Summary: A river separates the team from the DHD, and there is no choice except for one of them to cross. But the decision may end up costing one member of SG-1 their life.
Season: Five, no spoilers
Warnings: Minor language, action violence
Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. I have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author.
A/N: While cleaning up my PC, I found this little fic, and realized it was actually my very first bit of fanfiction, predating Nine Lives. I started writing it way back when, never finished it, and forgot about it. I believe it to be several months older than Nine Lives, which means I started it well over a year ago! I don't remember what I originally intended with this little bit, I know it wasn't this. But I decided to finish it once and for all. As an added bonus, I'm including the original file, in its entirety, completely unedited. I just thought you all would like to see how my mind works; I really have no idea where I was going to go with this one lol. The other thing I found amusing was that the original was written using Wordpad because apparently I didn't have Word, so was working completely without a spell and grammar check, and no beta! So, as you can see, I'm completely useless without spell and grammar check! The original title was also "Rapids" but when I wrote the ending, I changed it, you'll see why. Oh, and this isn't my usual barrel of laughs.
Just Breathe by iamdragonrider
Why did their missions always seem to turn out with them running for their very lives? Major Samantha Carter reflected on SG-1's typical luck as she quietly surveyed the rush of water now separating the gate from the DHD. It looked like it would be a bit harder for her to follow the Colonel's order to dial home. She felt the rest of the team come up behind her as Colonel O'Neill, supporting part of Daniel Jackson's weight while Carter had gone on ahead to start dialing, swore when he took in the scene. Teal'c remained impassive, his staff weapon at the ready, looking back the way they had come keeping watch for the creatures that had caused the earlier than expected run for the gate. For now the beasts seemed to be holding back, perhaps frightened by the earlier noise of the automatics and the fiery blasts of Teal'c's weapon.
"Now what, sir?" Sam asked, her brow furrowed in perplexed concentration as she studied the new problem.
"Think you can make it across Carter? Where the hell did that come from anyway?" demanded O'Neill as he surveyed the white frothed river that hadn't been there when they had gated to this planet just two days ago. When they had arrived there had only been a light trickle in an old mostly dry streambed in front of the gate, the DHD in the center of it. Now a wide river rushed across the space in front of the Stargate, creating an island of the DHD, and the current looked strong. In fact, the water lapped up right to the base of the DHD, which was fortunately on slightly higher ground than the water or it would have been completely submerged.
Sam grunted, and dropped her pack, opening it to rummage for some rope. Standing up she nodded to her CO, "Yes sir, I can make it," she stated confidently as she straightened up, dropping the rope and shucking her vest, jacket, and started to untie her boots. As much as she preferred to keep her boots on, the water appeared too deep and strong, the added weight would pull her under, so any extra clothing had to go. It certainly wouldn't do anything to keep her warm as soon as it got wet at any rate. "The suddenly warming temperatures must have caused snow melt in those mountains," she speculated as she continued ridding herself of excess gear, jerking her head in the direction of the far off peaks to illustrate her point, "Looks like that stream was fed by the runoff. The storm the other night probably didn't help much either."
Suddenly, Teal'c spoke up, interrupting her. "O'Neill, I believe the creatures that attacked us are nearby, concealed in the foliage. I do not know how long before they will strike at us again."
The rest of the team looked up and Sam thought she caught a glimpse of shiny black fur, a glinting eye over there, a rustle of leaves. She shuddered slightly. Only two days ago the first of the creatures had attacked them while they had been studying some ruins of Daniel's. She'd been crouched down, collecting soil samples, and had felt the back of her neck prickle, turning too late to move out of the way of the leaping horror, which had been heading straight for her unprotected back. Fortunately Teal'c's staff blast had struck the thing, turning it aside, but she still remembered the creature's cry of rage and pain as it disappeared into the forest surrounding the ruins. But there had been multiple answering cries from what could only be more of the same creature. Colonel O'Neill had immediately ordered everyone to pack up and move out. Not surprisingly, no one had argued.
They made good time until they were just a few miles from the gate when one of the creatures grew bold and attempted another attack, leaping out at Daniel before anyone knew what was happening. Teal'c had managed to blast the thing, soon joined by O'Neill, then Carter's automatics, but not before Daniel had managed to badly sprain his ankle attempting to evade the creatures leap. Fortunately for the team, the death of the creature that attacked them seemed to scare the other creatures off a bit, and they dropped back, but the team knew the creatures still pursued, from a safe distance. They could hear the things, moving around, crying out to their companions.
O'Neill thought if the things were trying to wear them down they were doing a pretty good job of it, as he looked around to survey his team, all of them sported scrapes and bruises from their flight through the forest. Each of them was tired, Daniel slumped against a rock, his injured leg stretched out in front of him, and it had been torture to keep moving on his swollen ankle. Carter sported a nice scratch along her cheek from a low branch that had caught her, and now that she'd taken off her jacket he could see more scrapes and bruises on her arms and neck. He knew he was similarly decorated, and he wasn't sure if his left wrist was broken or just badly sprained from an impromptu fall. His knee was hastily wrapped in strips torn from a spare t-shirt, and he knew he'd wrenched it, hopefully not too badly, but it was bad enough that it needed the support of the wrappings and that last sprint holding up Daniel hadn't been the best move on his part, but they hadn't had much choice. Even Teal'c looked a little battered, not having been able to spend enough time in kelnorim to heal his injuries. None of them had been able to rest very long during the trip back to the gate.
O'Neill walked over to his second, who had just now finished removing her boots in preparation for her attempt to cross over to the DHD. "Ready for a swim Major?" he quipped and was rewarded with a small smile, as he picked up the rope and proceeded to tie it securely around her waist, then looked for the best place to tie the other end to, settling on the rock behind Daniel.
"We'll watch your six Carter, good luck," he said. He would have preferred to do it himself, he hated sending members of his team off to do something, but with his injuries, fording a raging river just wasn't an option, not if he wanted to get his team home. As for the others, Daniel going was out of the question, and they needed Teal'c and his staff weapon to help keep the creatures at bay while someone tried to make it to the DHD. Besides, she'd be able to dial them out faster than he could, and speed was of the essence. It looked like Carter was the only choice, as the most mobile team member they could spare, since it was between her and Teal'c. Sam flashed him a brief smile and started towards the water without a word.
O'Neill gathered up the slack in the rope as she stepped into the water with a gasp. "Cold, Carter?"
"No, sir," she replied, flashing him another brief smile, that quickly faded to a wince, as the water rose up to her thighs, then past her hips, "The water's great!" She raised her arms up to keep her balance, as the strong current threatened to knock her legs out from under her.
"Liar," he replied knowingly, but appreciating the levity all the same.
"Uh Jack?" O'Neill looked over at Daniel, slumped against the rock, his handgun out, and pointed towards the tree line. O'Neill followed the direction Daniel's weapon was pointing and caught a glimpse of black fur and sharp yellow teeth.
"Teal'c, what say you we make a little noise? See if we can keep them from advancing?" O'Neill lifted his own P-90 suggestively. Jack handed the rope to Daniel, who took over keeping the right amount of slack in the line, letting it slowly play out while Sam made her way.
"Indeed." Teal'c replied as he brought up his staff weapon.
Keeping one eye on his 2IC as she made slow and steady progress across the river, and another on the tree line, Jack and the other two men did their best to keep their pursuers at bay and watch over their fourth teammate who was making her way alone.
Meanwhile, Sam fought against the current to keep her footing. The water was quickly up to her stomach, and in some areas past it, and numbingly cold. Within minutes, she could barely feel her legs. The first time she lost her footing, and slipped under the icy water she panicked, as the current tossed her around and she became disoriented. But the rope tightened painfully around her waist, grounding her, and she fought her way to the surface, coughing and spluttering, thoroughly soaked and freezing her ass off, and a bit more downstream from her goal than she intended. The next time she lost her footing and went under, Sam was more prepared, and didn't panic, but it wasn't any more pleasant. Each time she had to fight the current to win her way back towards the small island containing the DHD. Dimly, she heard the sounds of a staff weapon and an automatic, and knew that time was precious for the rest of her team. They needed to get off of this planet.
Her world narrowed to placing one careful foot in front of the other, until it was only her struggle to make her way to the DHD. And finally, she was hauling herself up to it, her arms wrapped around its cold surface, her breath coming in ragged gasps, struggling to hold on and dial with one hand. She sent the signal and then risked turning her head. Her team looked so far away, and she was so not looking forward to the return trip across the river. But she had to get back across if she wanted to go home. One of the figures waved, Daniel. Letting go of the DHD with one hand, Sam waved back, and slipped back into the frigid water. She couldn't feel her feet anymore.
On the opposite bank, Colonel O'Neill watched Carter's return progress with growing concern. The stargate had sprung to life and he had already communicated the sit rep to Hammond, they were keeping the door open on the other side. It had taken her over fifteen minutes to make it across the first time, and he was worried because she was moving a lot slower this time, and had already gone under the water several times already in the first five minutes. He knew she had to be tired and cold. Add to that fact the creatures seemed to sense that their prey were getting ready to go somewhere and were getting bolder, because they were getting closer and more daring. O'Neill was starting to worry they wouldn't be able to hold them back long enough.
Carter had made it painstakingly past the halfway mark, and was maybe about five minutes away from them, when the unthinkable happened. A massive tree trunk, nearly as wide as the river itself, came barreling along, trapped in the current. Daniel saw it first. "Oh god, Jack!"
"Shit! Carter!" But he knew, even as she saw the danger, and stared back at him, blue eyes wide with horror, that there was nothing she could do. Frantically, she tried to move out of the way, doubling her pace, but the current was too forceful, and she wasn't strong enough. Helpless to do anything, the three men watched from the bank as she threw her arms up to protect her head, and then the tree, wider than Teal'c was tall, blocked their view. And then, the rope securing Carter to the rock behind Daniel snapped.
With a desperate shout, Daniel lunged for the end of the rope, heedless of his own safety. He caught the end, crying out as it ripped through his hands, burning them. But he refused to let go, even as it yanked him onto his stomach and dragged him towards the river, threatening to pull him in. Suddenly, a heavy weight was on top of him, and a large, dark, set of hands were in front of his, taking off some of the pull of the rope, slowing them both down. And then a third set of hands joined theirs, and slowly, they stopped sliding towards the river. Daniel found another large rock, and wedged himself behind it, ignoring the shooting pains in his ankle and hands.
It seemed like forever before the terrible pull on the rope lessened, and they could start pulling back, and the rope behind them grew. There was resistance on the end of the rope, and they could only hope that meant that Sam was still on the other end. And then Daniel became aware of something else in the periphery of his vision. His eyes widened. "Uh, Jack, we have company."
Jack cursed. "I think you can let go Daniel, we got it, can you try and scare them off?" Jack's face was a mask of strain as he and Teal'c bore the brunt of the work to haul Sam in, Daniel had mostly been anchoring them, but he was needed elsewhere now. Perhaps when they got back, they should name this planet Murphy's Planet. Looking about, Daniel spotted Teal'c's staff weapon. Daniel snatched it up with a wince, but couldn't give his bloodied hands much thought, as he started to fire the staff weapon randomly.
The large black, panther-like animals had broken from the cover of the trees, and there were a lot of them, moving in an ever-closing circle. Daniel had no doubt that if they could, they would surround them and cut them off from the stargate. The staff weapon had a bit of a kick, which didn't help his hands, but Daniel ignored the pain, and fired into the circle, allowing a satisfied smirk to grace his lips when the animals howled in frustration and drew back slightly, milling in confusion. He'd been close to making some fascinating breakthroughs when these big hairy cats had spoiled the party by showing up uninvited. And he was more than a little pissed off at being chased most of the last day, and he was so not going to be some overgrown kitty cat's entrée.
And then suddenly Teal'c and Jack were hauling a limp and unconscious body from the river. She wasn't breathing, and her lips were an alarming shade of blue, but there wasn't time to do anything but run, because the pack was closing in again, and this time they looked like they were ready to attack. Teal'c had Sam cradled in his arms and Jack was hauling Daniel to his feet, Daniel firing the staff weapon over his shoulder to buy them precious seconds as they stumbled to the gate as one. And then they were through the wormhole, slamming into the metal ramp.
"Close the iris! Close the iris! We need medics here, Carter's down!" Jack was shouting, and Teal'c hadn't stopped moving, carrying his precious burden to the waiting medical team. They barely heard the thumps against the iris, so focused on the scene in front of them. Sam's head rolled limply as Teal'c placed her body gently on the waiting stretcher. He laid one hand briefly on her damp forehead, and backed quickly out of the way, moving to join his teammates again.
Janet Fraiser and her medics were all over the woman in seconds, pounding on her chest and forcing air in and water out. Orders were briskly called out and many objects changed hands and were inserted or placed about the unresponsive form. It looked like chaos to the untrained observer, but somehow, the medical team made sense of it all. And on the end of the ramp, three lone men stood an island in shock; staring at the cold, gray limp body in the center of all the activity. It wasn't right that she should be so still, not Carter, who was so vibrant, so full of life, so colorful. She shouldn't be so listless, so colorless, when she had so much life to live, so much yet to give.
But the medics buzzed around her lifeless body, and water came from between blue lips, that should have been pink, and her normally bright blue eyes remained closed despite all their efforts. "Goddammit, Major! Breathe!" Doctor Fraiser ordered sharply, her voice cracking and belying her professional mask of medical detachment as she forcefully rubbed the unresponsive woman's sternum in a maneuver that would no doubt leave bruises.
On the ramp, three men remained standing shoulder to shoulder, wordlessly echoing the command, silently mouthing their own words over and over in harmony with each other. "Breathe, just breathe. Please, just breathe."
And then there was a gasp, and a cough, weak at first, and then growing stronger and more forceful as waterlogged lungs struggled to draw vital breath. The three men unconsciously grasped each other's arms, unaware they were holding their own breath, as the medics turned the woman on her side, pounding on her back, helping her to expel the water. Her skin slowly lost its awful pallor, though it still remained pale, as the medics slipped an oxygen mask over her face, and covered her with blankets. Just before they wheeled her from the room, her eyes opened, and she looked frantically around the room, searching.
They knew what she wanted, and without asking permission, the three men moved forward as one, leaning on each other as needed, and reached out their hands, meeting her outstretched one halfway, each one taking a turn and walking to keep up with the moving gurney while at the same time staying out of the way of the medics. Janet said nothing, knowing that Sam, and indeed the rest of SG-1, needed this physical reminder just as much as the medical interventions. Assured, Sam lay back, and she breathed, and the rest of SG-1 breathed with her. They'd beat the odds again.Finis
A/N: As always, thanks for reading and reviewing. I hope you enjoyed. For those that didn't read the first author's note, the second chapter is just the original more than year old incomplete version of this story that for some warped reason I wanted to share, just because it was my first ever baby fanfic (as you an see, I've always whumped Sam), and as an example of why you should always use a spellchecker (or why I'm useless without mine.) Besides, aren't you curious as to how my mind works? Yeah. Didn't think so.
Mmm. And I'm sorry to disappoint if you were hoping for Sam/Jack, since this turned into a team story. I figured in this one they were all there, and they all loved Sam, hence, we saw Danny risking himself for Sam, and Jack yelling for the medics, and Teal'c gently carrying her, and all of them willing her to breathe… And no touchy feely team bondy infirmary scene, I'm stopping at the near death, because I've written a lot of nice touchy feely infirmary scenes I think, but this was a first at a resuscitation, and having lived through several of those in my line of work, I tried to capture that timeless adrenaline rush quality, where you want to cry, but you can't because there's a life in the balance, so you fly along, and pound on them, and you will them to breathe goddammit, because that's all you can do sometimes. And sticking in my mind as I wrote that ending scene was Switchfoot's music video "I Dare You to Move", in which a lifeguard is working frantically to resuscitate a young drowning victim, while friends or family look on. In fact, I almost called the fic, "I Dare You to Move"