Disclaimers and other info in part 1.
"There's nothing that we can do?" Daniel asked.
Sam shook her head in frustration. "No. If I thought it would help, I'd go back to P3X-367, where Nirrti was doing those DNA manipulation experiments, but they destroyed the machine after restoring their people."
Daniel sighed. "And I don't suppose we can treat the symptoms, either."
"We sent a message to the Tok'ra, but I don't think they're going to be much help. Shocking, isn't it?" Jack said dryly.
"We're sorry for all of this, Colonel," Daniel offered.
Mac smiled at her new friends. "It's all right," she said. "I understand. You tried your best." She paused, and her smile grew into a grin. "Besides... if this hadn't happened, I never would've found out about the Stargate."
"Sometimes I wish I had never found out about the Stargate," Jack said. "Usually when I have to deal with politicians or lawyers."
"Should I feel insulted?" Mac retorted.
"I don't know. How bad of a lawyer are you?"
"I was the Navy JAG's chief of staff. Does that help any?"
"Ah. So you're really, really bad." Mac resisted the urge to stick her tongue out at the smart-ass general. She allowed herself a glare, though the man remained completely unrepentant.
"Well, if that's it," Mac finally said, "I think I'd better get back to Washington. Harm must be frothing at the mouth with worry."
"From what you've told me of Harm," Sam said, smirking, "he's probably paced a hole in his office floor."
"That, or mounted a search-and-rescue operation," Mac replied sardonically.
"You're free to go at any time, Mac," Jack interrupted their banter, "but I hope you drop by sometime. It's not often I get to spend time with beautiful women who could kick my ass."
"Uh... Jack?" Daniel said, shooting the tactless man a glance and following him out of the room.
"You spend every day with beautiful women who could kick your ass."
Mac and Sam looked at each other and laughed.
They sobered, and Mac said, "I guess this is it."
"Yeah, I guess so." Sam sighed. "No more dreams?"
"I don't think so. They've been decreasing over the past two weeks. I think that the whole point of them was to get us to meet."
"But why?" Sam asked.
Mac shrugged. "Who knows? Maybe whoever's out there thought we could both use a friend that understands us."
Sam smiled. "Maybe. So... you gonna talk to Harm when you get back?"
"I don't know." Mac gave Sam a calculating look. "Are you going to talk to Daniel?"
Sam blanched, but didn't deny anything. "I'm engaged to Pete, Mac."
"I know how that goes, Sam; remember?" Mac gentled her voice. "I've also seen your dreams, though. And they're not of Pete."
Sam was quiet. Mac touched Sam's wrist lightly. "Think about it." She stood and left the briefing room.
"Okay. Tell me all about your vacation. Find anything interesting?"
Mac accepted the bottle of water and sat back on Harm's couch. He had been quite solicitous since her return, and more than a little curious about what she had done during her leave.
She smiled mysteriously. "Yeah, I found a couple of interesting things, made some new friends... you know, the usual."
"Really? What kind of friends?" Harm sat next to her, reaching for a slice of pizza.
"Honestly? Ones that are more insane than we are."
Harm laughed. "That's possible?"
"If you met these people... oh, yeah. It's possible."
"So what are their names? What do they do? How did you meet them?"
Mac held up a hand, laughing softly. "One question at a time, counselor!" She took a deep breath, debating how much to tell him. "Okay. First question..."
She approached the door slowly, uncertain of what she was going to say. Her breathing was jagged and irregular. Her nerves jangled as she opened the door.
She took a deep, calming breath and straightened her spine. She had faced down some of the most dangerous beings in the galaxy—she would not run from a simple conversation.
Pete's face lit up. "You're home early!" He came forward and greeted her with a kiss.
She gently pushed him away. The confusion on his face warred with his happy smile.
She touched the ring that sparkled on her left hand, and steeled herself.
"Pete... we need to talk."
Two thousand miles away, Sarah MacKenzie rolled over and fell off her best friend's couch.
"Ow..." she muttered, rubbing her head where it had hit the table.
"Mac! You all right?" Harm asked, coming out of his bedroom, throwing on his robe.
"Yeah. Yeah, I'm fine." A slow smile graced her face, then disappeared. "Actually, Harm... we need to talk."
She dreamt no more that night.