by Suz suzvoy@tesco.net

Disclaimer - MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them.

You can blame this on The Flaming Lips and AJ - a deadly combination. A '2010' episode addition. Feedback would be loved.


He stared at it.

Everyone was fascinated. The tests had come back confirming - just as it was his handwriting - that it was his blood that covered the note, too. The initial theory (*her* theory, naturally) was that the note had been sent from the future. That something so terrible had happened that they'd risked sending a message to the past.

Sitting in the locker room, he stared at it.

They were pondering over the ramifications. If it was from the future, what had been so terrible? Did the Goa'uld have a surprise waiting for them on P4C 970?

Sitting in the locker room, mostly in the dark, he stared at the note.

Not *that* note, of course. That note was busy being examined, tested, poked, prodded...the ink would probably be investigated - the paper too. Anything to try and determine exactly where it came from.

Sitting in the locker room, mostly in the dark, he stared at the second note.

It'd been crumpled up with the first one. When he'd picked them up from the ramp they'd separated, and without even thinking (it was as soon as he'd made out the scrawled 'Carter') he'd hidden it; folded, scrunched up, in the palm of his hand.

Nobody noticed.

When he was alone, when Carter had gone home, when Daniel was theorising, when Teal'c was kel'no'reeming, when Fraiser and General Hammond were waiting for the next test results, he sat on the bench in the locker room and opened it.

It was unmistakably his handwriting, with the same pen as the other note. But the message...

In the locker room, mostly in the dark, he stared at the second note...and stood up.


She was surprised when she opened the door. "Sir?"

Briefly, he wasn't bothered about appearances. "I need to come in."

It wasn't a request.

Frowning, she backed into the house, pulling the door open further.

Jack stepped inside, heading straight for the living room. He didn't take his jacket off, didn't do anything except wait for her to close the door.

When she finally appeared, he began talking. "Something happened."

She was genuinely confused. "Something happened?"

But that was okay, because he was too. "Something happened that I need to tell you about. It doesn't have to...change anything, but it relates to you so you should know." He shouldn't have been doing this. He shouldn't have been doing any of this...but she should know.

"*What* relates to me?"

He got it over with. "There was another note. A second note. That came with the first one."

Her eyes widened, her mouth forming a question.

Jack got there first. "Don't ask me *why* I didn't say anything; just call it instinct. As it turns out, it was probably the right thing to do." Taking his hand from his jacket pocket, he pulled the note out with it.

Carter stared at it as she reached out: grabbing hold, slowly unfolding, the paper rustling with a familiarity that almost made him shiver at the memory.

She studied the contents for far longer than was necessary to read them, her expressions - as always - so easy to read. Surprise, fear...anger.

When she was done, she folded the note up, returning it to him. "Thank you,"

He shoved it back into his pocket, trying not to look at her. "Sure. I'd better-"

"Do you think...?" She glanced away, obviously finding the words difficult. "Do you think it'll happen again?"

For once in his life, he spoke the truth. "I don't even know how it happened the first time. I can't imagine..." It was something he'd just never considered. Never.

"It doesn't make sense," She murmured. "I assumed a long time ago that we'd at least always be..."


They spoke together.

Jack lost it. Just slightly. "I hate this job."


"Without this job, I wouldn't have this damn note in my pocket. Without this job, I wouldn't be trying to think up scenarios where we're not even friends anymore. But the killer is, right now, there is *nothing* I can think of that would ever make me lose my faith in you."

A sad, soft smile highlighted her face. "That's the killer?"

There was no other answer to give. "That's worse than almost everything else." He moved, brushing by her. He hadn't intended to insult or flatter; she'd needed to know about the note, that was all.

Until she touched his arm.

He stopped cold, turning towards her. "Carter..."

"It could happen again," She whispered. "We may not want it to, but there are no guarantees."

He closed his eyes. "Turning my own words against me?"

She was smiling; he knew even though he couldn't see her. "Technically you haven't written them yet." She shifted, stepping closer. "If it does...happen...at least we'll always have," Her hand wound up into his hair, tugging him down. "Now."

He tried to stop it. "Don't do this, don't do this..."

"No guarantees," She repeated.

And she was right. There really were none.

So he let it happen.


'There are no guarantees. Carter and I aren't together.

We're not even friends.'


In the bedroom, in the dark, he stared at her.


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