil. Hopefully that nephew of hers had something decent to read in this tiny little dump!
A A A A A A
Jack ushered Muriel into the living room, to the 'best chair in the house', he declared. Offered her a drink or coffee, her choice. "I can always sweeten that coffee a bit," he grinned.
Muriel chuckled, patted his cheek. "You'll do, Jack O'Neill, you'll do. You can put just a bit of brandy in that coffee."
With a grin that had his teammates laughing, Jack hurried to the kitchen to start a pot of coffee. Daniel followed, his hands shoved into his pockets.
"You're lucky, Daniel," Jack said softly. "She's a sweetheart. Reminds me of Grandma O'Neill."
Daniel smiled. A higher compliment couldn't be paid, in Jack's opinion. "Thanks."
"Still a bit overwhelmed?"
"A bit. You know, I never once thought about Dad's family. Never..." Daniel lowered his head, studied the tile on the floor. Finally looked back up into patient brown eyes. "Never thought about it."
"I guess your dad never talked about his family?"
"No...I've wracked my brain trying to think of anything...and there's just...nothing. I remember hearing about Nick...Grandpa," he replied. "And somewhere along the line I heard, or was told, that Mom had lived in California with her mother. I don't know anything about her, either."
Jack frowned. "Sometimes, leaving family behind is the best thing you can do...for yourself, and for them. There had to be a good reason your dad never mentioned his folks."
He didn't push. If, and when, Daniel wanted to talk, he would. He shook his head mentally. The archaeologist could speak for hours on any given subject, and would harass his friends into confiding their 'feelings', helping them come to terms with whatever the problem they were facing might be...but damned if Daniel didn't clam up tighter than hell when it came to his own feelings, his own past.
"Casey said there's a reason your sister showed up," Daniel said, changing the subject abruptly, never comfortable with talking about himself.
He winced slightly. "Yeah, there is."
"Can't get worse."
"Need to talk?"
He started to shake his head. Put both hands on the counter in front of him. "She's dying."
"Yeah. She had breast cancer a couple of years ago. Apparently it's back, and determined to win this time. She said something about...um...hell, all I can think of is sugar!" Jack said, offering a crooked smile.
"Sugar?" Daniel frowned.
"Yeah. Granulated...that's it! Granules. Little tiny pellets of cancer in her lung. A tumor that's in her lung and pushing into her breast."
"Doesn't sound good. What about chemotherapy? Radiation? There has to be some sort of treatment."
Jack turned around, crossed his arms over his chest. "She had radiation the last time. I guess that's why they agreed she could get by with just a lumpectomy. So she can't have it again. Rach...Rachel...says she doesn't want to spend the last few months of her life so sick that she'd rather be dead."
Daniel hissed a breath. "Yeah, that sucks, doesn't it?"
"Makes you wonder what Janet could do," Daniel said quietly.
"Look, there has to be a way," Daniel said, moving a bit closer to Jack so that they could keep their voices low. The dining room was between the kitchen and the living room, but the counter was open to the dining room, which was open to the living room. There was always the chance of being overheard. "We have access to technology that's bound to help."
"Daniel, no matter how much I want to put her on that elevator and take her down to the med level, I can't do it. You know that."
"I know that," Jack snapped. He reached out, squeezed Daniel's shoulder. "Sorry."
"No need. I'd be screaming and ranting and raving if it I were in that position."
"What, you can't hear all the noise I'm making in here?" Jack asked, tapping his chest.
"There has to be a way," Daniel insisted.
Sam glanced over her shoulder. She understood that Jack needed to talk. And that Daniel was his best friend. But until the two men were back in the room, she and Casey couldn't slip out. When she caught Jack's eye, she did her best to convey her 'get your ass in here' message to him.
Casey settled onto the sofa beside Rachel. "I'm glad things worked out," she said softly.
Rachel smiled. "So am I. They wouldn't have, if you and I hadn't talked first. I would have ranted again...and just made things worse."
"Sometimes, an outsider's objective view can help you see the trees in spite of the forest," Casey replied. "Although to be honest, I don't know how objective I really am. Jack means a lot to me."
"So I gathered."
She looked over to see Daniel's grandmother busy questioning Teal'c, who had parked himself in the chair that matched the one the elderly woman was sitting in. Sam had glanced into the kitchen again. "I don't want to seem rude, but Sam mentioned needing to discuss something...I think she has a question about one of my reports at work. She's second-" Casey stopped, shook her head. Looked at the woman beside her, and offered a small smile. "Sometimes, the secrets bother the hell out of us too!"
Rachel managed to smile. "Go ahead. My arrival was very...unexpected. I understand that you have your work."
"Thank you." Casey rose to her feet. "Sam, could you show me where Jack keeps those extra folding chairs, looks like we're going to need them."
Heaving a silent sigh of relief, Sam nodded. "They're in the hall closet."
The two slipped into the hallway. "Okay, before I die from curiosity, what's up?" Casey whispered.
"I think I have an idea...a plan to help Rachel," Sam whispered excitedly in return.
"Help her? What's wrong with her?"
"Cancer. Breast cancer. Except it's invaded her lung as well."
"Oh, hell," Casey muttered. "Okay, how?"
"The Goa'uld healing device! We just get her into the hospital on base, into a nice private room, use the device, and send her home a healthier woman than she is now."
"Just how are you going to do that?"
Sam frowned. "Well, I need to talk to Janet-"
"You haven't done that yet?"
"No. I was hoping..." Sam glanced toward the kitchen. "I was hoping you could take a look and see if it's even possible. I don't want to get his hopes up if we can't pull it off."
Casey smiled. "Wait here." She bounced into the kitchen. Wrapped her hands around Daniel's bicep. "We need your muscles, Stud Muffin."
Before he had a chance to fully comprehend what was happening, Daniel was nearly yanked off his feet, pulled into the hallway. Sam stood there, an anxious look on her face. "What's up?"
"Shh!" Casey hissed. She tugged his arms around her waist. Wrapped hers around his neck. Closed her eyes.
"What the hell is going on?" Daniel asked Sam in a stage whisper.
"She's taking a look at something for me," Sam replied.
Jack appeared in the hallway. Took note of the way Daniel and Casey were standing. And the fact that the seer's eyes were closed. "Now is a hell of a time for a download," he muttered.
Sam grinned. "Better go keep the guests from wandering down here," she replied.
With a nod, Jack hurried toward the living room.
Casey took a deep breath. Centered herself.
A flash of light brightened the dim corner where the two met for their 'discussions'. "Why are we whispering?" the old seer asked.
"Oh...I didn't realize...just because," Casey huffed. "Jack's sister is dying. Cancer. We might have a way to beat that. But I have to make sure it will work before we say anything to Jack."
The wrinkled little woman frowned. "I don't know that you'll see much."
"I have to try," Casey insisted.
Miss Eloise nodded her understanding. "Look, Casey."
She felt herself pulled toward the living room. Watched from the corner as Jack offered his sister a drink. Light...soft, golden, warm...began to shine around the woman who looked so much like her best friend. She could see black spots on her chest. So many of them! One by one the light seemed to erase them. The largest spot didn't disappear, like the others had. But it had stopped...wiggling...as it had appeared to be doing. She couldn't help but laugh out loud. "Yes!"
Miss Eloise smiled. "Now, pulling this off is totally up to SG-1. And you'll be on your own if you get caught."
Casey nodded her understanding. "Got it. We're SG-1. We can do this."
The old seer cackled. "I'll be betting money on it."
Before she had a chance to ask just what in the world the Ascended used for money, Casey felt herself pulled back.
She opened her eyes. "We're totally on our own if we get caught...no help from Daniel's Protectors. But...if we can do this...it will work."
"I knew it!" Sam crowed quietly. "Okay, Daniel, go distract him. I have to call Janet."
A A A A A A
Janet rolled her eyes as the sound of her phone ring tone filled the air around them.. "Wouldn't you know that I'd get a call just as they serve the ribs?"
Gary grinned. "I promise to leave some for you."
"Ha." She put several of the pieces of meat, dripping with barbecue sauce, on her plate. "Just to make sure I at least get a taste," she teased. She grabbed the phone. "Hello?"
"Janet, it's Sam. Look, no time for all of the details...Jack's sister has cancer. From what I understand, it's bad. As in she has a few months. Casey just took a look, and if we can pull it off, the healing device will cure her!"
"Say that again...slowly," Janet demanded.
Sam acquiesced, and repeated the information Janet needed to know. "We just have to figure out how to pull this off."
"Apparently we can't do this in the mountain," Janet said.
"No, we can't. I thought we could get one of the rooms in the hospital, x-ray lab or something. I know there will be paperwork...or at least online forms that have to be filled out to get one scheduled, but I can hack in and delete everything once we're finished."
"That's good, because I can't even get an appointment set up to use one of those rooms without the billing department having a file started, and permission for the dependant-"
"We make her military," Sam interjected. "Um...Tyler."
The name sounded familiar. "Tyler?"
"Yeah, he didn't really exist either. I mean, he did, but he wasn't in the Air Force. You damned near had Daniel, Teal'c, and I committed when we insisted that he did...until you 'remembered' him too, after dealing with our clothes."
Janet nodded. She remembered the alien who had used SG-1 as protection. Who had learned that the Tau'ri were honorable allies. "Good idea."
"So, we'll meet at the base-"
"Sam, I'm in Denver right now."
"I'll call you as soon as I get back. Then we can work out all of the details. I can come up with a medical emergency to get us the room we'll need to do this."
"We'll figure out what forms we'll need, get them submitted online, and then you can do your hack and delete thing as soon as we're finished. With it being Sunday, there won't be anyone in the billing department to catch it. But everything will look legitimate for the staff on duty."
"Got it. Talk to you later then."
"Yes, you will." Janet closed her phone. Noted the curious expression on Gary's face. "Trust me, the less you know, the better."
"Got it. Gonna eat that cornbread?"
"Yes, I'm going to eat it! Order more, you pig!"
He laughed, signaled for the waitress. "Just trying to help you maintain that girlish figure."
"Uh huh. Leave my cornbread alone!"
A A A A A A
Sam sighed. "Janet's in Denver. As soon as she gets back she'll call, then we'll get everything set up."
Casey heaved a sigh as well. "Have you thought about how you're going to smuggle an alien device out of the SGC?"
The blonde major looked hopefully at Daniel.
"Don't look at me," Daniel said, almost defensively. "I take home a tablet or two. Nothing that can be considered dangerous if it's accidentally discovered."
She huffed a sigh. "Then I have no clue."
"Casey's purse." Both women stared at him as if he'd lost his mind. "They barely even glance inside it. There's so much there that if the guards started to go through it, we'd be there for an hour or longer. They know that, and don't want to have to fill out the paperwork to list every single item."
Sam grinned. "He's got a point."
Casey crossed her arms over her breasts. "You make it sound as if my purse is some horrible scary thing!"
"Prove it's not!" Daniel declared, his cheek twitching. "For all I know, you've got a small country hidden in that thing! And when was the last time any of the guards actually did more than look at what was right on top?"
She hated to admit it, but he was right. She plopped it on the table, let the macramé sides fall open, and the guards on duty gave it a cursory glance. Her wallet, cell phone, ID, makeup bag, hairbrush...all were usually on top of the miniature tool kit, and the pocket sewing kit, and the small flashlight, and the can of mace, and the bottle of water she normally carried, as well as the folder that held her coupons, and her address book, and her MP3 player in its carrying case, her journal..."Fine. I'll carry it out. Just promise to visit me in Leavenworth if we get caught."
Daniel planted a kiss on her forehead. "Every Saturday. I'll even sue for conjugal visits."
"So, do we tell Jack?" Daniel asked.
Sam shook her head. "Tomorrow. Janet and I have to work all of the details out first."
He nodded. "Okay."
Sam opened the closet door. Pulled out two folding chairs. "Here. Make yourself useful."
Jack gave the three a questioning look when they trooped into the room together. Radar wasn't exhibiting any of the little telltale signs that she normally did when she'd gotten a download. He recognized the look on Sam's face...she was trying to hide something. Daniel was trying too hard to look innocent. When they avoided his glance, he knew that they had been planning something. Just what the hell were they up to?
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