NOTES: Written for the LJ community fanfic100, Sam/Jack challenge, keyword 'broken'.

The King Of Infinite Space

I could be encompassed within a walnut shell
and yet count myself the king of infinite space
Were it not that I have bad dreams...

Hamlet

-o-

Somewhere, Carter was screaming.

It vibrated in his ears, in his bones, in his soul; jarring, aching. He couldn't escape it, asleep or awake, couldn't beg, couldn't plead, couldn't cry out for them to take him instead.

A mouth stuffed with clay had no voice.

Neither did a slave.

-o-

He wrapped her in his arms, held on through her thrashing, rocking her back and forth but never letting go.

If he let go, they were both lost. The thought made no sense in his mind, but it made sense in his soul. The bleeding scent of her pain filled his world waking and dreaming, sleeping or screaming.

They never touched him.

They only hurt Carter.

-o-

The why of it no longer mattered. They were here; did it matter how?

They had to get away, but it was all she could do to sleep. He let her rest and tried to plan a way out.

But his mind was splintering like wood beneath steel. The Goa'uld had learned how to shatter his soul - begun by Baal, taken up by the others.

Carter had always been his greatest weakness.

-o-

Scenes and shadows drifted through his mind: familiar features in unfamiliar places.

Voices, firm and determined outside the door, horrified and revolted when they entered the cell. Jack propped himself up in the corner, his body protecting Carter. He could feel her hand as it rested on his hip; it trembled with cold and the same fear he felt in his stomach.

They struggled against the tide of shadows, black and green, but were swept away in the flood.

-o-

The warmth woke him up: not the cold of the cell, but the warmth of...somewhere else.

Fragments drifted over his head. "He's in a sorry state...nearly three months...don't know if she'll make it...don't know if he'll make it if she doesn't...fought us like we were the Goa'uld..."

The Goa'uld. Panic seized him. Carter wasn't there.

He was up in seconds, grabbing for the cool silver of the tall stand beside his bed. Pain blossomed in his hand as something ripped from the back of it, spattering blood across the floor.

Shouts of alarm rippled out through the space as he laid about him with reckless disregard for anything else.

Only Carter was important.

-o-

The world spun, slowing down. They'd shot him with a sedative. Even in his rage, he knew that.

Darkness threatened, then enveloped.

More shadows drifted through his mind, shadows on the wall, shadows moving in the room beyond. They used words he didn't understand, spoke in voices that were hushed and saddened.

He tried to move, was constrained. They'd tied him down. Sedated him.

It didn't matter.

Somewhere, Carter was screaming.

- fin -