a Stargate SG-1 story
by dirty diana

the so-called gangster au. I blame 50 Cent. Love to [info]sffan, for curbing my tendency to leave bits out. Or trying to, anyway.

Cameron "Shaft" Mitchell

He is woken by the sound of knocking, a steady rap on the bedroom door. Cameron rubs his eyes and stretches bare legs as he uncurls, awake. Beside him Daniel sleeps like the dead, still and perfect in profile, his legs hanging off the edge of the king size bed.

Sam's side of the bed is empty already. Gone to the gym, maybe, or someplace else that Cameron knows better than to ask about.

The knocking doesn't stop.

"Come in!" Cameron yells, his voice still hoarse from sleep.

T enters quietly. A slight nod is his only good morning. He doesn't bat an eyelash at the scene, at Daniel still naked and sprawled face down in the bed. He's known them for nine years, and there's not anything left that can surprise him.

T himself keeps pretty quiet, about where he's from or how he ended up in a dead-end like Denver. Cameron gets the feeling it's pretty fucking bad, but doesn't care. T's been down with him for almost as long as he's known Daniel and Sam. Hasn't gotten him killed yet, and that's all Cameron asks for, for now.

Cameron groans, half sitting up in the bed, tugging at the corner of the down covers. "This better be good, T."

He can never tell, before T opens his mouth, what he's about to say. "Boss is here, Shaft. Downstairs. He wants to see you."

Cameron rolls his eyes, turning his eyes to glance at the clock. "Tell him he can make a fucking appointment like everyone else."

T shrugs, with a gentle movement of his massive shoulders. "I tried. He says he needs to talk to you now. Says you'll be interested."

"Shit." With a deep breath Cameron scrambles out of bed, pausing only to drop a kiss on Daniel's shoulder, and then shake him awake.

"Hey, Jackson. Out of bed. We got a meeting with The Boss."

"He's your friend," Daniel mutters groggily, out of one side of his mouth, "not mine. I don't have to get out of bed."

Cameron opens his mouth to say that Hank "The Boss" Landry doesn't have friends, but Daniel is already asleep again.

Cameron pulls on his clothes and follows T down the stairs.


They shake hands, the morning light in Cameron's oak and leather living room glinting off the bling that circles Landry's watch. He doesn't smile. Cameron doesn't think he's ever seen him smile.

"How's everything?"

Landry doesn't answer. He gestures for Cameron to sit.

Cameron ignores him, instead wandering over to the sideboard to pour himself a cup of lukewarm coffee, stirring in too much sugar.

"Play it your way," Cameron says easily. "Let's cut to the chase."

"I got a job for you," Landry says, holding out his hands for the coffee.

Cameron passes it to him with a wry smile, and pours himself another cup. He shakes his head. "No. That's not the point."

"Take's two million," Landry says, and now he might be smiling, a little. "Your cut is ten percent."

Cameron whistles. "That's the kind of amount that people tend to miss, Boss."

"Why don't you let me worry about that?"

Cameron nods, sipping his coffee. "Yeah, well, since you're doing all the worrying, and we're doing all the actual work, why don't we call it fifteen percent?"

Landry raises an eyebrow. "You don't want to hear the details?"

Cameron shakes his head, already heading towards the door. "Details aren't my department. Hang out a second, and I'll get Jackson out of bed."


It's the end of summer, and the days are getting shorter. Sam is wearing khakis that he thinks belong to Daniel, rolled up at the hemmed and tightened with a belt that sparkles. The camisole that she wears exposes the smooth skin of her back, as she reaches up to draw the curtains against the street lights. Cameron reaches for her. "You could wear a dress," he says softly. "For me."

Sam makes an amused sound in the back of her throat. "You're a chauvinist," she says, but doesn't make any attempt to wriggle out of his arms.

"I'm a Southern gentleman," he protests.

"Bullshit. Where am I supposed to put my gun in a dress?"

His hands move down her body. He can feel the press of the piece that she wears at her waist, the nine mil Beretta with a custom grip that she favours.

She changes the subject. "I heard you took a job."

"Yeah," he says.

"Without asking me?"

Cameron shakes his head, even as his fingers ease underneath her shirt, against her skin. "That's not the deal, Dynamite."

She doesn't say anything to that. He drops kisses against her shoulder. "There's a lot of money in it. It'll be good. Trust me."

Neither of them hear Daniel come in. He is half dressed, shrugging into his jacket. "Where are we going?"

"Same place we always go," Cameron tells him patiently. "Tell T to bring the car around."


The entryway to Paul's lounge has smelled like piss ever since Cameron has been going there, which is nearly forever. Sam likes the music. Daniel hates it. Cameron doesn't care either way, he just comes because all the action in town floats through this joint, big and small hustlers alike. They sit at the usual table, and Daniel drapes his arm across the back of Sam's chair, his mouth brushing her cheek as she smiles. Daniel's other hand rests casually on Cameron's thigh, then drifts, his fingers tugging the confines of Cameron's pockets. Cameron puts his hand over Daniel's to still the movement.

Daniel pulls away from Sam for a moment, and brings his mouth closer to Cameron's ear. "Hey, Shaft. What do you got?"

Cameron reaches into his shirt pocket and pulls out a tiny bottle of pills, pushing it into Daniel's palm. Daniel takes it without a word. "I'll be right back."

He is gone only a moment when Cameron sees Sam's skin blush warm, and she half-rises in her seat. "Hey." A hand slips into the centre of her back, gently holding her in place. "Maybe not today."

Sam is calmed. "He's got a lot of nerve."

"They shut down his place. Some city violation shit," Cameron tells her softly. "He's been coming here since then."

Cameron watches as Brian Donovan's party is seated at the centre table. Donovan sits in the middle of a crowd, wearing a custom-made suit and smiling not at all. Cameron's hand tugs gently on Sam's short hair, trying to soothe her. Ball, they call him, Big Balls Donovan, for being a particular kind of crazy some choose to interpret as brave. Cameron's never done a job for him. His momma had a saying, about lying down with dogs. Cameron's not as stupid as people think he is.

Sam curses, and swallows her drink.

Cameron strokes her back. He can feel her heart pounding. "We had this talk, Dynamite. There's no taking Ball out unless you want a beef with half the fucking city."

Sam doesn't talk about her father much. Everyone knows his name though, even now. Taught Sam everything, and she misses him still.

Any one of a number of people could have wanted him gone. Cameron doesn't tell Sam that. It's been over two years.

When Daniel slides back into his seat, his eyes are shining. "What did I miss?"

"Sam's agreed not to start a war with the B tonight," Cameron says, and signals for the waitress.

Daniel glances back and forth at them, his mouth pulling into a tight line. "That's good," he says, nodding. "Paul's got a rule about blood on the light fixtures."

Sam gives him the finger. Daniel asks her to dance.


Sam doesn't take her eyes off Balls though, all night. They stay till the end of the night. Donovan's party files past them, brushing their table with a move that can't be accidental. Cameron puts a hand on Sam's shoulder, but she hasn't moved.

"Look who it is." It isn't Donovan that stops, but Donovan's little brother. Cameron has never learned his names, just thinks of him as Donovan's younger brother, with slow eyes and a fast mouth.

"Samantha Carter. You ever gonna let me guess why the call you Dynamite, honey?"

His face is dangerously close to hers now, as Sam glances at him, and then glances away. She's following Cameron's instructions like a good girl, but Cameron can see by the flushed colour of her skin how close she is to popping.

Daniel is watching them all with an expression that borders on amusement. Cameron slides his hand out of Daniel's to move close to Sam.

"Trust me, asshole, you don't wanna know." Cameron's voice is slow, like molasses from a jug. "Think you better keep walking, you know?"

He isn't heard. Junior's hand reaches out to touch Sam's face. "Maybe you should ditch these losers, honey, and come work for me. I bet I know just how to get your fireworks going."

Cameron's chair hits the floor a second before Junior's head hits the table with a crunch. And then they're both on the ground, scrambling, before Cameron comes out on top, with his hand in Junior's throat.

"Want to know how I got my nickname?"

No answer. The memory flashes, and it was a bar not at all like this one, a crowbar that was heavy in his fist. Cameron's hand squeezes harder, his knee lending all his weight against the centre of Junior's chest. He's only half-aware aware of the entire club watching, of Sam and Daniel's eyes on him, cool as water.

By the time that Junior chokes out a weak apology, he barely remembers to let go.


"You should have followed your own advice," Daniel says, as he cleans away the trickle of blood on Cameron's forehead.

Cameron winces. He sits on the bed, with Sam silent next to him. Her head rests on his shoulder, as she gently strokes the scratched skin of his palms.

"My advice sucks," Cameron points out.

"Well." Daniel's mouth curves. "Yeah, it does."

"Shhh," Sam murmurs, and crawls into Cameron's arms, her body full and warm. She pushes him down onto the bed, and her mouth brushes his, gently at first, then harder. His mouth crushes hers, tasting rum and something bitter. Her hips move against his, and Cameron laughs. His hand moves up the curve of her ass, pulling her closer.

She discarded her own gun at the door. Now she pulls his away from against his hip, and unbuttons his shirt, short nails scratching his skin.

Daniel watches them for a moment, quietly. His hand tugs at the front of his jeans. When he joins them on the bed he doesn't say anything, just pulls the pants that Sam wears down with her panties, slipping a finger between her legs.

When Cameron enters Sam her skin is slick with sweat, and she clings to him, uttering a string of breathless moans against his ear. He lies beside her, face to face. His cock throbs against the raw wetness of her, while Daniel lies on her other side, his fingers making circles against her breasts.

"Fuck." Cameron swears when he comes. She smiles, and drops a kiss on his mouth. Cameron can still taste her on his tongue when Daniel rolls her over, onto her back, and slides roughly inside her. Sam calls out, her hand tightening on his waist. Daniel knows what that means, thrusting harder against her, whispering something that only she can hear. Cameron watches them fuck, eyes dark and hungry, before Daniel collapses in her arms, moaning her name.


"You should have let me kill him." Though he can feel her breathing evening out and slowing, Sam's voice is still strong, unfettered by the pull of sleep.

Cameron's hand brushes her thigh. "Don't worry about it, baby. Don't ever worry about it again, that's an order. Who takes care of you?"

"You do."

"And who will always make sure everything is okay?"

"You will." This from Daniel, curled up behind him.

"That's what I'm talking about," Cameron whispers. He doesn't close his eyes until both of them are dreaming.

Samantha "Sam" "Dynamite" Carter

When Sam gets home from her workout, the day is still new. T is in the living room, and the soundtrack to Vice City: San Andreas leaks into the hallway. Daniel is in the dining room, seated at the wide mahogany table. His laptop is open, amid a sea of paper, blueprints and training manuals.

She sniffs the pot of coffee. It's fresh, definitely not his first. A half-smoked joint hangs in his left hand, as he types with his right.

"Did you sleep at all?"

Daniel only shrugs, impatiently.

"Making any progress?"

Daniel stops typing abruptly, and looks up at her. "It's the safe," he says. "Four sequential locks. If you take too long on one, the ones you've already got shut down, and you have to start over."

Sam drops her gym bag and moves toward him, seating herself in his lap, taking the joint from him and inhaling slowly. "Could we blow it?"

Daniel shakes his head. "Any direct tampering, the alarm goes off like a siren."

Her finger traces the plans that he's been looking at, marking fuse boxes and emergency exits. "So it can't be cracked?"

"I definitely didn't say that," Daniel tells her, and by the roughness in his voice she knows he has a plan.

She's known Daniel the longest. Cameron came later, swaggering off the bus from North Carolina, carrying an antique six-shooter, with no fear and no shame. Sam likes that still.

"Power," she says suddenly, her eyes still tracking the maze of blueprints. "It runs on power."

Daniel smiles appreciatively, and kisses the back of her neck. "That's the beginning.


They're like that when Cameron comes home, an hour later. Wrapped in each other's arms, talking voltage and access points. Cameron cracks a slight smile, but hides it before Daniel can see.

Cameron raps on the table to get their attention. "Hey, Annie, get your gun. We're taking a ride."

Sam scrambles out of Daniel's arms quickly, and he tugs only briefly at her shirt as she moves away, before returning to his work. "Where to?"

"Landry wants to see us."

Cameron sounds annoyed. Sam doesn't ask why, just squeezes past him and goes upstairs.


"I called you hours ago."

Cameron and the Boss have played this game for as long as she's known them. Sam feels it too. She trusts Cameron. Hates having to work for anyone.

Landry works out of Chinese restaurant that's run by his wife, a tiny woman that still speaks no English. She brings Sam a plate of noodles, without being asked, and Sam nods her thanks, reaching for a plate of chopsticks.

Landry watches her eat.

"I got a date for the move."

Cameron raises his eyes at that. His fingers pull a shrimp of her plate. "You couldn't have called?"

"Son, these days you don't know who's listening."

"What's the date?"


Cameron's eyes narrow sharply, as he does the math. "That's Friday."


We can't do it, Sam thinks, but in nine years she's never heard Cameron say that out loud. He only pauses. "Why so soon?"

"We've got a limited window of opportunity. Target's scheduled to change locations."

"You didn't mention that before."

Landry shrugs, leaning back in his chair. "Said you didn't care." Landry frowns. "You saying you can't pull it off?"

"I'm saying we can't pull it off on what you're paying us."

Taking a sip of green tea, Sam almost smiles.

"Twenty percent," Cameron says.

"Are you building a retirement fund?" Landry asks. They settle on eighteen.

"How's Carolyn?" Cameron asks as they leave, and Sam turns back to see Landry's reaction. Cameron puts his arm around her.

But Landry only smiles. "Much better, now that she's not hanging around you."

Cameron winks at him.


In Cameron's green Benz, Sam unwraps her fortunes cookie. "You will be very lucky", it says, and she smiles. Cameron puts a hand on her thigh.

"Did that seem too easy to you?"

Sam shrugs. "He needs us. No one else in town has the skills for this."

Cameron shakes his head. "Yeah. Maybe."


When Daniel is finished with his research, he burns all the paper in the fireplace. It's all in his head now, Sam knows. He sleeps for a day and a half.


The night before a big score, Cameron never sleeps at all. Sam tucks herself into Daniel's arms, and watches Cameron at the window, outlined in the shadows between the streetlights.

When Sam sleeps, she dreams of stars exploding.


She wears a pale grey suit, over a shirt with two few buttons.

"You gonna be okay?" Cameron asks her, and she nods, as a good luck kiss brushes her mouth. He hates not being first in. Sam runs her fingers through her hair. There was a time she hated this part.

"You know, for a smart kid, you're pretty fucking stupid," Jacob Carter had told her. "You got a mark, you gotta aim for it with everything you got. Everyone uses what they have."

Then he had hit her, across the face, so hard that he she had fallen down. "See, what I have is a good right hook. Now what are you going to do about it?"

Sam pulled out the small knife she kept within her bra, and managed to draw blood, across her father's palm.

He had laughed. "Holy Hannah. I think she's got it."

She smiles at the night guard, as she strolls casually towards the elevator, and knows he's too busy watching her walk away to have noticed her face. When she dashes for the elevator, a brown-haired man holds the door. His badge says Gordon.

Her jacket pulls across her pockets as she searches her pockets. "I think I forgot my pass," she murmurs, and he swipes his card and motions her through.

"Shouldn't work so hard. It's the weekend."

Sam glances around the empty office floor, rows of silent cubicles. She smiles. "What are you doing here."

"Oh, you know." Gordon shrugs. His eyes are close together, his gaze shifting back and forth. "This and that. Overtime."

Sam nods. She's counting her paces as she steps towards the east windows, out of view of the camera above the elevators.

She puts the briefcase that she's carrying carefully on the desk nearest to her. Clicks it open, and reaches for her pistol. "Don't make any noise, sir. I need you to sit down."

When she comms Cameron on the two-way, he's up the elevator in no time. Gordon's hands are handcuffed in his lap. "You guys won't get away with this."

"Shit." Cameron's eyes widen. "I didn't think of that. Did you think of that?"

"No." Daniel shakes his head. "We should just go home."

Sam rolls her eyes. She's already stripping out of the suit, down to her bra and panties. Latex gloves go on, with a tool belt tight around her waist. "Ready?"

Daniel has pushed files and paperclips from the desk, leaving only the desktop computer with its ergonomic keyboard. Daniel types quickly.

"Password," he says, abruptly.

Sam turns her head. Gordon presses his lips together, stubbornly. "You're not going to get away with this."

The butt of Cameron's Sig Sauer hitting the back of Gordon's skull sounds a crack almost loud enough to make Sam jump, and then Cameron has Gordon over the desk, fingers on his throat. "Listen, cowboy. Who do you think sent us?"

It's the first time Gordon's skin has gone pale.

"Yeah." Cam nods. "So believe me when I say that we do not have time for this."


The ventilation shaft is tighter than Daniel's diagrams suggested. The radio crackles once, but she doesn't respond. She's humming a song that her dad taught her long ago, to help her remember everything, precisely and in order. She doesn't need it now, the bomb springs from her fingers as easy as sleeping, but it calms her.

The C4 is sticky in her hands. Just enough, Daniel instructed her, to cut off the power lines that ran to the office, just behind the shaft. Not enough to blackout the whole floor, and bring a maintenance crew running.

Sam hums underneath her breath.

The radio crackles again. "You're cutting it close, aren't you?"

Sam still doesn't answer. She's half-entranced, the hip-bone's connected to the thigh bone, London bridge is falling down, boom.

"That's number three?" she asks, shuffling out of the vent just before the boom, and landing on the floor.

Daniel nods. He's got both hands on the safe, his eyes drifting faraway. "Everybody shut up."


Daniel and Cameron leave first, with Gordon at the barrel of Cameron's gun.

"You have five minutes," Daniel tells her. He throws one bag over each shoulder.

Sam shrugs back into her suit, putting each bomb fragment that she can recover back into her suitcase, sweeping the desk and walls clean. When the bookshelf slides back into place over the violated safe, the room is as it was, save a patch on the floor that's red-brown with blood. She pushes the elevator button.

The guard started his sweep four minutes early. She can feel only adrenaline pulsing at the back of her brain, as she clasps her briefcase with both hands.

"Ma'am? Are you lost?"

Sam smiles gratefully.


The van is stolen. T has been running the engine, and now he revs backwards out of the parking structure, as Cameron helps Sam into her seat.

"What took you so long?"

Sam ignores him. "How'd we do?"

Daniel unzips another duffel, his fingers sifting quickly through the paper. "Two million in bearer bonds," he says. "Easily.

Cameron whistles through his teeth.

"You're not going to get away..." Gordon begins, and Sam's head snaps around, just in time to see Cameron grab hold of his arm.

"Open the door, Dynamite."

Gordon's face turns dark purple, enough that Sam thinks he's about to pass out. "What are you doing?"

Cameron murmurs a prayer. He does it every time. His gun goes off only once, in Gordon's chest. Sam doesn't need to look any harder to know that it was enough. They leave him on the asphalt of the parking garage, and speed off into the night.

Daniel hasn't stopped counting. His lips are pressed tight together, his gaze shifting from the take to Cameron's face. "This was a hit," he says quietly.

"Hey." Cameron looks a little hurt, hurt or surprised, but he doesn't deny it. "Mr. Gordon made some bad decisions, hung out with the wrong people, that's not my fault, Jackson. All I do is follow the playbook."


Sam squeezes into the passenger seat. "How's it looking, T?"

"Pretty good. Radio's quiet. You guys did good." T offers her a rare smile.

"Tell that to these guys." Sam points behind her at Daniel and Cameron still bracing himself on the seat, fingers hugging his pistol. "They're still waiting for..."

"Everybody down!" T screams, juking the van into a hard right turn. The bullets are coming from the left, and Sam crouches down, grabbing the shotgun that rests at her feet. By the time she pulls the trigger, the van is swerving off the road. T is slumped over the steering wheel. Her lap is covered in blood, and her head is spinning too hard for her to remember to scream.

When Sam comes to, she thinks she can smell burning. Daniel is tugging her hand. "I need you to help me move T. One of us has to drive."

"Fuck." T's eyes are wide open, and Sam's breath is still coming in helpless gasps. "What happened?"

"I don't know. I went out like you did." Only then does Sam notice the fingers hanging Daniel's left hand, probably broken. "The score is gone."

She clutches the shotgun that is still in her hands, trying to recover herself. "All of it?"


It takes both of them, pushing and pulling, to move T into the back of the van, his body twisting grotesquely.

"Cameron..." Sam whispers.

"He's breathing," Daniel says, as he restarts the engine."

Sam crawls towards Cameron, her hands touching his chest. Blood soaks his shirt, but she can still make out the faint thump of his pulse.

Daniel doesn't try to reassure her. "We have to get him to a doctor," is all he says.

Daniel "The Doctor" Jackson

Carolyn meets them at her office. It's one am, and her eyes are still cloudy from the sleep she was pulled out of. Her mouth is hard. Daniel still doesn't know all the details of what happened between her and Cameron, doesn't care all that much. Like everything else, it was a long time ago.

"Three?" she asks, and she still hasn't let them in. "You want me to pull three bullets out of Cameron in the middle of the night?"

Beside him, Sam tenses. She's a moment away, Daniel knows, from drawing her shotgun and forcing the issue.

Daniel's voice is calm, much calmer that he feels. "You know your dad was involved?" he asks her.

"Shit." Carolyn doesn't pause long, before she props open the door.


They lay Cameron out on the clean sheets of the exam table. He comes to again, long enough to give Sam a smile, and then his eyes drift closed. Carolyn pulls her hair into a ponytail. She looks the opposite of a doctor, in blue jeans and flip flops, as she scrubs her hands.

"I need you guys to understand something," she says, pulling on her gloves. "This is not a fully functioning OR." She glances over at Daniel, performing triage as her eyes run over his body. "What happened to your hand?"

"It'll wait," Daniel tells her. "Do your best."

The pain is bad, his fingers throbbing all the way to his wrist. Just bad enough for him to be sure he can keep going.


In the tiny office restroom, Sam lets Daniel pull off the clothes that she is wearing. Soaked with blood, they stick to her skin. True to her instructions Carolyn brought a sweater and a skirt, slightly too small. Daniel pulls Sam into them, forcing the zipper upwards with his good hand.

"It'll be okay," Daniel whispers quietly, his arms sliding around her waist.

Sam shakes her head. Her mind is somewhere else. "I don't understand what happened, Daniel. Did we trip an alarm?"

"Those weren't the cops," Daniel points out evenly.

"Not everyone calls the cops." Sam has stopped shaking. Her body is very, very still, leaning against his. "Do they?'

Daniel shakes his head. He'd memorised that building, and knew the safe as if he'd made it with his own hands. "Plan was perfect," he says, and he's not bragging. Just stating fact. "There were no alarms."

They kiss then, forcefully. Sam grabs hard at his shirt.

"I saw them," Daniel adds, quietly. "You didn't see them. I saw one of them."

"Yeah?" she asks him.

"Yeah." It had been dark. But the eyes had been familiar. "When Cam wakes up, we're going to have to ask him what to do."


The procedure takes hours. When Carolyn emerges, her eyes are steady but hopeful. She lets them in to see him. He's awake, and the rhythm of his breathing is irregular but strong.

"He needs rest," she says. "Weeks of it. I don't suppose there's any chance..."

"No," Daniel answers quietly.

She sighs. "Okay. Well, he's still very weak. Whatever you're planning, try to take that into account."

Daniel nods. Sam has moved towards the exam table, pulling herself gingerly up onto it. Cameron's hand slides into hers. "See you're wearing a skirt," he says.

She nods, absently. Her fingers pull against his, as if checking to make sure that he's really still there. "Don't get used to it, Shaft."

"Well." Cameron takes a hard breath, as his smile fades. His blue eyes pass back and forth between them. "What do you want to do, kids?"

Sam bends over him carefully, obviously afraid to touch him even as she kisses his cheek. Though Sam's mouth moves, it is Daniel who speaks, his eyes meeting Sam's from above Sam's blonde hair. "Kill Donovan."


When Carolyn gives Cameron something that pulls him back into sleep, Daniel makes the call. Sam has to dial, and then she hands him the receiver. On the phone, Landry sounds far away, almost small. "Thought you folk would be in Mexico by now," he says, calmly.

"We can get it all back."

Landry chuckles softly. "Okay. Thought you might come to your senses."

Daniel takes a deep breath, and it's not fear that he's pushing down, but anger, threatening to spill over into things he doesn't need to say, not now. He holds Sam's hand, and her pulse is a steadying beat against his palm. "This is what we're not going to do, Landry. We're not going to play games. I know where they are. You know where they are. That's why you couldn't afford to have us pull out at any price." Daniel talks fast, syllables clipped, not trusting himself even to pause for breath. "I don't know when you started rolling over for Balls, but either way, we'll get them back. All you have to do is stay out of our way."

There's a long pause on the line. "Where’s Mitchell?" he asks, finally.

"Doesn't matter. He's being taken care of."

Landry pauses. He's on the hook now, almost, and Daniel can hear it. "I think it does matter, son. Because with an asshole like Donovan, you can't just ice him. You have to take out everyone around him."

Daniel's eyes meet Sam's. She's nodding.

"We will," Daniel says. "You just decide which side you want to be on when it's over."

Daniel hangs up.


Carolyn sets his hand, binding the fingers together. She offers him painkillers. Daniel shakes his head. There will be time for that later, or there won't be, but either way it won't matter.

"I'm serious," she tells him. "Be careful. Cameron has lost a lot of blood. He's in no condition to shoot at anything."

"Yeah," Daniel says. He's not listening. He's looking at his watch, calculating the time, plotting the distance between each mark he's got lined up.

"Neither are you," she adds, as an afterthought.


Jack O'Neill is a hard person to get a hold of. They meet in a park. It's dawn, and the park is empty, save a few joggers, ignoring Daniel as they run past.

"Is it all there?" Sam asks. Daniel lets her do the talking. He rubs people the wrong way, for reasons that he's never understood.

O'Neill nods, taking the case that Daniel hands him, as he passes over both of his own. "Everything but the nuclear weapons. Are you guys going to invade the Middle East, or what?"

"You don't want to know," Sam tells him.

He nods, abruptly, as he pulls his cap down over his forehead in a half-salute. "You're right. I don't. You folks have a nice day, now."


Daniel watches Sam put everything together, crouched over Carolyn's waiting room floor. She slides clips into place, checking every trigger and chamber, twisting a silencer onto the gun she hands to Daniel. "Give this to Cam."

Daniel nods, his fingers pausing for a moment over hers. "You ready?"

Sam offers him a tight smile. "Always. You?"

He kisses her, and that's when the windows shatter, one after the other, in a hail of bullets. Daniel grabs the semi-automatic rifle she gives him, as he crouches towards the window. "That was fast."

He grabs hold of Carolyn Lam, one second before another round of bullets sail through the small office, into the space where she had been standing. "You okay?"

"Get off me." She twists her arm free, already running for the exam room. "If you think I took those fucking bullets out just to see him full of holes again..."

Daniel lets her go. Wondering suddenly if she's still in love with him, and then her stream of swearing is drowned out by the sound of gunfire. Some of it coming from Carolyn, Daniel thinks, as she grabs the rifle out of Cameron's hands.

Daniel finds Sam, crouched underneath a window. "You think you can hold it here?"

Sam nods wordlessly, the pin of a grenade in her mouth. She holds her other hand up, all five fingers, to indicate the number of targets she's spotted. Counting silently, she tosses the grenade from the shattered window, a perfect lob under the carriage of the black sedan in the middle of the street. She watches the explosion with a calm face, and then four fingers close. Only Junior Donovan still staggers in the street, gun firing. "We'll be fine," she says, spitting the pin out.

Daniel pauses, watching her. He was there, when her father died. It's his plan and it's flawless, but he doesn't want to take this from her. "You sure?" he asks softly. "Maybe you should be the one to go."

She hesitates, before she shakes her head. She reaches for the semi-automatic pistol at her side, and Daniel doesn't need to look to know that she's got a perfect shot.


As he drives, the elbow of his broken hand propped against the window, Daniel can't help watching Cameron, slumped in the passenger seat. His mouth is still pale, and Daniel doesn't like it. His right hand rubs a small circle, on a patch on Cameron's knee.

"It went down just how you said."

Daniel nods, pulling Carolyn's car to a full stop at a school crossing. It's lunchtime now, almost. "Yeah," he agrees.

"You think Landry gave us up?"

"I think Landry is waiting to see how it all shakes out," Daniel says, then pauses. "He's a shark. But he wouldn't sell out his daughter. I think Balls has eyes in his office. Maybe ears on his phone."

"Makes sense." Cameron nods.

"What does?"

"Something he said to me last week."

Daniel pulls the gun from his jacket. "Sam told me to give you this."

Cameron shakes his head. "Carrie's right. I can't shoot straight. I could barely hold that thing up. You're gonna have to do it, Jackson."

Daniel nods.

"You okay with that?"

Daniel doesn't answer. He doesn't quite understand the question.


They enter Landry's restaurant through the kitchen, unnoticed in the crowd. Donavan has a table at the centre of the room, where Landry sits opposite him. They stand for a moment in the doorway, watching. Donovan does most of the talking, though Daniel can't hear the words. Landry's wife pours tea, and as he approaches Daniel guides her gently with one hand, out of the way.

Balls is laughing. Daniel sees Cameron's eyes meet Landry's, with an answer written clearly, one Daniel hadn't thought to count on. The Boss has put his chopsticks down, lying neatly across his plate.

"You make up your mind?" Cameron asks softly, easing into a chair next to Balls. Because his legs won't hold him up, Daniel knows, and hopes that no one else can tell.

Landry shrugs. "Why don't you just pretend I'm not here?"

Balls' dark eyes flicker at that. "Gentlemen," he says, and he talks slowly as always. "Why don't we talk this through, before anyone does anything that they'll regret?"

"If you're waiting for your brother to call," Cameron says, "he's dead by now."

Balls' face flushes. Not grief, Daniel thinks, but anger. "If that's true," he says, "it won't help you get your score back."

"It will," Cameron says quietly. Daniel's fingers tighten around the grip of Sam's gun, sitting underneath his shirt, against his skin. He takes his eyes off Donovan for a moment, knowing he shouldn't, but he can't help watching Cameron. Cameron's whole body is still, as quiet as Daniel's ever seen him in nine years. "But that ain't the point." Cameron is gently easing his chair backwards, its legs scraping the wood floor. "The point is, the king is dead."

"Long live the king." Daniel doesn't close his eyes when he squeezes the trigger. He puts four bullets into Balls' chest, enough that there's nothing left holding him together, and Daniel has blood on his hands, on his shirt, on his shoes. One slug for Cameron, one for T. Two for Sam, and without thinking he says her name out loud.

In a crowded restaurant, not a single person moves.


Daniel has to help Cameron up, after. He lets the sound of Cameron's voice hold him up. He's seen blood before, seen men die before. This shouldn't be any different.


"Maybe we should take a vacation."

Cameron starts to heal, and in days the colour has returned to his face. Sam leans gently against him, underneath the window. Daniel holds her, and they both feel full in his arms, heavy, the end of everything. Cameron looks at him when he says that, though, and shakes his head. "And go where, Jackson? Denver is ours."

"What are we going to do with it?" Sam asks, gently.

"Whatever we want, Dynamite. That's the point."

"I want to take a vacation," Daniel says again. Beyond Cameron's shoulder the sun sinks into the asphalt, drowning. His hand strokes Sam's hair. "I don't trust it."

"Trust what?" Sam asks him, her voice muffled against Cameron's skin.

"Any of it." Daniel can't explain, he only knows that this city isn't really his to hold. Only Sam is, and Cameron, his eyes drifting closed as he thinks.

"I'll figure it out," Cameron says, finally, and Daniel puts a hand on Cameron's skin, over new scars and old, and nods. He believes that.


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