Title: The Things We Demand From Love
Author: Mei Mei
Category: Hurt/Comfort, Angst
Spoilers: Anything pre-seven. Specific references to Divide and Conquer, The Tomb
Season: Early seven, pre Heroes, pre Chimera (I tend to ignore that one anyway!)
Content Warnings: After effects of torture; nothing graphic
Summary: Captured and tortured, Sam asks the impossible of Jack.
Disclaimer: Stargate Sg-1 and its characters are the property of Stargate (II) Productions, Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. This story is for entertainment purposes only and no money exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author. This story may not be posted elsewhere without the consent of the author.
File Size: 226 kb
Archive: If you want to post it elsewhere, please email me.
Author's Note: This is not as shippy as my first story, but it is there. Special thanks to my beta, Tame! (P.S. There is already a sequel in the works!)
The Things We Demand From Love
Colonel Jack O'Neill watched as the event horizon opened with its customary 'kwoosh'. The mission was exploration of P3X-882, another heavily forested planet with potential for scientific research. The planet was not on the cartouche on Abydos; it was from the coordinates entered by yours truly from the knowledge the Ancients dumped in his brain a few years ago. Hopefully, that meant that there wouldn't be any snakehead Goa'uld to worry them. O'Neill snapped out of his reverie at the familiar sound of General Hammond, "SG-1, you have a go."
"Let's go, kids." O'Neill took point as he glanced back to see the rest of his team following him up the ramp. Dr. Daniel Jackson, archaeologist extraordinaire, and his 2IC, Major Samantha Carter, astrophysics genius, were side by side. Teal'c, the indomitable Jaffa, took their six. As he stepped into the watery looking event horizon, he smiled slightly. They were the best team in the SGC, in his totally non-biased humble opinion. They worked like four parts of a whole. Daniel was their conscious, Carter was their brains and Teal'c was their strength. And O'Neill, well, he was the glue that kept them together.
The team emerged on the other side of the gate to a beautiful sunny day. It was early here, the sun still low in its rise to the sky. The temperature was moderate, mid-70's, with a cool breeze blowing. The M.A.L.P. had shown signs of a trail off to the east, but was overgrown, as though it hadn't been used in a long time. After they moved the M.A.L.P. into the nearby brush and camouflaged it, O'Neill headed the direction of the path and the team followed him. Carter fell in line behind O'Neill then Daniel, with Teal'c, bringing up the rear.
"This trail looks like it hasn't been used in many years," Carter said to no one in particular, "Of course we don't know the growth rate of vegetation on this planet, and so it could be deceiving."
O'Neill nodded his acknowledgment, keeping eyes roaming in search of any unforeseen dangers. About 100 yards from the gate, he paused as the trail split into two separate paths, each equally overgrown as the one they had used to get here. "Okay, anyone want to recommend a direction?"
Carter, Daniel and Teal'c moved up next to him. "O'Neill, we should split up and investigate both paths," Teal'c replied.
"Okay, Teal'c, you take Daniel; Carter, you're with me." Jack indicated the left fork for his Jaffa friend and moved to the right with Carter behind him.
O'Neill and Carter walked in silence, her fiddling with her meter. O'Neill's eyes moved continuously as he scanned the area.
"Sir, I am getting small reading of naquadah ore in that direction, but nothing significant." Carter pointed toward the south, slightly at an angle to the trail they had been following for the last 30 minutes. O'Neill stopped to examine the direction she pointed. The underbrush looked very heavy, difficult to travel through.
"Teal'c, come in." O'Neill thumbed his radio.
"Teal'c here, O'Neill."
"What direction is your trail taking you? Carter picked up some naquadah readings to the south of here."
"We are heading north. It appears the trail is circling around and behind the Stargate. We have not found any sign of naquadah or civilization."
"Okay, head back to the fork in the trail and this direction. We are about two clicks down from there. We'll wait for you here. O'Neill out."
O'Neill motioned for them to take cover in the underbrush to wait for their teammates. Carter faded into the bushes on one side of the trail, O'Neill on the other. He sat there watching her play with her equipment. She was an amazing officer and woman. He had feelings for her that he shouldn't and he knew that she had similar feelings for him. The zatarc incident several years ago had seen to it that they confess those feelings but they never spoke of them after that. There had been times he could see it in her eyes. And he knew that, although he had tried not to show it, his eyes had given him away as well. But they kept things professional and worked well together in spite of it.
His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of his radio crackling in his ear. "O'Neill, we are nearing the fork in the trail and have heard the sound of the Stargate activating. We have taken cover in the brush and will report when possible." Teal'c's voice was low and controlled.
O'Neill watched as Carter put away her toys and moved further back into the brush south of the trail, disappearing entirely from his view. He pulled back further on his side of the trail. His first thought was Hammond was trying to contact them, but they had only been gone a little over an hour. Probably Goa'uld, but where had they gotten the gate address from? Most of the addresses from the Ancient had no Goa'uld activity and those that had showed obvious signs of their presence.
His radio crackled into life. "O'Neill, there are 10 Jaffa, headed your direction." Teal'c's voice was very low. "Roger that, stay put," O'Neill replied quietly.
Teal'c crouched in the brush, every muscle taunt as he watched the Jaffa head in the direction of his comrades. He knew that O'Neill and Carter were accomplished warriors, yet he wanted to follow to insure their safety should they need help. He could only wait for word from them since to do so could further endanger them.
Daniel had heard Jack's terse reply. He and Teal'c had watched quietly while the Jaffa moved on to the path that Jack and Sam had taken. The M.A.L.P. was hidden in the brush near the gate; he could only pray that the Jaffa hadn't seen it. Unfortunately, even he knew that there were signs in the high grass on the trails to indicate that someone had passed through here. He only hoped that the Jaffa thought it was from their people or any natives that might live here. He had tried to see the tattoos on the foreheads of the Jaffa, to see if he could recognize the Goa'uld they served. It looked like a snake but vertical instead of the one that horizontally crossed Teal'c's forehead. He couldn't be sure. He hoped that Teal'c would know, once it was safe to ask him.
Teal'c and Daniel waited breathlessly while the last of the Jaffa passed them. They had no idea if any had been left to guard the Stargate. Daniel felt that waiting was the hardest part of this job. Well, that and the getting shot at, beat up, broken limbs...well, no one said the job would be easy. Taking his lead from Teal'c, Daniel settled in to wait for word from Jack and Sam.
O'Neill heard the Jaffa approach. He was so still it would be hard for someone to believe he was alive and not a statue. His eyes moved slightly to where he knew Carter was hiding. 'Can't see her,' his mind said with approval. The Jaffa slowed and spoke quietly. O'Neill tried to remember if there had been any signs left on the trail other than some occasionally disturbed grass. There shouldn't have been. The ground was dry, too hard for boot prints. The grass itself was hard and bounced back quickly. If the Jaffa were here, surely there were others, so the vague marks of someone passing shouldn't be too unusual. 'Shit,' the marks would have disappeared at the point they entered the brush. He knew that Teal'c and Bra'tec were masters at tracking. He only hoped that these Jaffa weren't as skilled!
The leader of the Jaffa, Kaveh, had noticed small indentions here and there in the grass. His skill at tracking was limited but he saw definite signs of someone passing. He knew that no one was supposed to have used this trail since he left Zagros a week ago. He knew his god, Angra Mainyu, was not expecting anyone here except himself and his warriors. He softly passed instructions to them to be watchful for intruders. His warriors readied their staff weapons for action as he motioned them to move forward slowly, watching the brush on either side for evidence of impending attack.
Jack watched them moving forward, weapons ready. Something had alerted them to their presence. His hands slowly clenched and unclenched the P90 that had been at the ready since Teal'c's terse message. He still couldn't see Carter but he knew that she would be alert and ready for trouble. He wished that she were closer, at least on the same side of the path as he was, but strategically their positions were better. If one were spotted, the other would be in a position to help or get help.
The Jaffa were even with his position; Carter was about three feet further up the trail. The first few warriors passed by him. 'So far, so good,' he thought. Teal'c has said there were ten so he kept count. Now seven had passed by him. Eight. He didn't see the last two. Surely, Teal'c had not miscounted. He remained in cover, almost holding his breath, as the eighth Jaffa passed Carter's position. Still no sign of numbers nine and ten. He hoped Carter was keeping count and wouldn't reveal her position yet. 'Dumb thought, O'Neill, of course she was.'
Carter watched from her concealed position as the eighth Jaffa passed her position. Remaining quiet, but ready, she couldn't see any sign of the last two. She knew where the Colonel was, but couldn't see him. She could almost feel his tension. They had worked together for so long under so many unusual circumstances it was almost as if they had a psychic connection. She knew instinctively what he would do or say in most situations. Still no more Jaffa. She was afraid they might have backtracked to the gate. She hoped that Daniel and Teal'c had remained under cover. There was nothing they could do so no sense in worrying. Until the last two Jaffa put in an appearance neither she nor Jack could do anything but wait.
Kaveh and his warriors moved on down the trail, keeping alert. He had ordered two of his men to wait for several minutes before proceeding down the trail. If someone was out there, they may assume that it is safe and show themselves. So far, there were no sounds to indicate that there was anyone behind them. Kaveh had noticed that there were no further signs of passage on the trail. Whoever, or whatever, was out there must have left the trail before this spot. He knew that Angra Mainyu expected him, but he needed to insure that no one was following them.
Kaveh motioned for the Jaffa closest to him. "Jamsheed, run ahead and tell our lord that we suspect intruders. We are going to investigate further. Bring reinforcements with you on your return." The Jaffa nodded and took off at a fast pace. Turning to the other warriors, "I want to return up the trail and search around the brush. If there has been someone here recently, I want them found!" Quickly and quietly, the remaining seven Jaffa headed back up the trail.
Jack was antsy. Something was wrong. Twenty minutes had passed and the last two Jaffa had not yet appeared. He didn't dare try making radio contact with Daniel and Teal'c for fear the stragglers would show up at that point. He didn't want to just sit here. He knew the Jaffa were suspicious and might return with reinforcements. Thumbing his radio, he spoke very softly, "Carter, there should be two more but I don't think it's safe to stay here any longer. Make your way across the path to me. We'll try to head back to the gate through the woods." He was on the north side of the trail, the direction of the gate, and as much as he hated the idea of Carter being exposed, it was the best plan he had at the moment. "Roger," was the short response he received.
He watched as the brush across the trail began to move slightly. He could see Carter on her stomach crawl out of the cover where she had been concealed. He held his breath as she reached the open area at the edge of the trail. His head moved from side to side, watched both directions for anyone approaching on the trail. He bit his lip to keep from urging her to hurry. She was doing it right - slow, careful, and as quiet as possible, trying not to leave too many traces of her passing. He couldn't help but be anxious. He didn't know where the other two Jaffa had gotten off to. He couldn't believe that Teal'c could have had the body count wrong.
Carter pulled herself up into a low crouch, looking up and down the trail; he could see her legs tensing for the quick run to the other side. Just as she pushed herself off with her right foot, he heard it! "Jaffa, Kree!!" The original group had retraced their steps! Sam stopped as a staff weapon blast landed right in front of her. She swung around quickly and dived for the brush. The Jaffa ran forward, weapons firing into the brush after Carter. Jack waited until the Jaffa were closer and opened fire. Two fell quickly, a third followed. Jack could see four others diving for cover. That was seven, where was the eighth?
And the other two from Teal'c's original report, where were they? A ball of fire landed within two feet of Jack. Well, that answered his last question. The two that were waiting behind had pinpointed his location and were firing into the brush. Carter had yet to fire her weapon, which forced him to conclude that she was injured, or worse. Jack thumbed his radio, "Teal'c, Daniel, we are under fire, return to the gate immediately for reinforcements!"
Daniel's voice came over the radio, "Jack, we can't leave you and Sam! We can help you!"
Jack fired another volley of bullets at the Jaffa and quickly answered, "Daniel, get to the gate, they will have called for reinforcements. You can't help! Move now!!!" He released the radio to return fire. "We will follow your orders, O'Neill. Teal'c out." Relieved that Teal'c understood the foolishness of attempting rescue at this time, Jack continued to lay down fire, alternating between the Jaffa on either side of him. He stopped firing when the Jaffa leader pulled a dazed Carter out of the thicket demanding, "Cease your attack or this one dies!" The Jaffa armed the staff weapon and aimed it, point blank, at Carter's head.
Jack slowly raised his hands, his weapon in the air. "Okay, I'm coming out. Don't do anything hasty."
Kaveh watched the man walk out of the bushes. He and the women were similarly dressed. Their weapons and clothing indicated that they were of the Tau'ri. He had heard of the Tau'ri warriors but had never crossed paths with them before. "What is your purpose on Zagros?" he demanded. His warriors stripped O'Neill of his weapons.
"We were just in the neighborhood and wanted to check it out. Didn't know anyone lived here. We will be happy to leave." Jack grimaced as one of the Jaffa guarding him hit him in the ribs with the butt end of a staff weapon.
"We will see how long your insolence will last with my lord, Angra Mainyu. Bring them." With a curt nod to his warriors, Kaveh turned and headed down the trail. Jack moved abreast of Carter, catching her as she stumbled, still dazed. The Jaffa guarding them did nothing to stop him from helping her so he put his arm around her waist to help her keep up with the fast moving Jaffa.
General Hammond heard the announcement in his office. "Unscheduled off world activation." He knew that no one was due back now. He had nine teams off world at the moment and could tell you the exact dates and times each were due back. He hurried down to the control room in time to hear MSG Davis announce that it was SG-1's IDC. A minute later, Teal'c came through followed by a very irate Dr. Jackson. He was waiting for Colonel O'Neill and Major Carter to appear when the gate shut down. "Where are the Colonel and Major Carter?" he said through the microphone to the embarkation room's loudspeakers.
"General Hammond, they were attacked by Jaffa. O'Neill ordered Daniel Jackson and myself to return through the gate for reinforcements."
"Briefing room, now!" was the General's only response.
Jack figured they had walked another 10 clicks from the place where they had been captured. The trail, although apparently rarely used, was well marked. As they topped a rise Jack saw a small town below, complete with an ornate looking hall in the center of it. It resembled some of the architecture he had seen in Iraq. He and Carter were herded toward the hall and through an ornate set of double doors and into a large room that looked a little like a throne room. Maybe because there was a throne in it. The Goa'uld sitting on the throne was dressed like something out of Arabian nights. Turbaned, baggy pants gathered at the ankle and a long tunic, heavy with embroidery, which fell to his knees.
"Kaveh! Who are these intruders? How did they find my stronghold?"
Jack and Carter were pushed to their knees a few yards from the throne's pedestal. The inscriptions on the base looked vaguely Arabic. Jack wished Daniel were here. Strike that, no he didn't. Bad enough he and Carter were here.
"My Lord," Kaveh bowed to the Goa'uld. "We have not questioned them yet but from the descriptions that I have heard, they would appear to be of the Tau'ri. They must have come through the Darvaze dar Izad. There was no evidence of any ship in the area or of any other people."
Angra Mainyu rose from his throne, eyeing the prisoners warily. "Why are you here? Who has sent you?"
Jack looked up at the Goa'uld. "Like I tried to tell your friend here, we were just checking out the place. We didn't know anyone was here and we will gladly leave if you would just show us back to the Stargate!"
"I don't believe you! You must have been sent by one of my enemies to seek out my strengths! Kaveh, lock them up! I will question them personally."
Jack and Sam were roughly manhandled to their feet. Jack was worried about Sam. He didn't see any blood anywhere but she appeared to be very dazed and confused. She must have hit her head when she dived away from that staff blast. They were escorted at weapons point out of the hall.
Kaveh stood before his god, head bowed. "My lord, should we plan to leave this place in case we have been compromised?"
Angra Mainyu looked thoughtful. "My power base is not yet strong enough to defend should the System Lords discover my plans, however, if you are correct, and these strangers are of the Tau'ri, they will not be sharing information with the System Lords. They are at war with them as are we. No, I think that moving at this time would be hasty. I will question these prisoners in my own way and time. I will find out their mission. If not, then at least I will have enjoyed watching them suffer!"
Kaveh bowed and turned to leave the room. He knew that his lord enjoyed the suffering he inflicted on those unfortunate enough to incur his wrath. He knew that it was dangerous to question the pleasure that Angra Mainyu derived from the pain of others, even in his mind. He was, after all, a god and he would know. Kaveh shoved the thought of what would happen to the Tau'ri to the back of his mind. It was not his to question a god.
Jack found him and Sam pushed into a small dark room. One with bars on the doors. There were no windows, only a couple of small slits in the wall about 10 feet up, almost where the walls met the ceiling. The cell didn't smell very well, the floors were cold and damp, some kind of stone. There was no furniture, no bedding. Only something that resembled a bucket, which, from the smell of it, was the latrine. He watched Sam lean her back against the wall and slide down it. She pulled up her knees, folded her arms across them and put her head on her arms. Jack went over to sit by her. They hadn't spoken since their capture.
"How ya' doin, Carter?"
"Just peachy," was her mumbled reply, the sound further muffled by the fact that she still had her face buried in her arms.
"Carter, you don't look so hot. You hurt?"
"My head hurts, I think I hit it or something when that staff blast hit."
"Anywhere else hurt?"
"My head and neck aches, and my brain is a little foggy."
"Let me see." Jack slipped his hand under her chin and pulled her head up. "Where did you hit it?"
She raised a hand to a spot on the right front part of her head, about an inch above her hairline. He ran his hand through her hair looking for knots or cuts. She had a bump the size of a golf ball; she inhaled air quickly as he pressed on it. "Yep, you bumped it good, Major." He continued to run his hands through her hair as he checked for any other spots. It felt nice. Too bad it wasn't under better circumstances. Jack moved his hands down to her neck and massaged it a little. Sam moaned slightly as he continued massaging her neck. Jack didn't think it was from pain. He felt a little self-conscious as he pulled his hands away.
"You must have strained your neck when you hit your head. Let me know if you have any dizziness or nausea or if the headache gets too bad. Try to stay awake for a few hours, just in case you have a concussion."
She sighed and laid her head back on her crossed arms. "Sorry, sir."
"For getting us caught. Again."
"Humph, Carter, it was my idea to move. You were following orders. Once again, my plan A didn't work. I knew I should have gone to plan B first."
Carter laughed unconvincingly. "What is it with you and plan B, sir?" Her arms muffled her voice.
"Don't worry, Carter, we'll get out of here. We always do." "Yes, sir."
General Hammond wanted to break something. He didn't show his frustration. He couldn't. The M.A.L.P. had been discovered. The view before it was destroyed showed Jaffa guarding the gate on the other end. Rescue at this time was not an option. He would be sending people through to a certain death. He couldn't risk them on the possibility that Jack and Sam were still alive. He really wanted to break something.
"General Hammond, we can't just leave them there!" Daniel was upset. They shouldn't have left them.
"Son, I am as worried as you are. However, I can't send people through unless we can neutralize the guards at the gate. It would be suicide. I will contact the President and the Pentagon and try get some missiles to take out the guards at the gate on the other side. Other than that there is nothing we can do at this time." Hammond turned and walked stiffly to his office. Sam was like part of his own family. He had watched her grow up, was friends with her father. How was he going to tell Jacob?
Daniel watched him go. He realized that the General was as frustrated as he was. He just couldn't handle the fact that he and Teal'c had left them behind. He and Jack completely agreed on that one thing. You didn't leave your people behind.
Teal'c stood quietly at Daniel's side watching the interchange between his two friends. He understood the need for retreat, to plan the rescue but he was as concerned as they were. He wanted to take action now. He would wait, but only so long.
Jack sat with his back against the wall next to Sam. She was still awake, her head still hurt but not as intense. He watched her out of the corner of his eye. He had examined the small room, looking for a way out. It was about 10 by 10 feet. The windows, if you could call the slits in near the ceiling windows, were barely enough to allow some air circulation. There were no windows outside the room. It stayed fairly dark even during daylight, which was fading fast. There was no other illumination. It would get really dark in here after the sun set. The lock on the door appeared to be just a lock, no fancy alien technology working here. But there was no picking it without some tool and there was no way to force it. He let out a long sigh.
"What is it, sir?"
"Oh, just the usual, locked in a Goa'uld prison, endless waiting for the over the top threats..."
Carter stifled a giggle. "So optimistic, sir, as usual."
They sat in silence as the remaining light faded away. The darkness was complete. Nothing but the sound of their breathing. Jack noticed that Sam's breathing had settled into the soft rhythm of sleep. It had been hours since her head injury. She hadn't exhibited any symptoms of a concussion, so he let her get what sleep she could. He sat there staring into the darkness, lost in his own thoughts.
He must have drifted off. There was noise outside the cell, light approaching. Jack shaded his eyes against the bright light and nudged Carter awake. "Company coming."
Kaveh approached the cell with a set of keys and three armed Jaffa. He felt pity on these captives. He had seen his lord's method of interrogation many times. He enjoyed inflicting pain. He never pushed it so far as to actually kill his victims, or even do permanent damage, until he was ready for them to die. Just never ending pain. It was especially bad for women. The three Jaffa held their staff weapons armed and aimed at their prisoners as Kaveh unlocked the cell. "I am Kaveh, First Prime of Angra Mainyu. You, come with me." He pointed at Carter.
"Whoa, there, buddy!" Jack exclaimed, jumping up from where he was still sat. "I am the senior officer, if anyone is going with you, it will be me!"
"My lord has commanded the presence of the female. If you interfere, you will both suffer for it."
"Sir," Carter said softly, standing up. "It's okay. I'm sure you will get your turn." She flashed him a small wry smile as she turned to go with the Jaffa.
Jack watched as Kaveh locked and door. Sam glanced back at him before one of the Jaffas nudged her, none to gently, with a staff weapon to move. He watched as the light and the golden glow of her hair disappeared into the darkness. He leaned his back against the wall and slid down to the floor.
Sam kept her eyes open. Noting each turn, she made a mental map of the route so that she could retrace her steps back to the Colonel. She hadn't seen any other Jaffa since they left the cell. There hadn't been many when they were led into the throne room and from there to the cell. This didn't appear to be a heavily fortified stronghold. She had never heard of Angra Mainyu. It didn't sound Egyptian. She wasn't sure what language it was. The name of the Jaffa was no help either. The symbols on the foreheads of the Jaffa weren't familiar either. As her mind raced, they rounded a corner and into the throne room. There were two Jaffa with Angra Mainyu, one on either side.
"Welcome to my palace," Angra Mainyu said in a tone so sinister that it sent shivers down her spine. Kaveh pushed Sam to her knees in front of his lord, keeping his pity carefully off his face. He knew that tone. She was in for a bad time.
Jack sat and watched the daylight slowly seep through the narrow windows. It had been hours since Sam had been taken. He had sat there in the dark, waiting, his mind flashing through a slide show of her face. Her smile, her laughter, her tears, her pain. He felt a lump in his throat. Fear that he may never see her again made his chest hurt. He had let her walk out of this cell without doing anything about it. She could be dead already. 'Was that a noise?'
Kaveh had two warriors half dragged the woman by her arms. She moaned softly at the pain that engulfed her with every movement, every touch. Her strength impressed him. She had rarely cried out as his lord had tortured her slowly. He had seen strong men reduced to whimpering after suffering what she had been through.
Jack watched as the light came closer. His face tightened into a grimace as he saw Sam being half supported, half dragged by two Jaffa. Two other Jaffa aimed their weapons at him as Kaveh opened the door. They unceremoniously dropped Sam into the floor and retreated. As Kaveh closed and locked the door, Jack saw what could be described as sorrow flash across his face and then it was gone. Jack filed it in the back of his mind as he knelt at Sam's side.
She moaned as he rolled her over. He couldn't see any bruises or lacerations. He didn't know what they had done to her but every time he touched her, it elicited a gasp or moan of pain. "Sam, talk to me, Sam."
"Hurts, sir," she whispered, "please don't touch me." She tried to control her breathing. Almost Lamaze like, pain control. He sat next to her, not touching, just there and felt totally helpless. What had they done to her? It was obvious that it was either a hand ribbon or some other technology. She had no obvious bruises or marks. He knew how strong she was. To be in that much pain, it had to have been bad. He sat quietly, knowing there was nothing he could do, and not liking the feeling. "Sam, I just want to help!"
Sam watched him through her eyelashes as she slowed her breathing. She could see the feeling of helplessness on his face. She knew that he hated that. Not being able to do something. It always showed in the way he fidgeted with anything in sight. "Sir, it helps just having you here," she whispered.
Daniel was pacing General Hammond's office. The General was on the phone with the President, again. They were being stonewalled by the Pentagon. The damn military minds were "weighing" the risks. It had been 24 hours since they had left Sam and Jack on that planet. They needed to do something now! They had contacted the Tok'ra but Jacob was out of touch, on a mission. The Tok'ra, as usual, had been very closed mouth as to what that mission was. He was beginning to see Jack's point about their so- called allies. They were allies only when it suited them.
Teal'c stood near the door, watching the frantic Daniel Jackson. He felt a similar frustration but pacing was a waste of energy. He preferred to contain his energy for when action was required. He waited patiently for the General to complete his conversation.
"Yes, sir, I understand, sir. Thank you." Hammond hung up the phone. He wanted to slam it down but it was extremely bad protocol the slam the phone in the President's ear.
"What did he say?" Daniel jumped in as soon as the receiver hit the cradle.
"He says he needs to talk to the Joint Chiefs. I don't know what else to do." Hammond was obviously irritated. Something Daniel rarely saw. "Okay, we need an alternate plan. I can't leave them there. Teal'c, do you think that Bra'tec and the rebel Jaffa could help us? It's obvious the Tok'ra aren't going to help. Or maybe, the Asgard."
Teal'c nodded slightly. "I have contacted Bra'tec. They are willing to help but they do not have a way around the guards at the gate nor do they have access to a ship. If we could neutralize them, they would be willing to assist us."
Hammond nodded. "Okay, then we need a plan to neutralize the guards. So we are back to square one."
"General Hammond," Daniel said, "when we saw the guards through the M.A.L.P. there were only two. Could we send a UAV through to see if that is all? It might distract them enough to get several people through the gate. I know we have some of those here. We wouldn't need approval for a recon. I would be willing to try to get through."
"As would I, General Hammond," Teal'c added.
Hammond nodded curtly, "Okay, I will ask for volunteers."
Jack never left Sam's side. He didn't touch her, didn't say a word. Just sat there for hours, watching her. She had kept up her pain control techniques for about an hour after she was returned to the cell, then she fell into a fitful sleep. She murmured in her sleep, sometimes speaking, mostly a word or two. "Stop" "Please" "No" Once she said his name. Not Colonel or O'Neill. "Jack." He had reached for her then but held back. He didn't want to wake her and he definitely didn't want to hurt her.
He heard noises coming from the hallway. Whatever it took, he would not let her be taken again. She couldn't go through that again. Three Jaffa rounded the corner; one carried what appeared to be a tray. He shoved a bowl and a flask, both metal, through a slit in the bars that was evidently for that purpose. He scowled at Jack and retreated down the hall.
There was still some light left coming through the windows. Not much, he hadn't realized how long he had been sitting there on the cold, damp floor until he tried to stand up. His knees protested as he stood and walked over to what was supposed to be food. It looked like a watery mess of white gruel. He hoped that there were at least a few nutrients in it. Neither of them had eaten in 24 hours. He picked up the flask, opened it and sniffed the contents. Water. He took them over to where Sam lay. Her eyes were open. She still appeared to be in a lot of pain.
"Hey, there. Get your beauty sleep?"
Sam smiled slightly and tried to move. Her smile turned to a grimace of pain.
"Ho, there, don't try to move. Let me help you."
"No, that would hurt worse," she said softly. "I don't know how but it seems to hurt worse now than before."
"What did they do to you?" He knew she really didn't want to talk about it, but he needed to know.
"It's...uh...kinda like the Goa'uld cattle prod." He nodded, having had a few run ins with the bad end of one of those. "Except when they pull it away, the pain doesn't diminish. It didn't hurt that much at first but I almost wished they would leave it on once they pulled it away. A burning sensation spreads from the point of contact. It feels like I have second degree burns over most of my body." She looked in his eyes and could see understanding.
"Here, try to drink some of this. It's just water. I am not sure what the 'food' is, but we need to keep up our strength." She nodded as he held the water to her lips. She sipped slowly, even the inside of her mouth hurt. After getting some water down her, he held to bowl of gruel to her mouth. She sipped a little and then started choking on it. He set the bowl down quickly and reached for her.
"NO!" Sam yelled sharply. "DON'T TOUCH ME!!"
Her coughing subsided. She looked at him apologetically. He looked like he had been slapped. "I'm sorry, sir. It hurts just to come into contact with the floor. I don't think I could take anymore."
"It's okay, Sam," he said quietly, "I understand." He picked up the bowl again and tried to get her to take more. She managed to get about a quarter of it down before she waved him off. "Enough. It hurts to eat." He nodded and reached for the water again. She forced down some more until she signaled that she had enough. She lay back down and stared at the ceiling in the fading light.
"They will be coming for you next, sir."
"Yeah. I figured."
"There are not many Jaffa. The route to the throne room is long but I didn't see any other guards. Angra Mainyu is the name of the Goa'uld. I don't recognize the name or if there is any relation to any Earth civilization. The Jaffa tattoo is a new one."
"Okay, what does he want?"
"He kept asking what I knew about his defenses. He wanted to know what the Tau'ri wanted from this planet. I told him we were just exploring and that we didn't even know he was here, much less what his defenses were. After a while he just stopped asking questions." She paused, and then added hesitantly, "I think he enjoyed watching my reactions to the pain. Sir, I think he really enjoyed it." She looked up at him. She could see the sadness in his eyes. She tried to move her hand to his, but groaned in pain. He saw her intention and lightly touched the little finger on her hand with his index finger.
"It's okay, Sam. We will get out of here. Get some sleep."
Jack watched her as she slept. The dim light seemed to soften her features, making her look almost like a child. He wanted to reach out to her, to hold her and keep her safe. His jaw clenched as he thought of what that damn Goa'uld had done to her! Sam didn't deserve this! She deserved so much! He longed to tell her how he felt, to try to have some kind of a personal relationship with her, but it wasn't meant to be. Besides, what did a vibrant young woman like her need with a worn out old soldier like him. She had a promising career and he would never do anything to jeopardize that. Unconsciously, Jack reached out to stroke her face, stopping just before touching her. He sighed and dropped his hand in his lap. He would have to be content to just watch her.
Daniel and Teal'c were in the control room watching as the UAV was prepped for launch. SG-3 and SG-5 stood waiting outside the embarkation room. There had been so many volunteers that General Hammond thought he would burst with pride at his people's reaction.
"Chevron seven is locked." The gate kwooshed open. "Activating UAV ignition." The engine on the UAV flamed and rapidly launched through the gate. "UAV will reach its destination in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Receiving telemetry."
The computer screen in front of them lost its static as it received the telemetry. And just as quickly lost it.
"Damn!!" Daniel exclaimed.
"Sir, the UAV appeared to have been hit by enemy fire." MSG Davis reported.
"Shut down the gate, Sergeant." Hammond's frustration showed through his terse command.
Teal'c lowered his head. Daniel continued venting his fury verbally, "Damn!! Damn!! Damn!!"
"SG-3 and SG-5 stand down." Hammond announced over the loud speaker. "Sergeant, replay the telemetry received."
Daniel quieted down as he and Teal'c drew closer to the monitor. The playback was in slow motion. It showed that there were at least two guards, they couldn't see if there were any staff cannons. It looked like one of the Jaffa just got a lucky shot with his staff weapon.
"General Hammond, we have to try again. There were only two of them and it was a lucky shot," Daniel exclaimed.
"Maybe so, son, but they are warned now. We need those missiles. I am going to talk to the President again."
Daniel watched as General Hammond strode away, the tension and frustration showing in the muscles in his neck. Daniel knew he should apologize to him. He knew how the General felt about Jack and Sam. He knew this was hard on him.
Jack heard noise in the hallway shortly after dark. Seems like this Angra Mainyu is a night owl. Kaveh and his guards appeared at the door. As the door opened, he motioned Jack to follow him. Jack could feel relief wash over his body that they didn't try to take Sam. She was still asleep. He moved quietly not wanting to wake her. He didn't want her to sit up all night worrying, knowing what would be happening to him. He glanced back at her as Kaveh locked the door. Too late, he saw her eyes fixed on him, full of sorrow.
As the light faded away, Sam allowed the tears she had held back to run down her cheeks. She hurt too much to even wipe them away. Even her tears hurt as they were exposed to her skin. It felt like trails of fire running down her face. But she couldn't stop, she sobbed softly, quietly and painfully.
Jack tried to keep his feet under him as his guards dragged him back to the cell. He couldn't believe how much he hurt. Oh, he had been tortured before, far too many times. Iraq, Baal, various Goa'uld. He seemed to be a magnet for people wanting to serious inflict pain on him. He groaned as they dumped him in the floor next to Carter. She didn't appear to have moved since he left. After his experience with their host's hospitality, he could understand why. Every nerve ending seemed to have its own pain shooting through it. He tried to control his breathing as Carter had earlier. It seemed to help. He started to push the pain into that little corner of his mind reserved for situations like this. Special Ops had taught him many ways to skirt the pain but he wasn't sure that it prepared him for this.
Sam voice penetrated his mind. "Sir, talk to me, sir."
"Sam," his voice cracked over her name. "I'm here, Sam. I'll live."
"Yeah, me too. I'm just not sure I want too."
They laid there in silence, side by side, not moving, taking what little comfort they could from just knowing the other one was near. They watched as the sun started coming through the windows high in the ceiling.
Daniel was once again pacing in General Hammond's office. Hammond sat and watched him. He understood the boy's frustration, felt it himself. He couldn't risk more people without more intel or a better plan of getting through the gate. He had tried to convince the President to let them use Prometheus but was firmly, sorrowfully, told no. His only hope now was the Tok'ra. They had contacted them again this morning to find out that Jacob was on his way back from his mission. He had been informed and was on route to a safe Stargate near P3X-882 in a Goa'uld cargo ship. It would take him two days to reach there. He would pick up two SG teams, Daniel, and Teal'c. It would take them another two days to reach 882. Four days. He only hoped that Jack and Sam would still be alive when they got there. They would continue to attempt access through the gate using UAV's and M.A.L.P.'s in hope that they could get through before then.
"Son, you are wearing out the carpet in here. I understand how you feel but I have some things to do, so please, go pace somewhere else."
Daniel stopped and looked him for a moment; a rather sheepish look crossed his face. "Sorry, General. I just...you know."
"Yeah, I know."
He watched Daniel walk out of the office and head down the stairs from the briefing room. He sighed and pulled his computer toward him.
Teal'c was in his room. Kelno'reem was his only outlet. That and using the punching bag in gym. He knew he needed to control his frustration. Daniel Jackson had irritated everyone on base with his outbursts and constant pacing. Teal'c sat quietly, tried to get into a deeper state to let the tension release from his body. It did not work. A quiet tap on the door interrupted him. "Come."
Daniel poked his head in the door. "Teal'c, sorry to interrupt, I was headed to the commissary and I thought you might want to join me."
"I will, Daniel Jackson. Kelno'reem is not coming easy today." He rose and blew out the candles that lit his room and then exited with Daniel.
Jack opened his eyes. 'Ouch'. Just dragging his eyelids over his eyes hurt. He cut his eyes over to where Sam had last been. She wasn't there! "Sam!"
"I'm still here, sir. Trying to make use of the 'facilities', if you don't mind."
He tried to laugh but it hurt too much. He closed his eyes to give her a little privacy. He heard her groan as she made her way back over to him. She slowly sat down next to him. "You need to try to eat and drink something. You've been out of it all day." She didn't say that she had sat and watched him all day. She didn't tell him of the tears she saw him shed in his sleep, or the times she heard him call her name. Not Carter, Sam and once, Samantha. She didn't tell him that she sat and cried for him and the pain he felt. She simply tried to help him with the food and water, the same as he had.
He closed his eyes after he managed to get some more water down. He opened his eyes again. "Does it get any better?"
She knew what he meant. She simply shook her head. "No, sir, it doesn't, but I really didn't want to compound my 'discomfort' with wet clothes." She smiled slightly. "It's almost dark. Our friend seems to like to play after dark."
Jack watched the expression on her pained face. "Maybe he'll take the night off," he groaned.
They both looked toward the door as the sound of people coming reached them.
"Guess not," she sighed.
Jack tried to get to his feet. 'They couldn't take Sam again. She couldn't go through that again!' The pain engulfed conscious thought. Bile rose in his throat. He saw Sam painfully stand through eyes fogged over in pain. "No!" He had barely heard himself. He didn't think that she heard him. He watched as Kaveh opened the door and motioned for her to follow. "Sam!" She turned to look at him and he saw the slight curve of a fond smile. "It's okay, sir." And she was gone.
He lay there and wallowed in the pain and bile. Tears streamed down his cheeks leaving trails of fire. "Sam," he said weakly. "Please come back." It was too dark to notice that his vision darkened as unconsciousness claimed him.
Sam didn't think that she could hurt more than she already did. She didn't think that anyone could survive this much pain and live. The Jaffa carried her. There was no way she could walk. Every fiber in her being hurt. All she wanted to do was lay down and die! 'NO!' the thought came forcefully through her pain. She couldn't give up! She wouldn't give up! That damned snake headed bastard was not going to beat her! Rescue would come! It had to! 'Please let it be before dark!' she silently prayed.
Jack thought he heard noises. He slowly opened his eyes. It was still dark. 'Was that light in the hall?' His thoughts were almost coherent again. He still hurt like hell but he could control it better. 'Please let Sam be okay, please let her be coming back!' It was light! The noise was louder! It looked like the sun was rising outside. He saw the Jaffa leader moving to the door then was blinded as the torch came into full view. He heard the sound of Sam's body as it dropped next to him. He winced at the pain that must have caused. His eyes opened as he heard the lock in the door being turned. He caught the eye of the Jaffa leader. He was sure there was sorrow in his expression. It was quickly masked.
Kaveh turned away. He knew that it was within his god's right to punish non-believers. He knew that he shouldn't feel anything for the prisoners but, well, the woman was so strong, so defiant, so much a warrior. Even with all the pain that was inflicted on her body, she still was in control of her mind. She said nothing different tonight than she had before. She insisted that they had no idea that anyone was on this planet and that they had no interest in his lord's plans. All they wanted was to go home. He didn't know if he could take that much pain without breaking.
Jack painfully crawled to Sam's side, trying to mask his groans. She was on her right side, facing away from him. 'Please, God, let her be alive!' He was afraid to touch her. He knew the pain that would cause her would be intense. He continued to crawl around her to try and see her eyes. They were closed. He very gently reached to feel the carotid artery in her neck. A pulse! 'Thank you!' She moaned softly at his touch. Her eyelids fluttered a little and opened. He moved his hand away as quickly as his pain would allow. "Sam?"
"Yeah," she sighed quietly.
"It's okay. You're here. I'm here. Rescue should be coming soon. Hang in there."
"Yeah." She closed her eyes. He wanted to touch her again, to reassure himself that she was still alive. He had to settle for the soft shallow breaths she was taking. He painfully got up to relieve his bladder. Neither one of them had had enough to drink to make it necessary often. He finished and walked over to where Sam was and laid down where he could watch her face in the dim light. Her left hand was palm down on the floor. He gently touched the tip of her index finger with his. He needed some contact, however insubstantial. He closed his eyes to the tears that threatened. His physical pain was bad enough, but the emotional pain of watching Sam slowly tortured to death was beyond words. He heard her soft moans and opened his eyes. She was awake.
Sam could feel the slight touch on her finger. His finger was tip to tip with hers. It hurt but it felt reassuring. She opened her eyes to see his staring at her intently. His soft brown eyes were brimming with unshed tears. She felt tears come to her own eyes. She understood. It was bad enough being tortured but to have to watch him die was worse. She could have endured anything but that. She moved her finger slightly against his. He smiled softly and whispered, "Sleep, Sam." She obediently closed her eyes and let unconsciousness take away some of the pain.
Daniel and Teal'c came at a dead run to the paging over the loudspeaker. They took the stairs to the briefing room two and three at a time. General Hammond stood there looking a little more relieved than the last time they saw him. "Some good news... Jacob pushed his engines. He will make the rendezvous point this afternoon instead of tomorrow. You need to gear up. You will be leaving in an hour. SG-3 and 5 will accompany you."
"Yes!!" Daniel said elatedly, as he pounded Teal'c's back with his open palm. Teal'c winced slightly at the onslaught. "We will be ready, General Hammond," he said to the smiling General.
"Good luck and good hunting!" With that, General Hammond headed for his office as Daniel and Teal'c hurried to the locker room to change.
Sam groaned as she slowly came up out of her sleep. The nightmares were bad but not as bad as the pain that whorled into her consciousness. She heard Jack speaking softly in her ear. She could feel his breath on her cheek and even that hurt, although it was more emotional than physical. "Sam, wake up. You have to eat something." He wanted to touch her but knew from personal experience that it wasn't a good idea. "Sam!" His voice was a little louder.
She finally opened her eyes. "What!" she growled. "Leave me alone!"
"Hey, that's insubordination!"
"Wow, who's the bad patient now!! I never told my nurses to bite me. Of course, as much as I pissed them off, they might have!"
That finally brought a slight smile to her face. "Don't make me laugh, it hurts too much."
"Come on, Sam. Please eat and drink something. It's not much but you need your strength."
She painfully pulled herself up to a sitting position. "Sir, it's getting dark."
"I know. Don't worry, if he follows his pattern, it will be my turn. He won't take you tonight."
"Jack," His head jerked up, she never called him by his given name. "I don't know which hurts more, the torture or watching you in pain," she continued, not looking at him. "I don't know if I can continue doing either."
"Sam, please don't give up! We will get out of here! You know that General Hammond will do whatever it takes. Not to mention your father! Between the two of them and Danny and Teal'c, they'll move half the galaxy to get us back! You can't quit, Carter. Remember, Carters don't quit."
"Rah, rah, rah," Sam finally met his eyes. "Good cheerleading there, sir." She raised one arm slowly and lightly touched his cheek with one finger. She could do with one of his 'it'll be all right' hugs about now, but she'd probably pass out from the pain. He smiled at her as if he knew what she was thinking.
He carefully helped her eat and drink, although she couldn't get much down. It hurt too much. 'Great,' she thought, 'if we don't die of torture, we die of starvation!' Dying almost sounded good to her. She banished the thought again. She couldn't give up yet. Jack, the Colonel, was still here. She heard the pleading in his voice earlier. She wouldn't give up. Yet.
Jack tried to finish off the food she couldn't eat. They weren't giving them enough for two people but it didn't really matter. Neither one of them had much of an appetite. He noticed the darkness settling into the room. He looked over at Sam. She had lain back down and was drifting in and out of sleep. She was mumbling a little as she slept. He could hear different words at different times. "Dad." "Momma." "Jack." He thought that at first she was awake and calling to him. He moved closer and realized she was still asleep. "Jack," she said again softly. "Why?"
'Why?' he thought. "Why what, Sam?" he said softly in her ear.
"Why did we wait?" was the soft reply. He looked at her closely she was definitely asleep. Did she mean the mission? Why did we wait, get captured?
"Wait for what, Sam?"
His eyes filled with tears. His head jerked up as he heard the noise of the Jaffa coming down the hall. The light was coming closer.
'Not now, damn it!' he thought. "Sam, I'm sorry. We shouldn't have," he said softly. He stood as quickly as the pain allowed and moved closer to the door.
Kaveh motioned Jack away from the door as he unlocked and opened it. He looked at Sam softly moaning in her fitful sleep. A look of sorrow and admiration crossed his face before it hardened back into stone. "You, come with me!" he snapped at Jack.
"Why are you doing this?" Jack said simply.
"I am following the commands of my god. It is my duty and honor to obey," Kaveh replied.
"But you obviously don't agree with his methods," Jack whispered softly so that the other Jaffa couldn't hear him.
"I do not agree or disagree, Tau'ri. It is not my place."
"I can help you get away from here. You can fight the Goa'uld with other Jaffa that also don't agree," Jack continued to whisper.
"Quiet, Tau'ri!" Kaveh moved away from Jack so that he couldn't whisper traitorous thoughts to him anymore. His mind was full of his own treacherous ideas without his assistance. The woman had touched a soft spot that he thought he had buried years ago. He remembered Souzan, his namzad, his betrothed. She also had golden hair and eyes the color of a clear sky. She also had spirit and defiance. She was chosen as a priestess and refused. She had been in love and wanted to mate and have children. She refused to obey. Kaveh's father suspected that he was the one that Souzan loved and had sent him away to protect him.
She refused to name her namzad. Angra Mainyu as an example to others killed her, slowly. She lasted seven days. Seven days of intense torture. She never revealed his name. If it hadn't been for her keeping their secret and his father, the First Prime before him, sending him away, his whole family could have been put to death. He told himself then, as he was now, that his namzad had been wrong. Angra Mainyu had the right to punish her. Strange, after all these years, he still didn't believe himself.
Jack saw that his words had an affect on Kaveh. He saw it in the way he held his shoulders and head. The doubt that seeded his soul. He only hoped that it was enough. They rounded the corner to the throne room and his host jovially welcomed him back.
Sam woke up alone. It was full dark but she knew he was gone. She remembered the strange dream she had. The conversation with Jack. She heard the soft words, "Sam, I'm sorry. We shouldn't have." It had seemed so real. Then his voice was gone. And she was alone. Her tears slid slowly down her face.
When Daniel, Teal'c and SG-3 and 5 exited the gate on P3X-445 they found retired Air Force General Jacob Carter, host to Selmac, father to Major Carter, waiting impatiently for them. "Let's go!" was all the Tok'ra would say. He headed at almost a run toward a Goa'uld cargo ship waiting in the distance.
Teal'c caught up to the fast moving man. "General Carter, have you any information on the Goa'uld that is holding O'Neill and Major Carter?"
"Some, Teal'c, and I am afraid it isn't good! I'll fully brief everyone once we are in flight. If I push the engines, we should reach Zagros in about 22 hours." Jacob moved even quicker in his haste to get this mission moving.
Sam could hear noises in the dark. She frantically tried opening her eyes enough to look for the light that would indicate the return of the Colonel. She thought that maybe her imagination was playing tricks on her. Slowly, painfully, she got her eyelids to respond to her brain and she thought she could see faint light in the hall. 'Please let Jack be okay!' She didn't question how her mind kept flipping his name between the Colonel and Jack. She didn't care anymore. Air Force regs had kept them apart, kept them from exploring the possibility and promise of a personal relationship. Sam wanted a second chance so badly. She knew that there wouldn't be one. She couldn't go back in there again. She would do what ever it took to convince the Colonel that she couldn't go back. She didn't know how she was going to accomplish it but she would rather die than endure another of Angra Mainyu's little torture sessions. She woke several times during the night trying to find an option.
Sam thought back to futile rescue mission to P2X-338 to find the team that had gone through the Russian gate and hadn't returned. She remembered the argument that Jack had with the Russian colonel, Zukhov, over the cyanide pills that Russians took with them off world. At the time, she agreed with Jack, that it was inconceivable that the Russian government would even consider suicide for their people. Now, she wished she had one of those little pills. One swallow and it would all be over.
The noise in the hall became louder. She could hear the muffled groans from Jack as their captors drug him back to the cell. Sam lifted her head slightly to see Kaveh opening the door. She met his eyes. She was puzzled by the look of sorrow, sadness, and something else. Something elusive. Almost regret tinged with revenge? She wondered if they could use this to their advantage. If not assistance in escape, then at least in death. "Kaveh," Sam said quietly, "why do you let this continue?"
Kaveh was startled. He found it difficult to believe that this woman was even coherent after what she had been through, much less speaking to him. "I obey my god," he replied flatly.
"He is not a god, Kaveh; he is a symbiotic parasite that uses your kind as incubators for their young and my kind as hosts. You know this is true or I wouldn't see doubt in your eyes."
Kaveh averted his glance from this woman. He saw his namzad in her eyes. The strength, the purpose, the belief and the goodness that made up the spirit of his beloved was there in front of him in the form of this strange woman. He stepped back to allow his Jaffa to drop Jack in the floor near her. "You do not know of what you speak, woman. Do not speak of this again!"
Jack hit the floor with a resounding thud as Kaveh slammed the door shut. "Good going, Sam," he said painfully, "you are getting almost as good at antagonizing our keepers as I am." He coughed painfully, having difficulty speaking those few words.
Sam crawled the short distance between them, stopping just short of touching him. "Good to see you haven't lost your sense of humor, sir," she said dryly. "How are you?"
"Not good, Sam."
The admission frightened her more than a battalion of Jaffa. "Jack, I don't think I can go in there again. I don't think either of us can. I keep thinking about what Colonel Zukhov told us about cyanide pills."
"Sam, we are going to get rescued. Quitting is not an option."
"What about when you were captured by Ba'al? You wanted to quit, you wanted Daniel to end it!" Her voice was rising in frustration. How could he still believe that they would get out of here? For all they knew Daniel and Teal'c never made it to the gate. "Damn it, Colonel, if someone was coming, don't you think they would have gotten here by now!!"
"We are not quitting, Sam." His voice was tense, filled with pain. She felt guilty hitting him with this right now. He had just returned.
She lowered her eyes, unwilling to let him see that she really had given up. "I'm sorry, sir. It is very difficult to think straight. Let me get you some water, and then you need to rest."
"Sam, look at me," he said softly. She rose painfully and turned away from him to get the water.
"Sam!" he said sharply, the pain making him start to cough again.
She knelt back down by him, every square inch of her body hurting as she did. After his coughing subsided, she looked him in the eyes in the dim morning light. She saw the pain and worry. She knew that her willingness to die added emotional pain to the physical.
"Sam," he resumed softly. "We will get out of here. I know the pain is bad. I have been through it all before. I know how bad it gets. And yes, I asked Daniel to end it for me. I would have willing died if he would have done it. But I realized after my escape from Ba'al that I should have never given up so easily. How many times have we come so close to death by the Goa'uld? Apophis, Cronus, Hathor, Sokar, Nirrti, Seth, Marduk, they all gave it their best shot and we beat them. They are all dead and we are still alive."
Sam felt her eyes well up with tears. She tried to resist. The pain of tears traveling down her face felt like streams of molten metal on her skin. She felt as if every nerve ending had a small brand held tightly to it. Movement of any kind, even tears, was agony.
"Sam, please try to get through tonight. I promise that if we aren't rescued within the next 48 hours, we will figure out another way to end it." His eyes filled with his own tears at the thought of her dying. He knew how bad the pain was but he wanted to hope beyond hope that someone was trying to get to them.
Kaveh stood just out of sight of the door. The names of powerful Goa'uld, most of them System Lords, rolled off this man's lips. He claimed that they were responsible for the death of all of them! How could these puny Tau'ri have defeated so many? He had heard about the deaths of some of those, but he was told that it was other Goa'uld that had been responsible. Why would this man lie? Could he have known that he was standing outside the door listening? And this man claims to have escaped from Ba'al. And the sorrow in the man's voice as he spoke of another way to end it. What would he try to do? He must keep a close eye on him. His lord would not be pleased if something happened to the prisoners. But, if his lord was truly a god, would he not know before anything happened? If his lord was truly a god, why was he not dead for the traitorous thoughts that ran through his head more and more each day?
Jacob and his passengers were sitting around the cramped cargo hold. It wasn't normally that cramped but with ten passengers and all their gear, space became a bit of a premium.
"The Goa'uld that has captured them is called Angra Mainyu. He is not a very nice character. He enjoys inflicting pain on his prisoners. He does it slowly and with great skill," Jacob's voice cracked over the last few words. His head bowed down and rose up again showing that control had passed to Selmac. "Jacob finds it difficult to relay this information as the memory of the pain used by Angra Mainyu is in me. He while on a mission once captured me. The thought of that happening to his daughter is very difficult for Jacob to handle. I will continue the briefing. Angra Mainyu was once on earth but as a minor Goa'uld. Of course, like all of his kind, he seeks the power and recognition that is only bestowed on a System Lord."
Daniel was lost in thought. The name of Angra Mainyu was familiar. He tried to think of where he had heard it before. "I remember!" he said loudly. "Sorry, Selmac, I just remembered what I had read about Angra Mainyu."
"Please, Dr. Jackson. Any information can help in our mission."
"He was ancient Persian. He was considered the god of darkness, the destroyer of good, personification of evil and bringer of death and disease. He is to the ancient Persians what Satan is to Christians. It's not much but it could help if we have to talk with him."
"Thank you, Dr. Jackson, but I am sure he will not listen. However, it is most probable that Colonel O'Neill and Samantha still live since he enjoys the pain he inflicts in his captives. Hopefully we will not be too late." Jacob's head bowed again and Jacob was speaking when his head rose. "We will not be too late!"
Sam had slept. She didn't know how long. It was still light but not for long. She closed her eyes again. How does someone will themselves to death? She wanted to be strong; she wanted to believe that rescue was on its way. But she couldn't. She was tired and the pain was excruciating. She let the tears that filled her eyes find their way down her face. Sam could hear Jack's breathing, slow punctuated by mumbling. He was still sleeping, dealing with his own demons. She started going through her options again. She had the clothes on her back, no belt, no strength to tear her clothes into something useful. No weapons, nothing sharp enough to slit her wrists, nothing thin enough to hang herself, nothing to hang herself from. How does someone will themselves to death? Her silent tears became sobs as she thought of the darkening sky. Her sobs became loud cries of pain from the mere act of sobbing. She couldn't go back there, she couldn't!
Jack roused from his troubled sleep by the sound of Carter crying out in pain. He moved quickly, rewarded by intense pain. "Sam, Sam, talk to me, wake up!" He assumed she was having nightmares. He had been. He moved as close as he dared. "Sam, talk to me!"
"Jack, I can't do it! I can't go back and I can't kill myself! I can't do it! Please, Jack, please help me!" She sobbed loudly, her face streaming with tears.
He understood immediately what she was asking. "Sam, I can't! I'm sorry! I can't kill you! I love you! How could you ask me to?" His voice was panicked. He had never seen her so distraught! He didn't know what to do. He couldn't do what she asked of him. "Please, Sam, just make it through tonight. We will get out of here tomorrow. I will find a way!"
"Jack, if you really love me, don't let me go back in there. I can't take it anymore!"
Her blue eyes, surrounded by reddened whites of her eyes, had never looked so big, so afraid. She had faced so many things in the years that he had known her. Many times, she had been anxious, nervous, scared, downright terrified. But he had never seen her like this. He had never seen this much pain and fear before. His eyes filled with tears of his own. "Sam, I... I don't know if I can. I mean, I don't know if I have the strength. I know I can't do it quickly. My hands are just too weak."
"Jack, I don't care. I just know I can't go on. I don't want to ask you to do this. I just can't do it myself."
Jack let the tears he was holding back fall as he moved closer to her. "You know I love you, Sam." His tears slid down his face falling on hers.
"I know, Jack. I love you too. I'm sorry. I just can't take anymore pain!"
Jack sat back on his heels, almost unaware of the physical pain it caused. His heart hurt too much to think about that. His mind wasn't working properly; it was clouded with the agony of what she asked of him. It was consumed by the knowledge that Sam was in so much pain that would choose death willingly. Jack couldn't bear to watch her in pain. They had been here for five days with no sign of rescue. Sam was in so much pain, she probably wouldn't make it through the next session with the Goa'uld. Could he do it? Could he spare her the additional pain and end it quick for her? It would kill him to do it. Jack knew that he would simply lie down beside her and die. They would finally be together.
Jack leaned over her, lightly brushing the hair out of her face, avoiding touching her skin. He leaned over her and brushed his lips across hers, so lightly it felt like a breeze blowing past her mouth. "So am I, my love, so am I." Tears slid down her face as relief showed on her face.
He steeled his determination. In black ops, he had been trained to break a persons neck with his bare hands, had actually done it before, but he had no strength. His only option would be strangulation. He wasn't even sure if he had the strength for that. He moved his hands to her neck, the beautiful throat that he had dreamed of kissing. A sob broke free from his chest as he tried to gently touch her without causing more pain. "I love you, Sam." Her body tensed in pain as his hands made contact, a groan escaped her mouth.
"STOP!" Kaveh shouted. He had been standing around the corner, listening to their conversation. He had been afraid of something like this. His purpose had been to stop them from depriving his lord of his vengeance but he stood there looking at Jack with tears streaming down his face. "Stop. I will help you." There, he had done it. He had taken the first step as a marikar, shol'va, a traitor. "I will help you escape."
Jack painfully rolled away from Sam. His heart was beating so fast, his relief was a salve for the pain in his heart and his body. He didn't know what changed the Jaffa's mind. He didn't care. It was a reprieve for Sam. It was a reprieve for both of them and the possibility of a second chance for them. His curiosity overcame his relief. "Why?"
"She doesn't deserve to die, anymore than my namzad did. She doesn't deserve the punishment. I will help you to escape. My lord will require the woman's presence within the next two hours. It is not much time. We will need to go now."
Sam was still sobbing silently in the floor. Jack looked at her carefully.
"Kaveh, we can't walk, much less run. Is there a way to reverse the pain? Will the instrument that caused it also stop it?"
"No, the only thing that can stop the pain is a healing device used by my master. But only a Goa'uld can make it work."
"Sam can make it work. You must get it for us. We also must have one of the devices that we wore on our wrist with the buttons on it. Without that, we cannot get through our Stargate alive. Quickly!"
Kaveh nodded, wanting to know how this woman could make the device work but knowing that they must hurry. "I will return," he said as he left. He ran down the hall in search of it.
Jack crawled back over to Sam. Her sobs were now softer, fewer. "Sam, you've got to use the healing device on us so we can get out of here. Do you think you have the strength?"
"I don't think that I can use it on myself, Jack. I should be able to use it on you."
"Well, you get me able to get out of here and I will just have to carry you! We are getting out of here, Sam."
"Jack," she hesitated, "I am so sorry... I should have believed..."
He cut her off. "Sam, don't worry. I really believe that what happened was what convinced Kaveh to help us. If you hadn't insisted, I don't think we could have turned him to our side. There is nothing to apologize for." He leaned over her and once again brushed his lips over hers, just a hint of a kiss and a promise of things to come.
Jacob was monitoring the engines closely. He knew he was pushing them. He couldn't let anything happen to the cargo ship. It was Sam's only hope. Her life flashed before his eyes. What little he remembered of it. He was gone so much of her childhood. He had missed so much. It had taken his Tok'ra symbiote to make him fully understand what he had missed. 'You are a stubborn man, Jacob,' Selmac's voice echoed in his head, 'and your daughter is much like you. If anyone can survive, she can. Do not worry.' Jacob gave a small snort of laughter. "Same to you, old woman."
Daniel, sitting in the co-pilot seat, cut his eyes at Jacob. "Did you just call me old woman?"
Jacob laughed heartily now. "No, Daniel, Selmac was just trying to reassure me. She cracks me up every now and then."
Teal'c walked up behind the two men. "General Carter, how much longer until we arrive."
Jacob mumbled to himself, "Feels like I'm in the car with the kids when they were young." Selmac cackled at the comparison, referencing Jacob's memories. Echoes of 'Are we there yet?' racing through his mind. "Teal'c, it will be at least another hour. We need to go over the rescue plan again." He got up from his seat and walked into the cargo hold.
"Okay, gang, listen up. We don't have much intel on this planet. We know that there is one major city so it is safe to assume that is where we will find Jack and Sam. We will need to land away from the city and the gate, since both will have guards. We know that Angra Mainyu does not have many Jaffa but they will probably be strategically located. I want to retake the gate so we can get reinforcements if needed. That will be the job of SG-5. Teal'c, Daniel, SG-3 and I will head for the city. Keep radio transmissions to a minimum. We want a sit-rep on the hour. Keep your heads down and watch out. Any question?"
There were several "no, sirs". No one forgot that Jacob was an Air Force general, Tok'ra or not.
"Good, check your gear and then get ready." Jacob turned and headed back for the pilot seat.
Jack was getting anxious about Kaveh. Surely if his true concern about Sam was to keep her alive for more torture, he would have separated them. If he didn't return soon... Jack heard someone in the hall. Kaveh ran up to the door, keys out. As soon as the door was open, he dumped a bag in the floor and started rummaging through it. He brought out two zats, one P90, some nondescript clothes, the healing device and, finally, the GDO. Jack sighed in relief. He sat up next to Sam.
"Sam, come on, you gotta do this. This is how we get out of here." He slid his arm behind her back, helping her into a sitting position. "Here," he handed her the healing device, "do your thing."
"Lay back down, Jack," she sounded so tired. He was almost afraid she couldn't do this. She put the device on her hand. He saw the intense look of concentration that crossed her face. It was heavily laced with pain. The device began to glow, light radiated over his body. He saw beads of sweat break out on her face. Then the beads turned to rivulets and then sweat began pouring down her face. He felt the pain begin to subside. Slowly at first, then more. His body began feeling more like it should.
"Sam, stop. I'm okay now." He saw her breathing grow ragged as the sweat continued pouring. Precious fluids that her body needed to contain. She had barely had any liquids over the last few days. He knew they were both dehydrated. "Sam, STOP!" He reached up to drag the device from her hand as she toppled over in a dead faint. Jack jumped up, checking her vitals. Her heartbeat was dangerously low. Her breathing was shallow and ragged. "Damn. I didn't think this would take so much out of her!"
Kaveh had stood back in disbelief. He brought the device because they requested it but he didn't really think that she would be able to use it. He didn't understand how this woman could use his master's device. It didn't make sense. "How could she do that?"
"Later, we've got to get out of here. Help me get these clothes on her." Jack grabbed the clothes that Kaveh had brought for them and began pulling the skirt and shirt over Carter's BDUs. Once they were out of the city, the camouflage would be useful. He would have to carry her. It was going to look suspicious enough lugging around an unconscious woman. Jack changed quickly into the clothes for him. He put the P90 back in the cloth bag. He didn't want anyone seeing it. Jack then tucked the two zats and the healing device under his clothes. He gently picked up Carter, almost thankful she wasn't awake, since touching her would have been painful. "Which way?"
Kaveh led the way out of the prison and through a series of passageways that looked as if they were rarely used. "I have explored the entire palace but since there are so few of us, not many know them all."
"The fewer, the better," Jack mumbled as he followed their liberator.
Jacob and his team were hidden in the brush near the north side of the palace. There was very little cover anywhere close to it. They watched as two Jaffa headed toward the path near where they hid. He surmised that they must be the relief for the Jaffa guarding the gate. He decided to let them go through. If SG-5 didn't get to the gate before the relief was due, the Jaffa at the gate would contact the palace to see where they were. He thumbed the mike on his radio and spoke softly, "Sierra Golf five, this is Sierra Golf one. Two Jaffa presumed to be headed to the gate."
"Roger that, Sierra Golf one, Sierra Golf five out."
"We should probably wait until dark since there appears to be very little cover around the palace. It looks like it should be full dark soon. Teal'c, I want you to take point once we start in. As dark as it is, with your staff weapon, you could probably be mistaken for one of them. The palace isn't large but it is still a lot of ground to cover. Daniel, Teal'c and I will go in. SG-3, I need you to watch from out here. Spread out and try to cover as much of the area as possible but stay within visual range of each other. Any questions?"
All heads shook no. Everyone settled down to wait for dark.
Jack's pain was gone but he had still spent the last five days with very little food and water. His arms ached with the burden he carried. Kaveh offered to carry her, but Jack refused to let her go. At least he could feel her heartbeat and see her breathing. He continued to carry her.
They made their way through the maze that was the palace, avoiding well- trafficked areas. Jack was concerned that someone would be coming soon for Carter and would find that they were gone. They turned a final corner and emerged into a courtyard garden. The sun was almost completely set. They quickly crossed the garden and out a door into the town. From the position of the sun, Jack realized that they had come out on the east side of the palace. He knew the gate was north of town. He wondered how long it would take to skirt around the town to get back to the north.
Kaveh led them into the town a few blocks. "It is not really safe this close to the palace, but someone will soon discover that you are gone. We need to get to the cover of the forest before then. Quickly, this way!" He turned up a side street headed north. They had gone about two clicks when they turned again, heading west. Jack could see the forested area at the edge of town. He almost sighed with relief, but it wasn't over yet. They still had to get to the gate and dispose of the guards. They stayed in the shadows as they approached the perimeter of the town.
Jacob's radio squelched in his ear. "Sierra Golf one, this is Sierra Golf three. We have unidentified personnel at the edge of town crossing into the woods. One has the build of Colonel O'Neill but it is too far away and too dark to I.D. positively."
"Roger, Sierra Golf three, I'll be right there. Keep an eye on their progress." Jacob, Daniel and Teal'c moved carefully in the brush to get a better view. Sure enough, two people moved stealthily toward the wooded area. Daniel and Teal'c both watched through binoculars.
"That is Jack!" Daniel whispered excitedly, "I would know him anywhere! It looks like there is a Jaffa with him though."
"I concur, General Carter," Teal'c said softly, "but it does not appear as if the Jaffa is guarding him. I cannot make out what O'Neill is carrying."
Jacob again thumbed his radio, "Sierra Golf three, this is Sierra Golf one. Confirmed I.D., approach with caution, one possible hostile." He let the radio mike go. "I just pray it's Samantha!"
Jack felt as if he were being watched. He had that prickly feeling in the back of his head, the hackling of the hair on the back of his neck. He had learned to pay attention to that feeling. "Kaveh, I think that there is someone out there."
Kaveh nodded. "I agree. There should be no guards in this area. I assign the watch myself. There are few of us here. My lord has not been able to recruit as many Jaffa as he wished. They will soon discover you are missing. We need to make haste."
"Well, we have to go in this direction, so let's go. Let's at least be prepared!" Jack shifted Sam around and slung her over his left shoulder. He reached under his clothes and pulled out a zat with his right hand. He nodded to Kaveh and they started forward again. Eyes and ears alert, it was almost full dark.
Jacob watched as the two men stopped, hidden in the shadows of one of the first trees that they had reached. He saw Jack sling his bundle over his shoulder and pull out something. Must be a weapon. Okay, so the Jaffa was helping them. "Sierra Golf three, this is Sierra Golf one. From where we are, it appears that the Jaffa is a friendly. Again, the Jaffa is a friendly. Do not use deadly force."
"Sierra Golf one, roger."
Jacob, Teal'c and Daniel moved slowly through the brush toward the spot that Jack and the Jaffa would enter the forest. They were moving cautiously. They must realize that someone is watching. Jacob's radio squelched in his ear. "Sierra Golf one, this is Sierra Golf five. Objective is secure." At least they have the gate!
"Roger, Sierra Golf one out."
Jacob could see that the burden Jack carried was a person. He couldn't tell if she was dead or alive, but it had to be Sam. SG-1 had reached the area where Jack should enter the woods. They settled in quietly to wait. "I will get his attention," Jacob said to the two men. If he shoots me, Selmac has a better chance of fixing it. You two stay under cover in case his friend isn't friendly." Teal'c and Daniel nodded their agreement.
Jack and Kaveh reached the woods and slipped quietly into the shadows. Jacob was within 15 feet of Jack. "Jack," he said in a loud whisper. "Jack, it's Jacob."
Jack and Kaveh both spun around, Kaveh's staff weapon was armed. Jack kicked the staff weapon down. "Kaveh, he's one of ours!" Jack hissed. "Jacob, you are a sight for sore eyes!"
Jacob ran forward, his eyes on Jack's bundle. "Sam?" he asked softly.
Jack nodded. "She's alive, Jacob, but we need to get her help fast." Jack put the zat back under his shirt and swung Carter back around so he was once again cradling her with both arms.
Jacob hit his mike button, "We have the packages, plus one friendly. Hold the gate until we get there. Sierra Golf one, out."
"SG-3, take our six. Let's go." Jacob started up the trail to the gate. They still had about 12 clicks to cover. It would take them a couple of hours to get there.
"Jacob, all hell is going to break loose in a few minutes. They will find out that we are gone. We may need to take cover somewhere. We have a healing device. Sam used it on me but didn't have the strength to help herself."
Jacob stopped. "Okay, we head back to the cargo ship. It's only three clicks and it's cloaked. SG-5 can hold the gate. It will take the Jaffa a while to get that far. As soon as Sam is stabilized we can get her through the gate." He looked at the SG-3 leader, "Colonel Reynolds, notify SG-5 of the change in plans. Let's go."
As the teams headed quickly toward the spot where they left the cargo ship, they heard a commotion at the palace. Horns were sounding the alert. Kaveh watched as people started running out of the palace, heading for the trail to the Darvaze dar Izad. He turned to follow his new comrades as he left behind his old. Teal'c watched the Jaffa closely. He fell into step beside him. Kaveh eyed the Jaffa warily. "I am Kaveh, First Prime of Angra Mainyu. Or I was."
"I am Teal'c of Chulak. Welcome, brother."
Kaveh's eyes grew wide. "You are the shol'va of Apophis! You are the one that started the Jaffa rebellion!"
"I did not start it; I merely helped to further it along. And now you are one of us. Dal shakka mel, Kaveh."
General Hammond was pacing in his office. Without Daniel here to do it for him, he had no choice. He hadn't heard anything from the team since they arrived at P3X-882. That was two hours ago. He knew that as long as they were on the planet they had to maintain radio silence. With no M.A.L.P. on the other side, he couldn't contact them even if he opened the gate. So he had to wait, and pace.
"Unauthorized off-world activation."
The announcement brought the General running down the stairs to the control room. "Who is it?"
"Receiving signal now." MSG Davis always sounded so calm. How did he do that? "Sir, it's SG-5."
"Yes!" General Hammond exhaled the word. He didn't realize he had been holding his breath. "Medical teams to the embarkation room now!" He watched as SG-5 came quickly through the gate, followed by Jacob, Daniel... He was holding his breath again.
Colonel O'Neill carrying Major Carter rushed through the gate. "Medics NOW!" O'Neill yelled as he ran to the bottom of the ramp. Two members of SG-3 followed them. "Close the iris!" they yelled as they came through.
"Jacob, where is Teal'c and the rest of SG-3?" Hammond asked as he rushed into the embarkation room. Hammond didn't want to think that they might have lost others during the rescue.
"All are safe, George. Teal'c is flying the cargo ship back and two of SG- 3 went with him. They should be back in a couple of days."
The medical teams were rushing Sam off to the infirmary, Janet flying behind them, O'Neill and Jacob on her heels.
It was 0600 as Janet walked into the area of the infirmary where Sam was. As she pulled back the curtains, she saw Colonel O'Neill move away from her patient. "Colonel, what are you doing here at this hour of the morning? I believe I told you to go get some rest. Actually, I think it was an order."
"Jack," Janet's voice became a little less bossy, "she will be okay. You need to take care of yourself. You have been through as much as she has."
"Then why am I awake and she's in a coma?"
"I don't know. It may have had to do with using the healing device when she was in such a weakened state. Selmac doesn't understand why either. However, it is a light coma. She should come out of it on her own in a few days. You are not going to change that by making yourself sick. I am willing to bet that you haven't been eating either."
He shot her a guilty look. "I haven't been hungry," he said flatly.
"Go, out, now!" Janet turned back on the bossy tone. "I have to examine her and you can't stay here for that. At least go eat. Don't darken my door for at least two hours." He gave her a defiant look. "I can ask General Hammond to make it an order if you don't want to take one from me," she continued, ignoring his look.
He walked over to Sam, brushed her hair off her forehead and trailed his fingers down her jaw line. "I'll be back. Later." He glared at Janet as he left the room. She watched him go. She knew this was hard on him. She knew what Sam meant to him.
Jack headed down to the commissary. Not that he was hungry, but at least he could tell Janet he tried. He was lost in thought. He tried to be logical. If Sam had not healed him, they probably would never have gotten out of there alive. He knew that, but it didn't help. Seeing her lying there so pale, so lifeless, it was unbearable. She had never regained consciousness. They made it to the cargo ship with no problem. Angra Mainyu's Jaffa had headed for the gate. They had no idea there was a ship there. Selmac had used the healing device. Sam's vitals had stabilized. They ringed down to the gate and got back to the SGC before the Jaffa reached the gate. It was a textbook rescue op. But Sam wouldn't wake up.
Jack saw Daniel, Teal'c, Jacob and Kaveh sitting together at a table when he entered the commissary. Daniel waved him over. "How's Sam?"
"Still out. Janet says it's a light coma and she should come out of it in a couple of days."
Jacob looked carefully at the haggard looking Colonel. He was beginning to suspect that Jack's feelings for his daughter ran deeper than just a C.O. for his 2IC. 'I told you so,' Selmac's voice echoed in his head. 'Yeah, I know. You like saying I told you so don't you,' he acknowledged her comment. "Jack, you need to eat something. You look like hell."
"I know, Jacob, Janet said the same thing. I'll be back." Jack turned away from the group and headed for the chow line.
"I think that he is hurting more for his namzad because of what he nearly did," Kaveh said quietly to the men sitting with him.
"Namzad?" Daniel said. "That means betrothed."
"Are they not 'betrothed', as you say? I listened at the door several times while they were talking. I thought they were." Kaveh was confused. He knew that they had declared their love for each other. He couldn't see why anyone so much in love wouldn't be together.
Daniel glanced at Jacob before replying. "They aren't, Kaveh. Our military doesn't look kindly at officers engaging in personal relationships. They are close but not in that way."
Kaveh shook his head slowly. "I think I understand but I do not agree. They are meant for each other."
"Well, it would be best for them if you don't mention this to anyone else, including them," Daniel said softly, seeing Jack return. Kaveh nodded his agreement. Daniel wondered about the other part of what Kaveh had said. What had Jack nearly done?
Jack set his tray down on the table and sat down next to Kaveh. "Kaveh, I don't think I ever thanked you for helping us. I know how hard it was for you to give up all you know to do it. I want you to know that I owe you." Jack extended a hand to Kaveh. Kaveh had seen this gesture used by several of his new comrades so he took Jack's hand.
"It is my honor to serve."
Janet ran through Sam's vitals, checking various readings. She was in so light a coma that it almost appeared that she was just in a deep sleep. Jack had told her enough to know that he and Sam were in constant pain for the five days of their imprisonment. She could tell that the Colonel was leaving something out but he wouldn't give her more information than that. Janet sat down on the edge of the bed across from Sam and watched her friend. She was beginning to think that Sam didn't want to wake up. She didn't know what to do at this point.
"Doctor Frasier?" General Hammond's voice came from behind the curtain.
"In here, sir."
"How is Major Carter?"
"I don't know, sir. She seems to be in a coma. Comas have a wide range of causes including head injury, stroke, cardiac arrest, hypoglycaemia, hyperglycaemia, hypothermia, drug overdose, and kidney or liver failure. I have run tests for all of them. The healing device would have corrected most of these things so she shouldn't be still unconscious. Of course, sometimes a coma can be the result of psychological stress rather than physical trauma. I can't get Jack to talk to me about what happened during their imprisonment other than what you have read in his report. They were tortured with a device that caused sustained intense pain in all of the cells in their body. They had minimal food and water, both of which they had trouble ingesting due to the pain. They were both severely dehydrated and under nourished. They both were healed by the hand device. However, the Colonel is awake and the Major is unconscious. I don't know what else to do." Janet's frustration showed as her voice grew a little louder and shriller in tone.
General Hammond laid a hand on her shoulder. "I know you are doing everything you can, Doctor. Don't take this out on yourself."
Janet sighed. "I'm not, sir," she continued in a calmer tone. "Sam's my best friend. It's just so frustrating not being able to help her. I have her on I.V. fluids and nutrition. She is breathing easily on her own. I just hate playing the waiting game."
"I know. Let me know if there is any change." Hammond turned to leave.
"Sir, I know it is unorthodox, but I would like to have Colonel O'Neill stay with her as much as possible. He knows what happened and maybe he can, I don't know, talk her out of it. Besides, I can't seem to get rid of him without threatening to tell you to make it an order."
Hammond smiled and nodded. "I'm not blind, Doctor. I realize that there may be more to the relationship between those two than there should be. However, they have never let it affect the team or the smooth operation of this facility. So, if you think he can do any good, he is on downtime until further notice."
"Thank you, sir."
Janet smiled and shook her head as she watched the retreating General. He was one of a kind.
Jack sat as long as he could with the group. He didn't hear anything they had to say, he just pushed his food around on his plate, moving it from one place to another. He checked his watch again. It had only been an hour since Janet ordered him out of the infirmary. He had another hour to kill. Kill, he had almost killed Sam. He was going to do it. He had his hands around her throat. He looked at his hands. His fork had dropped to the floor. His hands began shaking violently. His whole body started shaking, then blackness.
Daniel was engrossed in what Kaveh had been saying about his former master. He didn't notice Jack's tremors until the fork dropped. Everyone looked over at Jack. He was looking at his hands, all the color had drained from his face and he was sweating profusely. His body began violently shaking and he slid from the chair into unconsciousness.
Jacob jumped from his chair to kneel beside Jack, checking his vitals. Daniel phoned the infirmary. Teal'c leaned over to pick up his fallen friend and rushed out the door. Everyone followed on his heels.
Janet slammed down the phone and called over to her nurse, "Incoming emergency! Colonel O'Neill collapsed in the commissary. Teal'c is bringing him now. Let's go!" They rushed out of the infirmary with emergency gear and a gurney to meet the Jaffa.
Teal'c saw the doctor headed toward him at a dead run, gurney right behind her. He stopped and laid O'Neill on it. Janet immediately began examining him as the gurney headed back toward the infirmary, shouting information at her nurse and orderlies. They moved with the grace and speed that Teal'c had come to admire in Doctor Frasier and her team. He found it reassuring that they were there for his friend.
Janet and the orderlies moved Jack to a bed in the infirmary. His blood pressure was low, his skin was cool and clammy, his pulse was weak and rapid, and his breathing was shallow. It was a classic case of shock. "I want a CBC, arterial blood gas and blood chemistry. Start an I.V. for fluids, elevate his feet, get some blankets over here and get him on oxygen. Move!"
Teal'c, Daniel, Jacob and Kaveh stood back watching as the medical team raced around O'Neill worked to stabilize him. Jacob's internal companion had noticed something that Kaveh had said earlier. 'Jacob, we need to find out what Kaveh was referring to when he said that Jack was hurting for something he nearly did. I think it has significance to his current condition.' Jacob nodded slightly. "Kaveh, can we talk?" He indicated the door to the hallway.
Kaveh followed Jacob out in to the corridor. He was not comfortable with the one that was Goa'uld but wasn't. He had heard the legends of the Tok'ra but had believed them to be just fables. "How can I serve?"
"You said something earlier that Selmac is curious about. You said that Jack was hurting for something he almost did."
Kaveh nodded. He understood that this man was the father of Major Carter and he wasn't sure what his reaction would be to the information that O'Neill was going to kill her to relieve her pain. "You must understand first the amount of pain and despair your daughter was going through. She had lost all hope of rescue and the pain of my master's torture is excruciating."
"I know that, from personal memory. Selmac was once in the hands of your master. She suffered much and I can remember the pain through her."
Kaveh sighed with relief. Maybe this one would truly understand. "She was to be taken again the night we escaped. She knew it was coming. She had pleaded with Colonel O'Neill when he was returned that morning to... end it for her. She claimed she could not go through another session. They argued about it. O'Neill reminded her of all the times they had been captured only to escape victorious after having destroyed the Goa'uld that had imprisoned them. He promised her that rescue would be forthcoming and pleaded with her to endure. He promised that he would find a way to... end it... within the next two days if escape was not forthcoming."
Jacob's face grew hard. Neither of them had noticed Teal'c and Daniel at the door to the infirmary listening to their conversation. Kaveh continued, "They must have fallen asleep because their conversation ceased at that time. I left to attend my duties with a heavy heart. I could tell she was desperate. I was afraid that he would honor her request. I came back to the cell several times during the day to check on them. They slept most of the day."
"A few hours before dark, I was keeping watch outside the cell, listening for them to wake." Kaveh couldn't maintain eye contact with Jacob anymore. He knew that Jacob was growing angrier by minute. He knew this was his fault; he shouldn't have let it go on as long as it did. "Major Carter awoke before he did. She was crying, the pain of which caused her to cry out loudly. It woke up O'Neill. She pleaded with him again to end it. She was almost hysterical in her pain. He told her that he couldn't kill her, that he loved her too much. She used his love for her to convince him that she couldn't go on. That this was the only way. He finally agreed. This convinced me to help them. I stopped him as he was about to strangle her. I couldn't let it happen. That's when I agreed to help them escape." Kaveh looked up at Jacob. His face had softened and there were tears in his eyes.
"I knew that Jack had feelings for my daughter, but..." His head bowed and when he raised it, Selmac was in control. "Thank you for the information, Kaveh. I will relate this to Doctor Frasier. It may in some way help in her treatment of him and of Samantha." Jacob/Selmac turned to go back to the infirmary and saw Daniel and Teal'c standing there.
Teal'c was as stoic as always but there was the hint of moisture in his eyes. Daniel, on the other hand, was wiping tears from his eyes. "Selmac," he said, "After Charlie, you know what that would have done to Jack."
Jacob/Selmac nodded, "I know."
Kaveh looked puzzled. "Who is Charlie?"
Jacob/Selmac walked into the infirmary as Daniel began to explain about Jack's son accidentally killing himself with Jack's gun and the darkness that had descended on him after that.
Janet shook her head in disbelief at the information Jacob relayed to her. She now understood the Colonel's reluctance to leave Sam's side and his inability to sleep or eat. Jack was stabilized but unconscious. 'Great, how do you treat something like this!' she thought. It was grief for what nearly happened. If Sam didn't come out of it soon she didn't know what the Colonel would do.
"Move his bed into the same area as Major Carter. I want them near each other so we can monitor them both closely," she told the orderlies. They looked at her a little strange but complied with her order. She knew it was probably foolish, but comatose patients were known to be aware of their surroundings. Maybe if Sam knew that Jack needed her it would help her awaken.
"Doctor, what the hell is going on?" General Hammond entered the room rapidly. "What's wrong with Colonel O'Neill? I thought you cleared him.
"I thought so too. Follow me." She led the General into the curtained off area containing the Colonel and the Major. "It looks like shock brought on by severe depression, probably post traumatic stress. You know that comatose patients can sometimes hear what's going on?" The General nodded. She continued, "I want to relate this to you in here so maybe she can hear as well." She went on to tell him what Jacob had told her.
General Hammond stood watching his two best officers after Doctor Frasier left him. He knew that it would have killed Jack to do it. He remembered what Jack was like when he first met him. The agony of what had happened to his son had been clearly written on the man's face. He knew that Jack had been suicidal on that first mission to Abydos; that's why General West had picked him for it. Something on Abydos had given him reason to live but the sorrow was still there. Hammond also knew that the changes for the better that formed in his 2IC over the last few years had a lot to do with Sam.
Sam was special to many people. Himself included. He had known Jacob for years. He had known Sam all her life. Like Jacob, he missed a lot of her growing up. She was almost a stranger when she started under his command. Over the years he had come to admire her for herself and not just because she was Jacob's daughter. He could understand the agony that Jack must have gone through at the thought of ending such a beautiful existence. Hammond patted Sam's cheek as if she was as young as one of his granddaughters. "Wake up soon, Sam. We need you." He looked at Jack in the bed four feet from hers. "We all need you." He patted Jack on the shoulder and left the infirmary.
Jack could hear noises. His eyes wouldn't cooperate and open. But he heard noises. Beeping, murmuring, voices out of hearing range. Where was he? Smells. Antiseptic smells. The infirmary? Memories swirled. Or dreams? He couldn't tell. Pain, he remembered pain. Not just physical pain. His heart hurt. He remembered looking at his hands and wondering why they were trembling, no, not trembling, shaking, violently. Darkness. He remembered the darkness, starting to close in. Where was he? A voice. He heard a voice saying his name. Sam? Where was she? The memory of closing his hands around her throat rushed into his mind! NO! Sam! Where are you, Sam? His mouth wouldn't work; his voice wouldn't work. His mind screamed but there was no noise.
Janet rushed in to see what was wrong. Jack's monitors showed an elevated heart rate, his breathing was rapid. "Jack, Jack, can you hear me? You are in the infirmary. Everything is okay. Sam is okay! Sam is all right! She is here, right beside you." She hoped he could hear her and understand. After she what she had learned about the events that had transpired on the planet she knew that Jack needed to know that Sam was okay.
There was a voice. It was saying that Sam was okay. His panic lessened. The pain in his heart seemed to ease. Janet? It was Janet's voice. Sam was all right, she was here, beside him. His eyes felt a little less heavy. He felt that if he could concentrate hard enough he could get them to open. Concentrate.
Janet saw his eyes flutter a little, his heart rate came down to a more normal level and his breathing calmed. "Jack, that's it, open your eyes and talk to me. Come on, Jack!" She watched as his eyes opened slightly. She took out her penlight and opened them further, shining the light in to them. Watching his pupils constrict.
"Aaah!" He hated that damn light. "What?" He whispered. His voice worked.
"Good, Colonel, I see you are coming back to us. You gave us a little scare there. Do you remember what happened?"
"No. Head hurts."
"That's okay, I will give you something for the pain and you should rest."
"She's right here beside you. She is becoming restless. That's a good sign that she may be waking soon. Since you refused to get any rest or eat, you ended up where you wanted to be. Right next to her in the infirmary!"
Janet laughed. "Relax, Jack. I'll be back with something for your head."
He watched her leave. He was so tired. His body didn't want to move. He looked around the bed to make sure he hadn't been restrained. He turned his head to look at Sam. Doc was right. She was a little restless. Her eyes were fluttering under her lids, her color was a little better and her mouth moved a little as if she wanted to say something.
Janet returned with a shot for him. "The gang should be down in a minute. They demanded to know as soon as either of you woke up. I've had to run them out of the infirmary several times."
She had also spoken at length to Jacob about what had happened. She needed Jack to talk to someone and she knew his aversion to psychiatrists. She felt that Jacob would be the best to handle it as he was Sam's father and Selmac had been through a similar experience. Jacob had agreed although she felt that there was a lot of internal discussion over it. Jacob had to come to terms with the fact that Jack had nearly killed his daughter. Selmac was evidently able to convince him that the circumstances were extreme and that it was the last thing Jack would want to do. Selmac had noticed the feelings between Jack and Sam long ago. Jacob refused to believe until now. Selmac was evidently enjoying the 'I told you so'.
Daniel, Jacob, Teal'c and Kaveh all rushed into the infirmary like kids chasing the ice cream truck. They practically fell over Janet as she was coming through the curtains from Jack's bedside. "Hey, guys, easy! He's awake but barely and he is in some pain. Don't over tax him!" she warned, giving them the 'I run this infirmary, now behave or I'll throw you out' look. They all managed to look sheepish enough for her to let them continue.
"Hey, Jack," Daniel said. "You sure know how to get our attention!"
They surrounded his bed as he grimaced at them. "Yeah, Daniel, you were just boring me too much." They all laughed lightly, all except Jacob.
Jacob, moving between Jack and Sam's beds, he leaned over his daughter to kiss her forehead. "Hey, Sammie, how ya doin'?" He brushed her hair back. "She looks better today. Her color's better." He carefully kept his back to Jack. He couldn't face him yet. Selmac kept telling him that he was being childish, but she couldn't convince him otherwise.
"Yeah, Doc said that she was getting restless, said it was a good sign." Jack watched as Jacob continued to stroke Sam's hair. Her eyes fluttered at the contact and her mouth moving slightly. He envied Jacob the right to show open affection to Sam. He wished he could have that right.
His friends sat with him quietly, not talking much. He appreciated their lack of questions and conversation, but he did feel better with them all there. They continued that way until Janet ran them out half an hour later. She insisted that he needed rest. Like that was going to happen. Jacob never said a word to him or looked at him directly.
Janet had removed most of the monitors from him and took out his I.V. She insisted that he ate and actually had stood there watching while he did. Then she left him in peace.
Sam continued to move restlessly. He never took his eyes off her. Finally, he shakily got up and rolled his bed closer to hers. If he had to stay in bed, fine, but he wanted to be able to touch her. He lay back down on the edge closest to her and carefully took her hand in his. Her skin felt normal. He sighed and waited. He didn't remember falling asleep.
Janet peeked through the curtains, hoping that Jack had finally gone to sleep. It had been nearly ten hours since he woke up. She was sure he had not gotten any rest in that time. She smiled when she saw him sleeping peacefully, his bed pulled close to Sam's, her hand in his. Well, touch has also been known to wake a comatose patient. His touch might do the trick. Sam was quiet now. She had been restless most of the day. Janet was sure she would come out of it soon.
Sam felt so light, like she was floating. The only thing holding her down was someone's hand. It was holding hers. She squeezed it slightly. She could feel rough calluses. She could hear noises. Beeping. She squeezed the hand again. It didn't hurt. She remembered that it should hurt to touch. She began to take a mental inventory. She didn't hurt anywhere, not like before. Everything hurt then. When? When was then? Was she dead? No, she didn't think so. She took a deep breath. It felt like she was breathing. She could feel the air push into her lungs. She could hear her heart beating. Beating. Beeping. They seemed to be synchronized. Infirmary? She took another breath. Smelled antiseptic. She could feel her heart beating a little faster. The beeping kept time. She squeezed the hand again, harder.
Jack woke; the sound of Sam's heart monitor had gained speed. Then he felt it. She squeezed his hand! "Sam? Sam, talk to me, wake up for me, please, Sam. Wake up!" He squeezed her hand back.
She heard something, not the beeping. A voice. A pleading voice. Jack? She remembered him pleading with her. He didn't want to do something, something she begged him to do. He was pleading with her now. He wanted her to do something.
"Wake up, Sam. Talk to me. Come on, baby, you can do it!"
Baby? Did he just call her 'baby'? "Did you just call me 'baby'?" Her voice didn't sound like hers. It was hoarse, low. She could barely get her eyes open. She tried to look at him. He looked out of focus. She blinked a couple of times. He came into focus.
Jack laughed aloud. "Yes, I did, and it got a reaction out of you!" He pulled her hand to his lips and kissed the back of it gently.
"We escaped from Anger Man! Kaveh got the hand device. You healed me and then he led us out of there. Of course, you were slung over my shoulder at the time, so I don't expect you to remember it! Your father, Daniel and Teal'c were waiting with SG-3. SG-5 had taken back the gate. It took so long because they had to come by ship since the gate was guarded. Jacob healed you and we gated home. Teal'c and two of SG-5 flew the cargo ship back. And here we are!" He joyfully kissed the back of her hand again.
She was rather shocked at his open display of affection, not that she didn't enjoy it! Her memories were so fragmented. She felt like her mind was a computer slide show in fast motion. She couldn't seem to stop it. She closed her eyes trying to concentrate. 'Jack, if you really love me, don't let me go back in there. I can't take it anymore!' The words flashed in her head. 'You know I love you, Sam.' 'I know, Jack. I love you too. I'm sorry.' 'So am I, my love, so am I.' More words, memories. Flashbacks, the pain, the pain on Jack's face as she asked him to do the unthinkable. She gasped as the realization of what she had done, all he had been through and she asked him to kill her! Thoughts of Charlie and Jack's depression over how he felt responsible for it flashed through her head. She gasped again. She could feel his hand squeezing hers tightly.
"Sam, calm down. It's over." He could see the memories wash over her.
Her breathing was coming in almost sobs. "Jack, I am so sorry, I didn't have the right to ask you to do that." Her eyes filled with tears. They started flowing down her face, her sobbing continued as he scooted across the space that separated their beds. He gently pulled her up close to him, wrapping his arms tightly around her.
"Sam, it's over! Don't think about it! It's over and we are both safe!"
"You knew we would be! You didn't give up! I did! I asked you to do the unthinkable! I used your love for me to get you to agree to..." She couldn't continue; her sobs took over as she buried her head in his chest. He rested his chin on her head, rubbing her back with one hand while she cried.
The night duty nurse looked in through the curtains. She saw Colonel O'Neill holding a sobbing Major Carter. She started into the area when the Colonel looked at her and slightly shook his head. She understood. He would call her if he thought the Major needed help. She didn't know the whole story of what had happened, but she knew enough to believe that crying could be cathartic. However, it didn't keep her from calling Doctor Frasier.
Jack continued to hold Sam, rocking her gently, murmuring in her ear. The sobs seem to subside a little. By the time he saw Janet peeking through the curtains, Sam had calmed somewhat and was silently crying, clutching the front of Jack's t-shirt as if she would never let go. He shook his head at Janet and continued to rock Sam. Janet nodded and turned away.
Janet breathed a sigh of relief as she walked into her office. She sat down in her chair and just stared at the wall. This was going to be a tough recovery for both of them. She would need to talk to General Hammond. They were going to need a little leeway when it came to the frat regs. She sighed again. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to have left them together on SG-1 after finding out the depths of their feelings for each other. Janet knew that they had conducted themselves properly but it made situations like this difficult.
Janet looked at the clock. It was 0430. No sense in trying to get anymore sleep tonight. She got up and started the coffee maker. While it was brewing, she went back to her desk to check her calendar. She was sitting there reviewing the day's appointments when she heard the call button. Quickly she walked into where Jack and Sam were.
Jack had tried to lay a sleeping Sam back down on the bed, but her hands were still tightly clutching his shirt. He gave up trying to pull her hands away, even in her sleep she wouldn't let go. He finally just lay down with her, pulling her head onto his chest and wrapping his arm around her.
Janet appeared through the curtains and gave him a Teal'c like eyebrow. "Sir?" she questioned as the eyebrow came down into a frown.
"Uh, she won't let go," he replied sheepishly, pointing to the death grip Sam had on his shirt.
Janet's face relaxed into a soft smile. "Well, it is probably helping her to remain calm, so I will put it down as part of her therapy. I will, however, warn you if the General or Jacob head this way! No sense in you getting reprimanded or pummeled in the infirmary!"
"I appreciate the thought!"
"How much did she remember?" Janet returned to business.
"Enough," he said flatly.
"Colonel, I have been fully briefed by Kaveh and Jacob. I know what happened, or to be specific, what almost happened. I believe that is why it took so long for her to wake up. I also believe it is why you collapsed. So, I will ask again. How much did she remember? I need to know to determine the next step in treatment for you both!"
Jack hesitated. "She remembered that part. The fact that we were rescued after all, which I kept telling her we would be, well, she feels guilty that she wasn't strong enough to wait. She also feels guilty for," Jack stared at his toes, "for using my feelings for her to convince me to agree to her plan." The last part came out rushed. He continued to stare at his toes.
"Colonel," Janet's voice softened, "Jack, you were both under enormous stress, physical and mental pain. You cannot be held responsible, and neither can she. Until you both come to terms with it, you won't be able to move on."
He looked up at her, his eyes and nostrils flaring. He spoke quietly so as not disturb Sam, but she could hear the anger in his voice. "Janet, I nearly killed her, I nearly strangled her to death, with my bare hands. Stress! Bullshit, I nearly lost control. I was going to do it before Kaveh stopped me. If he hadn't been there, Jacob would have rushed in to rescue his daughter only to find her dead by my hands!"
"Jack, calm yourself, you will wake her up. She doesn't need to see you like this just yet."
"She will eventually need to know the anger you feel in order for you both to move on. Right now you both need some rest but eventually you will need someone to talk to."
"I'm not seeing a shrink."
"I didn't say that, I said someone. And you will or you will be permanently removed from field duty." Janet's face had hardened into the doctor knows best mode. "Right now, sleep." With that, she left the room, giving him no chance to argue.
Jack knew he would never get back to sleep. He looked down at Sam, her face snuggled into his chest, her hands still clutching him desperately. He relished the feel of her next to him. He gently kissed the top of her head and tried to relax. Jack's thoughts kept running back to the cell, to Sam's face pleading with him to help her. She was in so much pain then. He knew he hadn't been thinking straight when he agreed to her request. Jack also knew that his agreement is what spurred Kaveh to help them. He tried to convince himself that had he not been willing to put Sam out of her pain, Kaveh would not have helped them.
Jack's head hurt. It was too much to think about. He didn't remember falling asleep. He glanced down at his sleeping Major. She had released her grip on his shirt and moved her arm around his waist. Sam had a soft smile on her face. At least her nightmares were gone. For now. He slowly caressed her shoulder and ran his hands up through her hair. Jack didn't remember falling asleep.
Janet was engrossed in her work. She was trying to research cases similar to Jack and Sam's. Of course, she wouldn't find anything about alien torture, but there were enough cases in human experience. She didn't hear General Hammond come in until she heard her name being called. Ooops!
"Yes, sir," she called as she emerged from her office to see General Hammond and Jacob looking at the peacefully sleeping Colonel with his 2IC snuggled up against him. "Good morning, sirs."
"Don't 'good morning' me, Doctor. What is going on here?" Hammond had daggers in his eyes.
"Major Carter woke up about 0400 this morning. She remembered some of the events of her incarceration. She got hysterical. By the time the duty nurse informed me, the Colonel had Major Carter calmed down enough to forego any drug treatment. Although she finally fell asleep, she had the Colonel's shirt tightly in her grasp. He and I attempted to release her hands, but even in her sleep, she wouldn't let go. I told the Colonel to just stay there and get some sleep himself. Evidently, his presence had a calming affect on her. After the trauma she has suffered, I will use any means of treatment at my disposal, regulation or no." The last part of her speech was tinged with defiance.
"Oh, well, I guess," General Hammond stammered, "I guess you know what's best for your patient. If you will excuse me, Doctor, Jacob?" He exited the room quickly. He knew better than to argue with his CMO. She may be a petite person but she was a fireball when it came to her patients.
Jacob watched George go with amusement. Any good general knew the strategical value of retreat. "You do that very well, Doctor."
"I have no idea what you are talking about, Jacob," she smiled with her eyes instead of her mouth.
"I'm sure you don't, Doctor. Can I go in to see Sam?"
Janet hesitated. "Jacob, she really needs rest and so does the Colonel. If either of them woke and you were there to witness, eh, their current sleeping arrangements, I think it would make them both uncomfortable. It would probably scare the Colonel into a relapse!" The smile now reached her lips. "I will call you when she wakes up. Go get some breakfast."
Jacob nodded and smiled back. He was gratefully to Doctor Frasier for her devotion to his daughter. He knew they were best friends and Janet would do anything in her power to help Sam through this. He walked toward the commissary lost in thought. He didn't know what to do about Jack. He had always respected the man, the soldier. He didn't always show it, he liked getting under Jack's skin. But after Kaveh's revelations, well, he wasn't sure how to cope with it. 'Which revelation, Jacob?' his perpetual conscious queried.
'What do you mean, Selmac?'
'The one where he declared his love for Samantha or the one where he agreed to kill her?'
'You know you are a pain in the ass sometimes.'
'Yes, you have told me that frequently. But humor me and answer my question.' Her thoughts were tinged with humor.
'Both I guess. Or the first one maybe, damn it, Selmac, he's closer to my age than Sam's, he's been through more than Sam will ever know! I've read his file and I know the things he's capable of. I just don't know if I can accept that he loves her.'
'Or is it that you can't accept that she loves him as well?'
'Yeah, then there's that.'
Daniel watched Jacob come into the commissary. He looked like he was having an argument with himself. Of course, he probably was arguing with Selmac. He wondered about that. He watched as Jacob poured a cup of coffee and absentmindedly walked over and sat down across from Daniel. He didn't say anything, just sat there with a look of frustration on his face.
"Good morning, Jacob," Daniel said, startling Jacob out of his internal argument.
"Oh, Daniel, sorry, Selmac can go on about stuff."
'Like you can't, Jacob!'
"Oh, shut up, will you!" Jacob said irritated.
"Sorry, Jacob, I will go," Daniel replied, startled.
"Oh, not you, Daniel, I was talking to Selmac. We are just going to have to agree to disagree on some things."
"Oh, okay. Do you have any word on Sam?"
Jacob's face brightened and then darkened again. "Yeah, she woke up early this morning. Janet won't let any of us in just yet. She said Sam needed to rest. It's not like she hasn't been asleep enough lately!"
"Weeell, that's good news, Jacob, why the long face?"
Jacob hesitated and looked around, it was still early and there wasn't anyone near their table. "What do you know about Jack and Sam's, uh, feelings for each other. I know what Kaveh said, but you didn't act as if this was a major revelation for you. Neither did Teal'c but he is harder to read."
"Well, I guess we've always known that Jack had feelings for Sam. He never acted on them. He always maintained proper decorum and never did anything improper. He probably would have never even spoken of it to her. Sam was always harder to read. I knew she respected him and considered him a friend. The SGC is important to both of them, more important than personal feelings or relationships. I have always thought that once this was all over, that would change." Daniel stopped to take a sip of his coffee before continuing. "Do you remember the Zatarc incident several years ago?"
Jacob nodded. "That's when Martouf/Lantesh attempted to assassinate the President while under Goa'uld mind control."
Daniel nodded, "Well, what you may not have been privy to was that Jack and Sam were suspected of being Zatarc's as well."
Jacob nodded, "I was informed of that. They ended up being retested and were cleared of suspicion."
"The reason that the detector suspected them was that they were not entirely truthful about the incident in question. The bad thing is they didn't even realize it. The part they left out was the reason why Jack wouldn't leave Sam behind when she was trapped behind the force field on Aphophis' ship. It came out during the retest. He said he cared more for her than he was supposed to. That he would have rather died himself that leave her behind. Her retesting brought out similar feelings. The whole thing was kept under wraps. Only Anise, Teal'c and Doctor Frasier were present. Even General Hammond wasn't aware of what transpired. I would have probably never known but Jack got drunk one night when I was at his house and spilled his guts."
Jacob's face had gone from severe to soft. "No wonder Jack fell apart yesterday. Oh, my God, if he feels that deeply for her, he must have been in shock since Kaveh had stopped him." Jacob's head lowered slightly.
"Jacob is right. He must have been in shock, but we failed to see it. The healing device would have masked the symptoms. That would explain the delayed reaction." Selmac's voice had replaced Jacob's. "We should inform Doctor Frasier. It may further aid her in prescribed treatment for them both." Jacob/Selmac rose from the table to leave as Teal'c and Kaveh entered the commissary.
Daniel stood up as well. "I will go with you. Good morning, Teal'c, Kaveh. Sam woke up early this morning. We are going down to the infirmary. We may need you to watch our six if we are to get past Janet to see her." He laughed at Kaveh's look of confusion.
"Do not worry, Kaveh, Daniel Jackson is attempting to use a Tau'ri custom known as humor. He does not do it well. However, Daniel Jackson, I will accompany you."
"As will I," Kaveh said with a smile. Evidently, Kaveh was more familiar with the concept of humor than Teal'c was.
Sam was warm and comfortable. She was awake but didn't want to open her eyes. She suspected that her nice warm pillow was actually Jack's chest, mainly because her pillow rose and fell with his breathing. She remembered their early morning encounter. She felt a blush rise at her complete loss of control. She knew how he hated tears and she had been sobbing. She remembered him telling her that everything would be all right. They were both safe but she couldn't bear the memory of what she had asked him to do. She knew she had not been in her right mind but it was still inexcusable. He had suffered so much loss in his life and she had asked him to... Her mind faltered. She couldn't even say it to herself.
Jack stirred in his sleep. He could feel something warm on his chest, something tickling his stomach. He opened his eyes to watch Sam absentmindedly playing with his shirt. She seemed lost in thought. "Good morning, Major," he whispered.
She gasped and looked up at him. "I'm sorry, sir, Jack, Colonel, I didn't mean to wake you." She tried to sit up and move away from him but he pulled her back down.
"Can we just pretend that we are still asleep? Janet knows and she's agreed to warn us before the General, or worse, your father show up." He smiled at her as she lay back down, getting comfortable on his shoulder.
"Jack, sir, oh shit. I don't know even what to call you anymore," her frustration showed in her voice.
"Sam, Jack will do fine in private. I've always wondered why you wouldn't call me Jack off duty anyway."
"It made it seem possible," she replied softly.
He didn't answer. He knew what she meant. He always called her Carter, rarely Sam, for the same reason. He squeezed her gently. "We have a lot to talk about."
"I know, just not yet, not here," she said, her finger starting its circling on his stomach again. "Later. I imagine Janet is going to force us to see Mackenzie after this."
"Probably, if not Mackenzie, then someone else. We both have been through a lot. It will take some work to get through it." He felt her tense up and shiver slightly. "Sshh, Sam, it's okay. Don't think about it now. Just heal physically. We'll worry about the rest later." He gently kissed her forehead and held her tighter. "I could get used to this."
"So, could I."
Janet poked her head through the curtain. "Company's coming." She was pleased to see them both awake and smiling. Maybe things would work out after all.
Jack jumped up, probably quicker than he should have from the way he grasped the side of Sam's bed. He got it under control and quickly slipped into his bed, winking at both Sam and Janet. Just in time, as the curtain opened to admit Jacob, Teal'c, Daniel, Kaveh and General Hammond.
"Good morning, everyone! Look who decided to join us!" Jack pointed at the smiling Sam.
"Dad, it's good to see you," Sam said as Jacob quickly crossed to her side. He hugged her with a ferocity she rarely saw in him. "I'm okay, Dad. Or I will be."
"I know, Sammie, I am just glad to see you awake." He planted a kiss on her forehead and sat down beside her on the bed.
Janet watched the group, smiling and talking. She walked away thinking that things will get back to normal after all. Or as close to normal as Stargate Command ever is.