Touch of Apollo
Summary: Sam is having disturbing visions that she comes to believe may foretell the future. Not having much experience with prophesying, she turns to Jonas Quinn for advice on how to prevent impending disaster.
Rating: PG 13
Disclaimer: I don't own them, I just enjoy getting inside of their heads from time to time...
Author's Note: This idea's one I've been playing around with for some time now but never got around to setting down on paper (Jonas withdrawal, you know). All it took was one mention of Jonas in an ep and a trailer of Sam hallucinating and I suddenly couldn't resist the impulse to start it (Black Hawk's Snow helped wake up my Jonas muse, too. thanks, sister).
Another Author's Note: By way of explanation, Apollo was, among other things, the god of Prophecy. Damned vindictive as well. He once cursed a priestess of his who had displeased him with the ability to see the future, but only horrible catastrophes. Further, as part of this curse, no one would ever believe anything she foretold. Eventually she was driven completely mad by this. Now you know where the title comes from...
"My, God, Sam! What happened here?" Daniel gasped, rushing into the temple. He stopped in his tracks when he saw Teal'c lying face-down on the ground.
Sam watched herself step over the Jaffa with a faint smile, approaching Daniel. "Bow to your god," she ordered in a voice not her own. "On your knees."
Daniel's eyes widened. "Sam, don't do this. I know you're in there."
"Nothing of the host remains, insolent boy." She raised her ribbon-device, firing a searing burst of heat at him. "On your knees!" she ordered.
"Sam!" he gasped, dropping to the floor. "Don't!"
Her eyes narrowed. "You are not worthy even to serve. Except perhaps as an example." With these words, she raised the ribbon-device again, smiling as Daniel howled in pain. Her smiled faded as she felt cold metal against her temple.
"Let him go, Sam," Jack ordered in a harsh voice.
"O'Neill. I thought my Jaffa had killed you," she said, not releasing Daniel from his torture.
"You have Sam's memories. You should know I'm a hard man to kill. You should also know that I will kill you if you don't let Daniel go."
"I do have the host's memories. And so I know that you will kill me anyway." With these words, she turned towards, Jack, her side-arm in her free hand. She pressed it to her stomach. "We die together, our love."
Sam woke screaming, but it was the commotion in her room rather than her own screams that roused her. There was a female MP shaking her awake as other MPs scanned the room with their eyes, murmuring uneasily.
She found her voice, glad for the darkness because she was blushing. Not again… "It's okay. There's nothing here."
"You were screaming," the female MP said, her eyes wide and uncertain.
"It's okay, Airman Collins," Sam assured her, reading the girl's name-tag.
An E-2, she must have been fresh out of technical school, probably not even old enough to drink. Definitely not old enough for life at the SGC. Sam could read the fear in her eyes, fear echoed by many of the MPs warily regarding her. 'Foothold situation', the phrase that every last member of the SGC had been trained to fear more than 'nuclear Armageddon'. Of course, it was worse, even if most people never could, and mercifully never would, understand why.
"Go back to your patrol," Sam ordered brusquely.
"The doctor on call, said--"
Sam moaned softly, raising a hand to forestall her. "Fine," she said, rising. "I'll got the infirmary. The rest of you get back to work!" she snapped, glaring at them and at the medics who had just arrived. "Well?" she demanded of them. "Let's go already." Shaking her head, she swept past them and stalked towards the infirmary.
"Big ones out of little ones, Janet!" Sam protested the next morning. "You can't take me off active duty for a few sleepless nights!"
"It's been more than a few, Sam, and you know it. Besides, this is the second time this week you've woken up screaming."
Not exactly true, since she had also woken up more than once screaming into her pillow, but Sam wasn't about to point that out. "They're just nightmares," she protested.
"I don't care, Sam," Janet said firmly. "My official diagnosis is overwork. I'm putting you on a week's medical leave." She held up her hand as Sam opened her mouth. "I've already discussed this with the General. He agrees with me. They've all noticed that you haven't been sleeping, Sam. Hell, Jack came to me before you did and Daniel not long after. Even Teal'c's worried."
"There's nothing to worry about!"
"Maybe not, but I'd feel better being safe. Now, all your tests are coming back normal, so I see no reason for you to stay on base if you'd rather not. In fact, I'd recommend against it. A change of scenery will do you good."
Sam shook her head in frustration. "What did you tell the General?"
"Insomnia. I saw no reason to mention the nightmares since all of your tests are normal."
"If they're all normal, then there's nothing wrong."
"I beg to differ. And that's an informed medical opinion, by the way. The last time I saw nightmares this bad…" She caught herself short. "Well, let's just say that it isn't exactly an indicator of overall good health. You are exhausted, Sam, physically and emotionally. You will rest or I will enforce it. That's final."
She started to protest, then changed her mind. Janet was giving her that look that only a mother and a doctor could give someone. Sighing, she held up her hands in defeat. "Okay. So I guess it won't kill me to spend a few days in my own home instead of on base."
"That's the spirit." Janet smiled at her. "And any time you want to join Cassie and I for supper, you're more than welcome to."
"Thanks, Janet." Sam sighed and rose. "I guess I'd better go tell Colonel O'Neill…"
Janet smiled reassuringly. "Oh, I asked the General to talk to him."
Sam smiled as she left the infirmary, faintly reassured. Jack's temper was whimsical at the best of times, even without depriving him of his second in command. Reflecting on his probably reaction to her week off, Sam found herself thinking about Janet's words, that Jack had gone to the Doctor before Sam herself had. Just like Jack to not let anything get past him, but she still wished that he had gone to her instead.
"Carter!" the object of her reflections hailed her as she walked to her room to get her things.
"Sir." She stopped and turned to face him, studying his expression and posture for clues as to his mood. That behavior had become instinctive over the years and was always very useful.
He regarded her with ill-concealed worry. "You feeling okay, Carter?"
"Yes, sir. Just insomnia, sir."
"Insomnia, huh?" he asked, gesturing for her to continue walking.
"That's what Janet says," Sam told him, turning and resuming her interrupted trip and wondering at his tone of voice.
She was not even slightly surprised when he followed her to her quarters, knowing that he would probably see her topside just to make sure that she went home instead of hiding herself away in the lab for the week. What surprised her was that he did not speak as they walked, not even acknowledging a handful of greetings from others they passed. That was unusual from him for any number of reasons and it unsettled her. He only got that quiet when he was thinking about something. Hard.
"Need help packing?" he asked as he followed her into her quarters.
"No, sir. I don't have much here that I need." She grabbed her overnight back and began piling things in. "Most of my stuff is at the house."
"How long has it been since you've been at home anyway?" he asked.
"Don't know. A few weeks." She shrugged. Time had a habit of getting away from a person at the SGC, between the lack of natural light and the constant off-world trips to planets with radically different nights and days.
"Six of them, actually," he announced flatly, dropping onto her bed and watching her pack.
She froze. Even with her back to him, she could feel his eyes boring into her. "Six?" she repeated, swallowing hard and struggling to master her paranoia. It was as if he knew something…
"That's right. Unless you've been taking off without signing out."
"You've been checking up on me?" she asked, not particularly surprised and actually, unaccountably, relieved that that was all it was.
"CO takes care of the troops under his command," he pointed out. "General tells me that you haven't been getting much sleep? Stress-related fatigue?"
"That's what Janet said." Sam shrugged. "She seems to think that having nothing to do will help the insomnia."
"Just insomnia, then?" Jack asked quietly.
She spun to face him. "That's right, sir," she told him cautiously, her eyes searching his face. Poker-face, of course. He always played close to the chest, even with those he trusted.
"Funny. That's not what Teal'c says."
"Teal'c?" she repeated, frowning uncertainly.
"Yeah, you know. Big guy, doesn't sleep…"
"What about him?" she asked, ignoring the sarcasm.
"He said you were having some pretty nasty dreams last off-world trip."
Sam closed her eyes. Off-world trips… The one time that she could not hide such things from her team-mates. Tents were not the best insulators of sound to begin with, and when one of your comrades did not require sleep, there were no nighttime secrets off-world...
"Did he?" she asked cautiously.
His concerned expression was instantly by an irritated one. "As a matter of fact, Carter, he did. So did last night's Duty Officer."
She sighed and dropped her overnight bag, sitting on the bed next to him. "So, I've been having bad dreams. It's no big deal." She shrugged. "Janet says all the tests are coming back normal. I'm fine. Not drugged, not infested, not possessed, just having bad dreams…"
"Want to talk about them?" he asked.
"I don't remember them," she lied.
"Like hell you don't," he answered flatly. "You just don't want to talk about it."
Sam blinked. "What makes you think that?"
"The fact that you get secretive and defensive every time it's brought up."
She snorted softly. "Maybe it's just embarrassing to be a grown woman losing sleep over a few bad dreams."
"I don't buy it, Sam. I know you too well."
She closed her eyes and shook her head. "I don't want to talk about it, sir."
"I can't order you to, but I'm here if you change your mind about talking."
"Does Janet know what you've been dreaming about?" he asked abruptly.
Startled by the question, she answered automatically, "No."
"I didn't think so."
"What?" she asked, genuinely confused by the comment.
He shrugged. "I just doubted she'd have let you off base if she knew."
Sam closed her eyes again and made a mental note to have a long talk with Teal'c. "How much did he hear?"
"More than the MPs, fortunately." Jack shrugged. "'Bow to your god' ring any bells?"
She nodded weakly.
"How long has this been going on, Carter?"
"Too long." She shrugged. "A few weeks, I guess."
"Want to talk about it?"
"I really don't remember much to talk about, sir, to tell you the truth. Just… flashes. Fighting, watching myself kill him…" She trailed off, unable to believe that she had added that part. To her surprise, Jack did not look at all taken aback.
"And you are positive you aren't under any kind of alien control?" he asked carefully.
Sam shook her head. "I've been controlled more than once, sir, in more than one ways. I'd know, I think, at least on some level." She shrugged. "I can always tell my dreams from Jolinar's…"
"And I'm guessing these aren't hers?"
"No. The feeling I get… in the dreams, it's almost like when I was possessed by that computer program, like I'm trapped and screaming to get out. But at the same time, I'm… there. It's more immediate. Jolinar's control wasn't like that, and her memories are… well, even if I believed that she could have done something like that, it's you guys in the dreams and these are not her memories." She shrugged, aware that he had gotten her to say far more than she had intended to about the dreams. "That much I know. Beyond that… I have to think that Janet might be right. It's been awhile since I've had any real down-time. Maybe it is just stress and subconscious fears…"
"Maybe." He nodded faintly. "Look, I've already made Teal'c promise not to share what he overheard, and I promise not to either unless I have a damned good reason for it."
"As in, if I start acting like a Gua'old, you'll assume I am one?" she asked, faintly amused that he had bothered to qualify the statement at all. They all knew the score when it came to these matters, and none of them would readily have ignored warning signs, even in each other.
"More or less." He shrugged. "You still coming over tonight?"
She frowned faintly at the request before remembering that she had, in fact, promised to join him and the others at his place to watch the hockey game. Rest and relaxation, knocking back a few suds with her friends. Janet could not object to that even if they were her team-mates.
"You bet." She grinned and nodded in spite of the fact that she was not overly fond of hockey. Sometimes it was just nice to immerse one's self in the mundane for a few hours. Just what the Doctor had ordered in this case.
"Great. See you there. Walk you to your car?" he offered.
She chuckled and shook her head, retrieving her bag. "I knew you were going to say that."
"Reading minds now, Carter?" he asked with a grin. "Careful not to do that around Doc Frasier or she'll insist on more tests…"
She smiled and shook her head. Jack joked frequently about Janet's fondness for running tests and poking people with needles, but he was genuinely fond of her, as all members of the SGC were.
They walked in comfortable silence, and Jack saw Sam as far as her car, watching her pull out of the lot before returning to the base.
"If Carter signs back in between now and this time next week, I want to know about it," he told the desk-guard.
"Yes, Colonel," he answered, making a quick notation to that effect.
"Thanks," he sighed, shaking his head and starting for his office where a stack of paperwork awaited his attention.
Jonas sighed and rubbed his forehead, putting his pen down and closing his eyes.
"Sir?" his secretary asked, regarding him with concern.
"You know what I miss most about saving the universe, Rebecca?" he asked, smiling reassuringly at her.
"What, sir?" she asked, frowning uncertainly.
"The fact that someone else handled most of the paperwork," he told her, grinning. "Could you make me a pot of tea, please?"
"Of course, sir." She nodded and rose from her desk, leaving the room.
"I wish she'd stop calling me that," Jonas sighed when the girl was gone. Of course, it was an improvement over 'Representative Quinn', still...
He gasped as his vision started to swim, wondering what vision he was to be visited with this time. They had returned not long after he had left the SGC, a fact that he had not shared with anyone. It was useful in diplomacy to know what objections others were going to raise before they raised them. And, generally, the visions were not particularly troubling in content.
He still disliked them, though, especially given the results of his most recent physical. The abnormal mass in his brain was back and it was growing... Cutting open his head had not changed his genetic code and it was that code that caused the changes in his brain. Even before Nirrti had interfered with that, he had seen things and made connections that others could not. The visions were just an extension of that, the next natural step in his evolution.
Inhaling deeply, he closed his eyes and let the vision wash over him.
"Sam, hey! What are you doing here? Everything okay?"
"I was hoping we could talk..."
"Always, yeah. Here, let's go into my study. Is everything okay?"
"I don't know. I don't think so..."
Jonas frowned, rubbing his eyes and turning the vision over in his head. Why would Sam come to Kellwona to talk to him? About something important, too, judging by her tone. She had not looked well, either. He shook his head, troubled, and tried to decide if he should visit her first.
"Your tea, sir. Is everything okay?" Rebecca asked, setting the tray on his desk.
"Fine, Rebecca. Thank you."
"You're welcome, sir." She paused. "I have a message from your doctor, sir..."
"No," Jonas said, shaking his head. Rebecca did not know what the doctor wanted Jonas to have done and he preferred to keep it that way. "Tell him the answer is still no."
He was not about to let anyone cut him open, not again. Whatever the growth in his brain did to him eventually, it was a part of who he was now, and he would not let anyone take that away. The sense of loss he had felt on awakening without that ability to see... Never again.
"Yes, sir." She nodded. "I'll inform him."
"Oh, and leave orders with the butlers and maids that if one Major Samantha Carter calls, she's to be admitted immediately and I'm to be informed the instant she arrives no matter what I'm doing at the time."
"Yes, sir." She nodded again.
"And after that, why don't you take the rest of the day off," he suggested. "I think I'm about done with paperwork today." He needed to meditate, to see if he could tease anything more out of the vision.
"If you're sure, sir."
"I am. Say hi to Isaac for me," he added as she left.
Sighing and shaking his head, Jonas rose and poured himself a cup of tea, leaving the office for the sanctuary of his bedroom.