Category: Hurt/Comfort (Sam/Jack)
Notes: First fanfic in quite a while! Figured out I missed it muchly so I may be getting back into writing it. Feedback greatly appreciated! I'd love any kind of response (within reason!).
Disclaimer: Alas, they are not my creation. Stargate SG-1 and the characters are the property of MGM. There is no infringement is intended and no profit made. Sadly.
It wasn't the hard, uneven ground beneath her that brought her to consciousness; nor was it the suffocating heat pressing onto her. She wasn't aware of the stale blood on her forehead; the sickly taste in her mouth had yet to register. Sam Carter didn't wake to the pain. She woke to a secure embrace, her head buried in a toned shoulder.
And it rushed into her, the shooting pains in her forehead, the pounding in her chest; or perhaps it was pounding in her forehead and shooting pains in her chest, it was too hard to tell. Sam groaned and pressed herself against her commander's solid frame, breathing him in desperately, as if he was the living antidote to restore her damaged body.
"Hey, come on, Carter." His voice was soft, a soothing sedation that calmed her pain. It was also toned with worry. "The pain'll go, eventually."
Make it go now, she pleaded silently.
"Sit up a bit, okay?"
For the first time she was aware of his own short breaths. She took a moment – imprinted the feel of his collar against her cheek – before raising her head. It screamed in protest, but his sharp intake of air was far more painful.
"Y'alright?" Jack O'Neill was gazing at her, a mountain of concern behind his pale eyes. She smiled weakly and he returned the gesture.
He nodded, assuring her he was there, he was real – that he'd felt the same disorientation, same sense of total unreality when he came to. I'm here, he said, in silence.
"…where are we? What… what happened?" His face was beginning to come into focus, and Sam realised they must be the mirror image of each other: muddy, spattered with blood. She had no way of telling whether it was theirs or one of the others'. She jerked. "Daniel? Teal'c?"
Her urgency was dissipated by his unmoving gaze.
"Don't know," Jack replied gravely. "Think they got away. They're not here, at any rate."
"And… and what about you? Are you hurt?"
Sam sat up fully, for once allowing herself to cast her eyes over his body. He was sitting, propped up against the wall; he let his arm fall from around her shoulders and she felt its absence. His t-shirt was torn. It was hard to tell through the dirt if he was injured; she looked up at him for a response. He gave a half-shrug.
"Coupla cracked ribs, bit of nasty bruising – oh and the ol' knee's playing up again, but not to worry." He smiled at her. It was one of those rare moments when she found that she was incapable of smiling back.
He tried to move the conversation on. "You?"
"Er… good question, sir." She hoisted herself into a better position, and Jack held out his arm to offer support; it wasn't needed, but she appreciated his consideration nonetheless.
Carefully, Sam traced her forehead. The blood there didn't seem to be her own, or at least there wasn't any obvious source for it. She concentrated: her whole body ached and it was difficult to pinpoint any specific pain.
"You, er…" – Jack cleared his throat – "gashed your side. I bandaged it as best I could." She noted the torn edge at the bottom of his black t-shirt and thanked him.
He was grateful that she couldn't see into his thoughts right then; thankful she hadn't been awake as he had improvised the dressing of her wound. It was when he had first woken up. Sam was still out from the drugs they'd forced down her throat, and they'd either given him less of the drugs or given them to him earlier, because his second–in–command was to remain unconscious for two more hours after he began to stir.
So he'd woken, gone through the nausea and the confusion. Found Sam lying there beside him, looking like Autumn: a beautiful fall of life from a graceful sky, gently dying. He'd muttered: muttered to himself, to her, to the absent members of his team. He couldn't remember what he'd actually said, but he was pretty sure he'd cursed Daniel for not reminding him to shoot the first person that invited them for tea.
Maybe he'd shoot himself to make up for it.
Then he began to come to his senses, noticed the growing pool of blood on the filthy floor. When he realised it was seeping from Sam's side, he'd panicked; checked her pulse, pressed his ear over her mouth. She was alive and she was breathing. He ripped a strip of material from his t-shirt and then sat there for a full minute, with no idea what to do with it. Just that he'd seen it on ER once, or maybe one of those cop dramas. He wasn't a medic. He could bind up a leg, maybe even sling up an arm, but as the life leaked out of his 2IC he had trouble remembering how he'd come up with makeshift bandages countless times before.
He'd moved beside her, peeled up her shirt. His hands had taken over, decisively tying the material from his own clothes around her middle. Then, he'd smoothed her t-shirt back down over her stomach and let his fingers rest there, feeling the rise and fall of her deep, regular breathing as he slipped his arm beneath her and drew her into a despairing embrace.
It was almost a surprise as he came back to the present to find her watching him.
Jack O'Neill, he thought, get a grip. Your damn hands are shaking.
"What's wrong, Colonel?" Carter asked softly.
"Nothing," he said quickly, then added: "Drifted off for a second. The drugs, y'know."
"Yes sir." There was something in his voice that told her it wasn't entirely true, but she didn't question it.
"Now, a way outta here…" He made to stand, wanting to escape the awkward state he had allowed himself to lapse into, but she grasped onto his arm, hand slick with blood. She must have examined her wound whilst he was reliving her autumnal moments. He scolded himself mentally. It was twisted, finding her so perfect even as she seemed to be dying.
He looked to her with an enquiring gaze. She didn't speak; in fact she looked away, ashamed of her sudden dependence on him. He didn't know the dependence was constant. Sam knew. Sam knew how much she relied on his close contact, how she craved it, how – in a sadistic kind of way – she hoped for missions like this, just to have an excuse to let the desperation show through.
He gave her the sweetest of smiles. She caught it just as she glanced back, but whether he had ever intended for her to see it was not for either of them to say.
"Does your shoulder hurt?"
"No," he said, tilting his head enquiringly. "Shoulder's fine."
"Good," Sam murmured. The next moment, her head was against his shoulder, her cheek against his chest. It had become an agreement between them; almost a habit, in a strange way. It was something that had happened once in the past, then twice, then three times: whenever they were at a loss together, whenever they were stranded, emotionally or physically or both, offworld. He would provide her with the warmth and the strength to carry on; she, she would give him a jolt to the heart, remind him he was still alive.
"Just keep clear of the ribs," he smiled, his arm slowly drawing her closer. But for once, she ignored him: her palm came to rest gently on his torso. He took in a breath, tensing – but if there was pain, he didn't feel it. As he looked down at her serene face, he wondered if she realised what she was really doing, the way her touch was affecting him. Her thumb moved back and forth over his shirt absently.
"Just… gonna sleep for a while, sir…"
His stomach lurched; she couldn't sleep; winter would come and snatch her away from him and there was no way in hell he was going to let that happen. "Don't you dare," he muttered. Then, louder: "You hear me Carter? No sleep!"
"But Colonel…I just…I'll rest my eyes…"
"No, not happening. Major, I am ordering you to stay awake!" There was a desperation in his tone that she heard and had to take note of. She opened her eyes, frowning. "Listen to me, Carter," O'Neill said urgently, "you know what could happen if we sleep at times like this."
"Could, Colonel… could isn't a probability rating of one…"
"Tell me about probability."
"Probability. Tell me how it works. I want to know."
"Well… probability works as fractions or decimals… one is certain, zero is impossible… below a half is improbable, above a half is probable…" She fell silent, and for a brief moment Jack was afraid she'd fallen asleep, but then she continued: "Therefore, something that 'could' happen will come anywhere between 0.1 and 0.9…not impossible, but not certain, either."
"Probability of us getting out of here?" It was a risky question, but Jack knew it would get her thinking. Sam smiled a little against his clothed chest.
"Tough question, Colonel."
"Considering we're both injured, without weapons or any other means of escape, I'd say our probability of escaping would be close to zero, sir."
"Major," said Jack in his best warning tone. Sam laughed softly and he delighted in the sound.
"Not finished yet, Colonel," Sam answered. "Now taking into account that Daniel and Teal'c are out there, armed and hopefully dangerous, that pushes up our probability a significant amount. Add to that the possibility that they dialled home for back-up and we've got a pretty good chance, sir."
"Pretty good chance, Carter?"
Sam looked up at him with smiling eyes. "Probability rating of one, sir."
He beamed at her. "Now that's more like it, Major. The kind of scientific result I like to hear."
They lapsed into silence. Her thumb resumed its caress of his skin through the material of his shirt and he found his own eyes closing. Maybe they would sleep after all. Like Carter had said, it wasn't a probability rating of one that they wouldn't wake up…
And the next thing he knew he was blinded by a bright white light. Somewhere in the front of his gradually rising consciousness, he warned himself to scoot back down the long tunnel, because apparently he was at the wrong end again. Then he heard Janet Fraiser's voice, and knew he was home.
"Hey there, Colonel. How are you feeling?"
He just looked at her for a moment, then turned his head to the side. From the bed next to his, Sam Carter smiled. They gazed at each other.
Probability of one?