Spoilers: Don't know. General knowledge of the show. Takes place somewhere before Season Eight
Disclaimer: I don't own them; I'm just taking them out for some fun. I'll put them back when I'm done. Promise.
AN: Violence/gore/rape subject matter. Turn back now if it's upsetting. This is not my normal stuff. This is not happy fluff. Not by any stretch of the sick and twisted imagination.
The sound of her name echoed through his head with every step he took. But it was better than hearing the awful sound that had tormented him for hours before he made his decision to act. Just thinking of it threatened to bring the images to his mind. He ran harder, ignoring his lungs' cry for air, denying his knee's request to slow down. He had to get to her. He had to. His eyes searched the darkness, instinct finding the shortest path to the town. There was firelight in the distance, lighting up the windows of his destination, taunting him with how it never seemed to get any closer. Rather than give into the despair and throw himself to the ground, he retrained his eyes in front of him. He couldn't see a thing; he was surprised he hadn't hurt himself. Not that it would have stopped him. He was on a mission, one more important than any he'd ever been on before.
Find her. Save her.
Even as he willed them away, the images came back to him, unbidded, unwanted, unwelcome. Their ridiculously mundane arrival through the gate. The typical welcome of the natives. The clichéd leader with a crush on Carter
She has the most beautiful eyes he'd said.
No shit, Sherlock had been his unspoken reply.
Carter had ducked her head, trying to hide her embarrassed flush. No matter how many times he'd watched someone tell her that, she always reacted like it was the first. He'd wondered right then how she would behave if he said it himself - if he would get the same shy avoidance or if he'd get something far more encouraging.
They'd spent the day wasting everyone's time making useless pleasantries. They didn't know the naquadah was worth anything, but once someone started asking, it suddenly became invaluable.
The bastard had even had the balls to ask if he might be willing to trade Carter for all the naquadah on the planet.
Go to hell he'd said. It had actually come out exactly the way he'd thought. Everyone, including Carter had been shocked. Not that he cared. He wasn't in the mood to play. He'd ordered his team out, bringing up the rear himself to make sure no one gave chase.
It had taken almost four hours to get back to the gate. Not their longest haul by far, but the heat had gotten to them. Perhaps they weren't quite on their game.
And then half the fucking town surrounded them, pointing weapons, throwing rocks, attacking. They put up a valiant fight, Jack tried to tell himself. They'd fought to the best of their abilities, Teal'c assured him. Hell, even Daniel had fought with a passion Jack had never witnessed before. And Carter - she'd fought like nothing any of them had ever seen before either. Probably because it was so painfully obvious that they were only after her.
The massive group had won, of course. Valiant struggle or not, the three men watched helplessly with their own weapons pointed at them as the group dragged Carter away. She'd continued to fight, as well as she could restrained like she was. The leader made them stop and for one glorious second, Jack dared hope they would release her. Instead he backhanded her across the face. She was so stunned by the force of the blow that she dropped to her knees.
There was a strangled cry from the circle of three when she hit the ground, but Jack could never be sure if it had been his own or Daniel's.
The man's hand moved, possessively touching her hair, her cheek, her chest, then cupping her chin, forcing her to look up at him. Carter's eyes darted from her attacker, fixing on Jack's. He saw fear in her eyes, terror that he knew time would never erase. The man raised his hand to strike her again. "Jack!" The man's arm came down, dropping Carter the rest of the way to the ground. There was no resistance as they carried her unconscious body away.
When he'd awoken a short time later, the ones who had been guarding him were gone. As were their weapons. Daniel was in shock, frantically begging someone to dial the gate so they could inform the general, then hysterically asking Jack if he'd dreamt the whole scene, and then vehemently informing Teal'c that they had to return to the town and negotiate Carter's freedom.
Teal'c said nothing, but his head hung down in such a way that his disappointment with himself was clear. Jack had assured him quietly that getting himself killed wouldn't have helped. Then he turned to Daniel, not quite meeting his panicked friend's red eyes, and assuring him that they would get Carter back.
But Jack he'd said, fear sounding in the tremulous voice you don't think they'll ra-
No, Daniel, of course not. Of course they would, he'd thought, they're barbarians.
Jack was in his own kind of shock, ordering them to set up camp, ignoring Teal'c single reminder that they had skipped their scheduled check-in with the SGC. Jack couldn't do it. He couldn't face Hammond without Hammond knowing something was horribly wrong and he wouldn't let himself be ordered to do nothing while some dumbass diplomatic team came in to negotiate. He sat silently by the fire, stirring the food Teal'c had given him. He wasn't hungry. His thoughts had stayed on Carter, seeing horrible images of what she was enduring. He set his untouched dinner down and ducked into the tent, promising with a false confidence that they'd get Carter back first thing.
It had been while he stared into the fire that he'd felt something against his leg. The one throwback to his black ops days that he'd never been able to shake. The one thing about him that no one on his team knew. The one weapon they hadn't stolen. Jack pulled the serrated knife from his boot, feeling the weight in his hand. He'd kill. He would. He thanked God for his past; it was finally going to serve someone.
With his ears trained on the muted conversation by the fire, he thrust the knife through the back wall of the tent. He drew it back and forth slowly, quietly. He didn't want them to know. He didn't want them to help. He wanted to save her, to avenge her, himself.
Do you think they'll hurt her? The almost childlike innocence in Daniel's voice only steeled Jack's resolve. How dare they steal that from him. How dare the steal that from her.
I do not believe there was any way to successfully stop them. Teal'c rarely dodged a question and Jack heard what Daniel didn't - that he was as sure as Jack that unspeakable things were happening to a member of their team.
Jack's hand shook as he replaced the knife in his boot and tore the fabric the rest of the way. She should have been with them. She should have been picking at her dinner and pretending she wasn't cold, even though her teeth would be chattering as she denied it.
He waited. Waited for Daniel's nervous chatter to die out. Waited for Teal'c to suggest that Daniel get some rest while he stood watch. Waited for Daniel to agree. But Daniel didn't. It was the younger man's refusal to close his eyes that told Jack, despite his pathetic questions, that he knew full well what was happening and he didn't want to quiet down long enough to think about it.
He waited a bit longer, knowing Daniel would eventually sleep anyway. He made his exit as quietly as he could, creeping deep into the treeline before he dared look back. He could see Teal'c's form sitting by the fire. And he could swear he felt his eyes burning into him. It could have been all in his head, he knew, but he gave a curt nod nonetheless. Teal'c, of all people, understood revenge.
He shook his head, trying to force back the thoughts. He needed to be sharp, as sharp as he'd been thirty years earlier, before such a thing as conscience held a candle to the desire to be good. He'd done a damn good job for the government for all those years and he'd paid the price with nightmares and wrinkles and prematurely gray hair and the complete inability to let himself love. He did love, of course, there were no way to stop an instinct that strong, but he didn't admit it and it had the same effect on his soul.
Pull. Climb. Don't breathe. Be silent.
He had to have been one of the best. Because there he was, at fifty, scaling the outside of a nearly smooth building, hell bent on murder.
Maybe it won't be necessary.
He squeezed himself through the small window, dropping to the ground in the dark room, knife at the ready to meet anyone who might have noticed his arrival. He paused, letting his sense reacclimate to the darkness. There were some candles burning in the windows of other rooms and he'd search them all until he found her. And God, how he prayed he'd find her uninjured, unharmed, just scared and desperate and waiting for him. That was the only way he could keep himself focused rather than staring at the blade and thinking about using it on himself.
No time to waste.
He longed to be the hero who would burst through the door just at the moment when the bastard would be threatening her. But there was a taunt ringing in his ears as he searched the building room by room. It had taken him so long to return. They'd taken her so long ago. He feared the length of time it had take him to realize he still had his knife had been the fateful period when they taken from her what he couldn't get back.
It'll never be the same anyway.
The cold, hard fact was that was the situation every team feared - especially those with female members. The one time when they couldn't pull the rabbit out of the hat. The one time when they lost control and watched one of their own be taken. The team would never be the same. He would never be the same, not even if she was fine.
She'll never be the same.
And she would never look at him the same way again - not after the way she'd called for him. The one time - one single time - she'd used his given name and meant it. She'd been expecting something. That he'd somehow come through her for and rescue her. He was rescuing her.
But it was too late.
He knew from the way she lay, bound and gagged, on the bed. The way her shirt was torn and her pants undone. The way she didn't even check to see who it was - just mutely turned away. The way her shoulders shook as she cried silently, resigned to her fate.
He needed to see it. He needed to cause it. He needed to spill it.
He found him in the next room, lying on his stomach, smirking in his sleep.
Jack felt nothing but the absolute resolve as he grabbed the man's hair and jerked his head back.
The right thing. Or the closest thing to it.
The man didn't have time to utter a sound before the knife slipped across his throat.
Jack didn't look back, didn't look down at the blood on his hands, didn't look at the dripping path back to her room. He said nothing as he used the same knife to saw through the ropes that held her. He didn't try to comfort her. He barely registered the sick look on her face when she realized what the blood meant. Of course she would object to the violence. Of course she would. But she'd just been kidnapped and raped and he told himself she was out of her mind. She'd rather have him kill a man to free her than be left there forever.
He tried to deny the guilt he felt rising up. He focused on helping her dress. He watched as she tried to close her shirt with shaking hands. He watched as she tried to button her pants although the button and zipper had been torn away. He pulled his own belt off, saying nothing as he looped it around her. It was hopelessly big, but it did the trick. He shrugged off his jacket and helped her button it around herself - she slowly closed the first button in the time it took him to work the others.
He took her hand then to guide her. She was crying, sobbing openly, and he realized it might not just be the emotional horror she'd just been through. He almost gagged when he realized she was probably in pain - it hurt her to walk. He couldn't speak. He wouldn't look at her. He knew she wanted to curl up in a ball and hide from everyone in the world and he refused to torture her further by staring at her.
He only squeezed her hand tightly as he led her through the woods, the blood slowly drying between their hands until it formed seal.