Disclaimer: I do now own SG1 or the characters portrayed in this story. It is written for entertainment only and not for profit.
Author's note: This can be read as a (very short) standalone or as an epilogue to Bad Trip.
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Once More Into The Breach

Jack stood in the Gateroom with his team, waiting for Walter to dial it up. It had been five weeks since they'd last gone through the Gate, five weeks since that god-awful mission to PX3-8421. He usually didn't remember designations for planets, but he made damn sure he committed that one to memory—there was no way he was going to accidentally miss the memo that held even the hint of a suggestion that they go back to that hell. So far, so good. There hadn't been a whisper.

So today they were heading for P32. . . . Anyway, a nice, quiet planet where SG-4 and an archaeological team had been peacefully ensconced for the better part of two months, off and on. It would be a short one. Daniel could check in on the archaeologists and see their work firsthand; they'd all chat with the nice locals, and then they'd be back before nightfall to sleep—or Kel'no'reem—in their own beds.

Well, try to sleep, anyway. He suspected it would still be a while before any of them could get through the night without waking up at least once in a cold sweat.

He looked sideways at his team members. Teal'c stood calmly, his staff weapon pointed upward, his eyes on the Gate. Carter was checking some data on her handheld computer. Only Daniel showed any outward signs of nervousness, and really, who the hell could blame him? He'd died, again, on that last mission, and had only a few days ago been pronounced fit to return to active duty. Now he stood unusually still, for Daniel, looking toward the Gate and biting his bottom lip. Jack eyed him speculatively, wondering just how much pain Daniel was hiding from them. He was moving normally again, and he'd passed the last workout Sam and Teal'c had put him through with flying colors. Still. . . .

Daniel caught Jack looking, and rolled his eyes. “I'm fine, Jack,” he said, with exaggerated patience.

Sam looked up from her readout at that and smiled, and Jack had to smile too. Snagged. Guilty as charged.

Teal'c, who was a step closer to the Gate, looked back more solemnly and said, “Indeed, O'Neill. We are all 'fine.' ”

God, he loved these people.

He'd watched how they'd pulled together as a team to help each other recover from the horrors of that mission. Teal'c and Daniel, in particular, had amazed him. They'd taken turns, night after night for those first weeks, watching each other Kel'no'reem, gaining strength from the other's trust, until Daniel had stopped looking so much like, well, death warmed over, and Teal'c had started to believe again that he had some control over his own destiny.

Carter had wisely toned down her hovering, instead appearing at odd hours of the day and night to ask Daniel about a translation on some alien technology or to get Teal'c to teach her more Jaffa combat techniques. And they'd all tried to engage Jack, get him to talk about his own nightmares, but that wasn't really his way. He'd appreciated the efforts, though, and pretended he didn't know what they were doing when they'd suggest getting together as a team to watch a game or the Simpsons marathon.

So here they were, finally. He glanced again at Carter, Daniel and Teal'c. A sane person would have to wonder what made them do it. What made them step through the event horizon time after time, never knowing when it could be the last step they took? What made them pull themselves together after suffering things that most people would never recover from and stand ready to risk everything again instead of, finally and understandably, leaving the business of saving the planet to someone else?

He supposed it wasn't really that complicated. Teal'c was a warrior who despised the Goa'uld and lived to see his people free from their tyranny. Daniel had a boundless curiosity and a unfathomable optimism and would suffer anything to rescue his wife and his brother-in-law. Carter shared Daniel's joy in discovery and possessed a sense of duty that would have put Patton to shame.

And Col. Jonathan O'Neill? Why did he do it? Yes, there was duty, and he was almost as driven as Daniel to find Sha're and Skaara. And saving the planet was good. But those things weren't really all, not anymore. The real reasons he dragged himself out of bed each day and took his wonky knees and his nightmare-ravaged soul through the Stargate, the real reasons he kept throwing himself up against the huge odds and carrying responsibilities that sometimes literally made his shoulders sag . . . were the people standing with him now.

He did it for them; he did it for his team.

The Gate started to whirl, and Walter called out each chevron as it locked until the blue of the event horizon shot out.

“God speed, SG-1,” Hammond said from the control room. “You have a go.”

“All right, shoppers,” Jack said, “next floor, ladies' lingerie.”

Jack thought he saw three sets of eyes roll at that. He smiled, and the four of them stepped through the Gate, together.

----End----

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