A New Point of View
STATUS: Complete (currently being edited)
CATEGORY: SJ Friendship/Romance
SPOILERS/SEASON INFO: Major ones for Point of View; minor ones for Children of the Gods, Brief Candle, Solitudes, In the Line of Duty, Out of Mind, Into the Fire, Learning Curve. The story pretty much diverges from the SG-1 universe after Point of View.
ARCHIVE: SJ Relationship Archive and Heliopolis; all others just drop me a line.
SUMMARY: The events of Point of View forces Sam and Jack to see their relationship in a new light.
DISCLAIMER: All characters on Stargate SG-1 that appear in this story is owned soley and exclusively by MGM, Double Secret Productions and World Gekko Corp. The author is in no way appropriating these characters for monetary gains, and any infringement on the rights of the aforementioned companies is wholly unintended. References to place names and plot lines that appeared on Stargate SG-1 is likewise the property of the above companies.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is my first 'epic' (ie. long!) Stargate fanfic so, needless to say, I'm kinda nervous about what I've done. Please, please give me feedback! It would help me so much!
Copyright (c) Vivian Ngan December 1999 - January 2001
Major Samantha Carter averted her eyes from the scene unfolding before her in the mirror. Beyond the surface in the alternate reality from whence her fellow team members had just returned, a strangely poignant scene was being played out. She saw herself, or rather a mirror image of herself, tenderly stroking the handsome yet worn face of her commanding officer, Colonel Jack O'Neill. Her large round eyes were moist with unshed tears and her long, flowing blonde hair cascaded down her back. In all physical respects she and this mirror image were identical - in fact, they *were* actually the same person, but from alternate realities. She was struck now, as she carefully kept her gaze firmly plastered onto the floor just below the mirror, of how much of who she was now had been forged from the unique choices that she had to make, and how much there was that was inherited from her genes. What if she hadn't chosen to join the Air Force ... what if they hadn't accepted her ... what if she hadn't chosen to try to attain that high standard of excellence that became her as her father's daughter? What if she hadn't devoted precious hours to a field of study where she currently excelled at ... was able to help people with ... what would she have been like then? Would the result have been a completely unknowable Samantha Carter, or this other Samantha ... not an officer in the United States Air Force, but a civilian theoretical astrophysicist that had been happily married and still doing what she loved most? Had it been her fate or her choices that had ultimately determined who she was and who she was going to be?
Sam didn't know. Still secretly reeling from the revelation so indelicately betrayed by the other reality's Major Kawalsky, that this *other* Sam Carter had actually been married to their reality's Colonel O'Neill, loved him with such depth and passion and force that had quite literally stung her into speechlessness. It was all she could do at that point to stare, blank eyed, at Colonel O'Neill seated opposite her at the large SGC conference table. His eyes had darted with embarrassment from face to face, had looked towards her with more than a hint of unease, then had finally settled onto a spot directly in front of him on the table. Sam, usually reserved, could not contain the sensation of mild incredulity that had overtaken her being as Major Kawalsky explained how he would never let "his best friend's wife" go back to that other Goa'uld infested dimension alone.
His best friend's wife. Those words rang in her ears. They sounded sweet to her, like a faint echo carried on a summer's breeze. The more she thought about it the more those words seemed to resound within her. It was as if she had lost all ability to control her mind. Images danced in her vision and carried with it faint snatches of musical joy ...
Sam had dragged her consciousness back to the meeting. What Colonel O'Neill had felt when he first discovered this fact she couldn't tell - judging by his reaction, she guessed that he had known for some time. That only served to heighten her confusion and uncertainty.
Sam, in her capacity at the SGC, had handled a variety of unusual situations - as evidenced by her experiences since joining SG-1. Her job there had allowed her to see so many strange and wonderful things, that her mind was now constantly opened to new possibilities as they presented themselves. But this - that in her own world, this other *her* had been married to Colonel O'Neill, and that they had been happy together - it was as if that had been the most difficult to process during the last few days. It was strangely personal, and seemed to strike a discordant note within her. Sam was faintly aware that in a secret part of her soul she wondered what it would be like to be with him ... wondered if she could soothe and calm that tempestuous and tortured soul within him ...
Beyond the mirror, Colonel O'Neill and the other Samantha Carter had separated from their tight, departing embrace. Sam noted that even the usually sarcastic Colonel was affected by her Dr. Carter's deep love for that other him. She wondered whether he envied him ... Sam knew that she envied that other her.
He deftly disentangled himself and was instantly in the room with them again as General Hammond switched the alternate reality device off. The picture of that long-haired, blue eyed Doctor Carter wavered and dissipated from the mirror.
The personnel that had been jammed into the tiny storage room were silent. Although conditioned to the strange, often intergalactic occurrences that formed part of the daily routine at the Cheyenne Mountain facility, the possibility of an infinite number of parallel realities seemed to peculiarly touch each person with an unanswered question of their own.
"Well people, I think this has been quite a day for us. What's say we take it easy for the rest of the day?" General Hammond issued the command with softer than usual tone, in keeping with the somewhat sombre pall that had descended on those present. He gestured towards SG-1 as personnel were exiting the room.
"I think it'd be best if SG-1 took some time off from duty. It's been a hectic couple of weeks and I won't blame you if your nerves feel a bit raw. I won't have it said that my primary team aren't always in ship-shape condition." He smiled kindly at Daniel and Teal'c. "I think you people really need some rest. And you two -" he switched his attention to Sam and Colonel O'Neill, "I don't even want to imagine what that must have been like for you two, finding out things like that. That's why I think it best for you to return home for the next 36 hours. Just to recharge some batteries. So, for the time being, SG-1 will be at a stand-down." He smiled warmly at all of them.
Colonel O'Neill made a move to protest but the General was adamant. He ordered that they were to be driven home straight away.
Sam walked in an animated trance. She didn't know why all this had bothered her so much. After all, didn't Jolinar's invasion of her body rank as a much more dramatic event than finding out some alternate reality version of herself had been married to your commanding officer? Sam's scientifically geared mind turned the question over and over. She sighed. She knew that she wouldn't be able to stop thinking about it that night.
She stole a sideways glance at Colonel Jack O'Neill as she effortlessly fell into step beside him. He seemed as unperturbed as ever, staring mindlessly into the distance as they were kindly escorted to the surface level of the Stargate facility. His dark brown eyes, empty and withdrawn now, were at other times capable of much more unrestrained expression. When he had believed himself dying from premature ageing, there had been tremendous sorrow and regret in those eyes; whenever the team were in a dangerous situation, there was always a steely twinkle that seemed to suggest his conviction that they would always make it out alive; and when they had all been captured by Hathor and led to believe that their fellow team members had died, she had seen a genuine and deep-seated anguish. Such intensity of feeling that she would have backed away from, if only that expression hadn't been for her.
She remembered the moment well. They had both been so happy to discover that the other was alive that, for once in their working relationship, they had flung all military formality aside and hurled themselves at each other without restraint. Then of course there had been an awkward moment afterwards when they both realised what that surge of energy suggested as their bodies came into contact was probably best not discussed in the middle of Goa'uld territory. When they had been safely returned to the SGC the right moment seemed to perpetually evade them until gradually there was an implicit agreement to let it go.
As they were ushered into the waiting elevator, Sam was struck suddenly by a question that she had never before posed to herself. What in the world would she do if Jack O'Neill disappeared from her life? She realised only now how fully she had come to rely on his judgement, the wisdom born of experience, and that charming boyish confidence. It came as a somewhat humbling thought to the vastly independent Major Samantha Carter to realise that she now considered Colonel Jack O'Neill one of the most important people in her life.
Sam got up from her bed for the umpteenth time that night and headed towards the kitchen for a glass of water. She had predicted that tonight would be a night of sleepless meandering, yet she was now nevertheless quite unequal to the task of doing anything about it. She was in a state of nervous agitation. Every fibre of her being seemed infused with a crazed, maniacal energy that compelled her body into constant motion. She was at a loss as to what to do. She had already digested all the quantum mechanics she could for one night. She had typed up her report outlining the activities of the previous few days. She had cleaned and scrubbed until her home was devoid of dirt. There didn't seem to be any other thing she could do.
Well maybe there was one more thing she conceded to herself. Sam picked up the phone and speed dialled it to Daniel. She and Dr. Daniel Jackson, the team's archaeological and linguistics expert were quite close and talked often, especially after a particularly arduous expedition. She found it easier to converse with him than to the other two members from her team since he felt like such a brother to her. Teal'c and Colonel O'Neill were both somewhat reserved when it came to personal confidences.
"Daniel? It's me, Sam." Daniel didn't sound sleepy, suggesting that he had been staying up again. It was often his practice to completely forget about the time while studying some fascinating point of contention in ancient history or arguing with fellow archaeology experts half a world away on an interesting question that had occurred to him on their travels. Daniel was a being possessed when it came to discovering more about ancient cultures.
"Hey Sam, what's up? You sound tired." Although painfully absent-minded at times, Daniel could always be depended upon to immediately ferret out that something was up. He was one of the most sensitive and caring souls she had ever met. And every time she realised that her heart filled with sympathy for him thinking how his wife had been cruelly ripped away from him by Apophis to serve as his consort. She respected him as a person even more, knowing that he had been able to channel his anger productively and retain his sweet and sensitive disposition.
"Uh ... It's strange really. I didn't realise how much it's affecting me." She replied falteringly. It had always been hard for Sam to open up, even to a friend as patient as Daniel. It seemed like there was an automatic clamp down procedure inside her whenever she approached sensitive personal topics.
"Uh ... what exactly?" Sam could hear him mentally shifting all his focus onto the conversation. Daniel knew that Sam needed time and space to pour her heart out, and he could sense that whatever it was, it must have been important. Sam's feathers usually didn't get ruffled quite that easily.
"It's ... the whole inter-dimensional thing the past few days. Meeting myself from another reality ... seeing her ... hearing that she had this similar yet incredibly different life from me. It's strange ... confronting ..." She frowned and let her voice trail off. It had been harder than she had thought to broach the subject that she had been wrestling with for most of the night.
"Well, I think it'd be difficult for anyone really. I mean, particularly about Jack and you ... I mean with that other you." Daniel had guessed what had her contorted with agitation, and rather characteristically had approached it with care and caution, tactful as ever. Sam inwardly thanked him. She was finding it slightly easier to breathe now.
"Yes. I mean, how much of what we are, what our life is, is directly attributable to fate ... how much is the result of what we ourselves decide? I mean, I used to believe that you meet someone, and you fall in love with them, and you want to marry them, and it would be perfect because ... Well, that person would be 'the one'. The one you're fated to be with, to share your dreams and your life with. And seeing them together today ... it was like ... that ideal from myself confronted me as I was watching them. I mean ... either the person we end up with is just the right person at the right time, a freak of nature; or it could be like how I've always imagined it to be, that there's this magical bond of fate with the person you're meant to be with." Sam paused to crystallise her thoughts. "And that idea makes me more uncomfortable because it would mean ..." she couldn't get the rest of her ridiculous idea out of her mouth.
"...That you and Jack were meant to be together." Daniel finished it off for her. She was grateful that he had not laughed in her face. She usually credited herself with expressing at least semi-coherent ideas that followed some train of logic, but this idea of her and Colonel O'Neill ... Jack ... *together* ... seemed to defy all logic. It seemed to repulse any notion of sense, yet there was that something there, that had been forged out of the heat of danger and battle during their missions, and it made her heart start to swim to entertain such an idea ...
It had been there for awhile, but she had felt it most acutely when they had been attempting to break out of Hathor's trap the second time. His obvious relief at finding her still alive; his protective grasp of her, as he had held her tight against him to avoid an encounter with Hathor's guards ... but mostly she was surprised at her own instinctive grasp of him in those terrifying moments, wishing fervently that the guards would go past them unnoticed. And then they had embraced, without thought or caution, when he had emerged from the cryogenic chamber still in reasonable control of his own body. Her surge of relief at that moment was one of the most strongest emotions she had felt in her life. That relief had paralleled the sickeningly wrenching sensation she had felt when she watched as Hathor glided up to him and made him a host to a Goa'uld, promising that he would watch himself kill his friends. The concern she had felt was not for herself but for him. She had reasoned afterwards that she would have felt the same way if Daniel or Teal'c had been similarly threatened. And yet now she was unsure whether this was in fact the case.
But it was utter ridiculousness to be even contemplating such a possibility. She felt sure that whatever respect and friendship Colonel O'Neill had for her, that was *all* that he had for her. She was his subordinate, and that was that. It would be committing emotional suicide to go any further.
Yet the look of loving adoration that the other Sam had bestowed upon him grated at her with enough intensity to make her uneasy. Her science had taught her to seek our answers to questions, and the events of the last couple of days definitely raised a question that was begging to be answered.
"Daniel I know it sounds ... crazy ... *stupid*. It's not as if I had any ... feelings ... for him." Sam inwardly cringed at the thought. "It's just that ... it's making me uneasy to think that I'll always be wondering what might have been. It's really bothering me, and I don't know why!" Sam could feel her anger and frustration mounting with each moment.
"Sam, I think it's been a really confusing couple of days for you. It's a lot to absorb for anyone, what with meeting, well, yourself from another reality, and to find out that you and Jack were ... well ... I think you should take a step back from all of this. Do something completely unrelated. In the meantime, you should definitely take a nice hot shower, drink some warm milk and get some sleep. I don't recall we particularly had too much of that at the SGC the last couple of days." Sam could almost hear his sympathetic smile from the other end of the phone.
"Yes, you're right ... I know ... Thanks for listening to me Daniel. You can go back to arguing with that French archaeologist now."
He laughed. "... I was actually cross referencing unorthodox theories relating to the origin of the ancient Mayan civilisation to determine if we've come across any similarities to cultures on our missions."
Sam laughed at his enthusiasm. "You get some sleep too, okay?"
"Will do. Good night Sam. Try not to worry about it too much." Sam smiled as she replaced the receiver onto the phone. She did feel better now. Talking to Daniel had soothed her somewhat frayed nerves . Humming a tuneless melody, she headed towards the bathroom for a hot, relaxing bath.