Backstory is a series of independent chapters which taken together will be a prequel for the story Alone
The first chapter, "We Finally Wake Up" begins at the end of the season 9 episode, Camelot, where Sam is left adrift during the battle with the Ori. This story and the chapters that follow will utilize Jack or Sam's point of view frequently throughout the narrative. Point of view narrative will be distinguished by whole paragraphs in italics. Most often I think it will be pretty easy to figure out whose point of view it is. If not, I'll try to help.
CHAPTER ONE: WE FINALLY WAKE UP
I've been floating for a long time.
The shooting and the destruction have gone on forever. As I float helpless in space, unable to assist any of my friends, I see our ships take heavy damage and worry about Daniel, Teal'c and Mitchell. My team, are they still alive? At least one of our ships has been totally destroyed. And still the battle rages. I should be on the Daedelus, helping to adjust the shields, but no, I'm drifting, totally useless. Don't know whether to be angry or scared to death. I'm going to die. It's only a matter of minutes. I wish I could say goodbye to Jack. I wish I could finally tell him. But time is up. The blackness is here.
What's happened? Where am I? Am I on a ship? It doesn't look like the Daedalus or anything I recognize. There is someone coming. No … I'm on the Ori ship. The prior… No… no … I won't…. no!
The infirmary's quiet.
There's only one other patient tonight. As far as I'm concerned, Sam's the only patient. It's always been this way. I've always known.
I almost lost her again. It's getting to be a habit. For years now I've been loosing her to my own stupidity and my failure to open my big mouth. This time it was the f… Ori. What the hell did they do to her anyway? The team found her on the planet barely alive. Since she's come through the gate … well Frasier's already shocked her heart back into action three times. Each time I thought my heart stopped, just waiting for her to come back, just waiting for the sound that told me Sam's heart was beating again.
They called me when they found her. They called me in Washington and told me to get my ass back here. At least that's what I said to myself. They know how much she means to me. I bet they've always known. What a stupid piece of crap I am. Boy, O'Neill, for someone who's housed a whole repository of knowledge not once but twice, you really are a fool. You can't even protect the woman you love. You can't even bring yourself to tell her how much you want to protect her. You just go off to your safe little office job and leave her with hardly a goodbye. And you expect she'll figure it out.
We almost crossed the line the week we spent at my cabin with the guys. It was a great week. I loved having all of them there, especially Sam. I'd waited so long. I'd dreamt of her being there with me so many times. But it wasn't by accident I asked the guys along too. I knew we weren't ready. It wasn't the time, it wasn't fair to her. She'd lost Pete and Jacob within a matter of days. I didn't want her coming to me on the rebound, for comfort. If she did that she'd hate herself and me. I knew she wanted something more, but it wasn't the time.
So when Sam put her arms around me on the dock that last night, I made a joke. Go figure. I gave her a polite brush-off. There she was, trying to do what neither one of us had had the courage to do for 9 years and I made a joke. She took it like a good soldier, what else would Sam Carter do. But I heard her crying that night and I felt like garbage; I just didn't trust myself to go to her. I sent Daniel.
Daniel's right. He's written me half a dozen emails over the past few months telling me in no uncertain terms that I'm a fool and a coward. Even Teal'c -- at first he was willing to keep me posted on Sam, let me know that she was okay – lately he's told me 'O'Neill if you are concerned for Col. Carter you will have to contact her yourself.' There's even a limit to T's loyalty.
Doesn't he get it, I couldn't call her. What if she didn't want to hear from me? I couldn't let her see how much she meant to me and then be rejected. So instead I've been coming home to my Guinness for the past few months, drinking myself into a stupor every night. Really smart, O'Neill.
Enough is enough. Here I am again, sitting by your bedside, Sam. When you wake, it's going to be different. I promise. If you'll let me, I'll comfort you and be here for you the way I really want to be. I promise. I promise you. I promise the woman I love. See, it's not so hard. I can say it. At least in my head.
Hours later, after he'd actually dozed off, Jack felt Sam squeeze his hand, faintly at first. As his eyes found her face, Sam's eyes fluttered open and met his gaze.
"Hey…" Sam croaked out weakly.
"Hey, yourself." The two stubborn soldiers lapsed into silence, just looking into each other's eyes for what seemed forever. They hadn't seen each other since Jack's brief visit to the mountain during the plague crisis over a month ago. .
Finally, Jack took a deep breath and broke the silence. "I'm tired of pretending."
"I'm tired of pretending you're not the most important thing in the whole universe to me. Tired of pretending you're not more important to me than my life, than the air I breathe. Tired of not being allowed to show you how much I love you." There, he'd said it before he could take it back. So what if he'd blurted out more words than he'd ever said at the same time.
In her haze of injury and medication, Sam couldn't be sure what she had just heard and simply looked at him in confusion for a brief moment before surrendering once more to unconsciousness. As Jack continued to sit with her, he liked to think that he saw a faint smile play about her lips as she fell back to sleep.
I sat there with her for the next hour. Janet came by a lot asking me to leave. I think I probably glared at the Doc pretty rudely. She would check Sam and be sure she was okay and then she would go and leave us alone. I was committed now. I'd finally opened my mouth the last time Sam woke up. My cover was blown and I was relieved. It was time.
I'd been in Washington 6 months without Sam and I was going nuts. She'd always been there, just around the corner at the mountain. I'd almost forgotten how much a simple Carter smile meant to me. Now I'd give anything to know she was going to be alright, just one more chance. What an idiot I'd been! Kerry had been so right and still I hadn't listened. I had a chance before Washington and I didn't take it. Just one more chance, just one more, please.
I can feel someone holding my hand. My eyelids are just so heavy, I can't open them. I'm still floating, but that hand is holding me down. I'm anchored. I won't float away. Did I hear Jack? I remember. I did hear Jack. What did he say? Oh my God, did he say he loved me?
Sam had been back for over 12 hours. Several people had been injured both in the battle and rescue mission. In the intervening hours, several debriefings had taken place where issues of battle losses, strategy and troop strength had been addressed. General Landry had resigned himself to the task of writing condolence letters to families of SGC personnel who had been lost. It was a tragic day all around; Landry and his staff, however, were amazed the losses had not been greater. Sure the Asgard had shown up in response to calls for emergency assistance, but as far as anyone at the SGC knew, even the Asgard were no match for the fury of the Ori.
The final debriefing had been scheduled specifically for SG1 with the intent of investigating the somewhat mysterious return of Colonel Samantha Carter, initially presumed lost. Landry had insisted that Jack join them for this meeting in his role as Head of Homeworld Security.
Also present were Col. Mitchell, Daniel, Teal'c and the surviving commanders of the earth vessels from the Ori battle. Jack and Dr. Frasier joined the group along with Generals Landry and Hammond as the staff began to review what they had learned in the past few hours.
"How is Colonel Carter, Doctor?"
"She regained consciousness briefly, Sir. She drifted back quickly, however, and I've been unable to rouse her since. She seems to be in a light coma. There are some changes in her brain wave patterns. I'm not sure what to make of them."
"We think she was on the Ori ship, is that correct?" Landry questioned.
"Yes, sir. The Asgard rescue vessel received her signal nearly 12 hours after the battle was over. From what they could tell she had been beamed back to the planet from the enemy vessel.
At that an Asgard transport beam delivered Thor's second in command to the briefing room.
"Yes, excuse my unexpected arrival. I have been sent by Commander Thor with information regarding Colonel Carter's condition." Once Sam's locator beacon had been recognized by the Asgard, she had been taken aboard their vessel and examined before being returned to Daniel and Vala on the planet.
"As we shared with Dr. Jackson when we first found Colonel Carter, we were able to determine that no damage had been done to her that would endanger the SGC or your world."
"You mean they didn't plant a bomb in her? Sweet. What did they do to her?" O'Neill queried in a less than pleasant tone.
"General O'Neill, after our examination, it was apparent that there was an attempt to convert Colonel Carter."
"Convert… as in…?"
"I believe Heimdahl is telling us that there was an attempt to convert Colonel Carter to a Prior." Teal'c supplied.
"There was an attempt; however, it was not successful. We believe that the remnants of Jolinar made it impossible for the Ori to convert her."
I was relieved. As much as I hated it when that snake took Sam, Jolinar had protected her more than I ever had. So that's what had happened to Sam. I'd heard about the Prior conversions in the reports sent to Homeworld Security over the past month. The conversions involved a total loss of self for the person converted. Did Sam feel that happening to her? How far did this go? She had to wake up soon. She just had to.
"So why did they send her back?" Jack persisted, shaking himself out of his reverie.
"We're just not sure, Jack," Daniel answered. "Vala seems to think the Doci was actually frightened of her when the process didn't take. But I find that hard to believe."
"There is likely another answer," Teal'c answered. "The Ori have not shown mercy of any sort in the past unless it has served their purposes."
Daniel kept silent for the time being, although he had a pretty good idea what had happened. After all, the only creatures who could successfully go head to head with the Ori at this time were the Ancients. He was just about certain that Oma was back and she was learning to interfere.
At that moment, Janet Frasier was paged to return to the infirmary immediately. As Janet made to leave, Jack was on her heels, without any consideration for the others left at the table. After an initial grunt of exasperation, Hammond, still Jack's superior officer, said softly, "Dismissed, son".
After a mad dash to the infirmary, thinking the worst, Jack and Janet arrived to see Samantha Carter sitting up and smiling at them. Janet immediately questioned, "How are you feeling, Sam?"
"Just a little weak, Janet, but fine, I'll be fine."
"Let me be the judge of that. For now I want you right where you are. I need to do some more tests. You've given us some scary moments these past few hours."
Sam grimaced. "How long, Janet ?"
"As long as it takes, Colonel," Jack interjected in a caring but professional tone.
Oh, I didn't even realize he was here. I must really be sicker than I thought. I don't even remember what really happened. Maybe I ought to listen to Janet after all. I don't really feel so good. But I want to talk with Jack. I need to know what he said.
Jack reached the bedside just as Sam passed out again without warning, gently lowering her back to the bed.
In another two days Sam was feeling much better. Though she wasn't allowed to do much on her own, she was conscious at least eight hours a day. This gave her a lot of time to think. Although Sam Carter thought a lot and was quite good at it, thinking about herself and where her life was going was a topic best avoided. But today, with nothing else to do and a dictatorial best friend/physician who refused to bring her laptop to her bed, Sam found herself reflecting on events just prior to the Ori battle. Foremost in her mind was an urgent phone call she'd received from an old friend that was destined to change her life in ways she couldn't imagine.
I really need to call Grace; I wonder how she's holding up. It's not possible it was just two weeks ago she called about David. It seems like forever. Oh Grace, you're the one friend who's stuck by me since we were kids. I wish there were something I could do. You were so happy just a few months ago. I just can't believe this happened to you and David.
I was so glad for Grace when she'd called me, almost 9 months ago now. She had news; she was finally going to marry the man she'd wanted for as long as she could remember.
One of the reasons we'd been such great friends was that Grace was never intimidated by me. She was just as smart, just as gifted and just as persistent. And even more incompetent when it came to relationships.
Grace had entered the military, Navy actually, just a little while after I entered the Air Force Academy. Military brats you know. Grace had worked as a researcher at Area 51. Since her clearance was limited, I seldom got to work with her. But we kept in touch. And I was the first one she'd called when David had given her the ring.
I was relieved actually; Grace had dated and dated and dated. It seemed like every month, I was hearing about my almost promiscuous friend's newest conquest. Sometimes I was embarrassed for her. More than that I was afraid she'd be hurt. But underneath all of it, I understood that Grace had loved David for years.
David had been a test pilot in his younger years, later taking a job that brought him nearer to Grace in the research labs. Grace had explained how she'd stayed away from David, put him out of reach, because she was his superior officer and was certain she' d be brought up on charges should anything happen between them. All that changed when David had decided to leave the military for a civilian career with much better pay, a little less than a year ago..
It had been a whirlwind courtship and 3 months later an incredibly joyous wedding. Jack had gone as my escort; I know Jack rationalized the arrangement as 'okay' since he'd known David from their time in Officer's Candidate School.
The phone call I received two weeks ago was so different. Grace was in tears. She told me that David had been killed in a training accident at his aeronautics company. He was gone. They'd had such a short time. They thought they would have forever. I'd gone to the funeral. Daniel and Teal'c had come with me for moral support. Jack's work had called him to Washington. I sobbed through the funeral. I know I was sad for Grace and David, but it was more than that. I caught Daniel watching me more than once. I know he figured it out. He knew what I was really grieving, and so did I.
When I had the chance to visit privately with Grace, my two guards discretely in the distance, Grace had pleaded with me, "Sam don't miss your chance. None of us have an endless supply of days. Everything else was so empty. I'm grateful we at least had the time we did."
The lesson was not lost on me. I just didn't know what to do with it then. I sure hope I do now.
"Sam, I'll allowyou to leave the infirmary, butyou can't be alone right now. I really wantyou to stay at my house for awhile. Besides, Cassie will love spending time with Aunt Sam during the school break. While I'm here, she can play nurse. What do you say?"
"Oh now that sounds like a lot of fun for both of us." Sam began, with some reluctance and more sarcasm than usual. "Well, it's not real freedom, but thanks Janet. I appreciate it."
"Okay, so as soon as I finish here we'll pack you up and go home."
"You're going to be awhile, aren't you, Doc? I could take her now," Jack offered.
"That would be great! Janet, much as I admire what you do here, and would love to watch you work, I am really dying to get out of here."
"That's saying a lot, Sam. You mean you don't want to be in your lab? You do have a bad case of hospitalitis! Okay, go get her some fresh air, Jack."
To say I was nervous on the elevator ride up to the surface would have been a cliché. And we all know how I hate those. It was now or never. Finally I'd have a little time alone with Sam in a pretty non-threatening situation.
The drive home was fairly quiet. We talked about the weather, the state of the X-303 fleet and the latest episode of the Simpsons. What a stretch. Before I knew it, we were pulling into Doc Frasier's driveway. Well, my time was running out quickly.
Cassie hadn't come home from school yet. The local high school was dismissed later than I'd remembered. Fortunately, Sam had a key and we went inside.
Apparently, Sam had been here on many occasions and appeared pretty comfortable making herself at home. Women – it's always so much easier for them. I wonder if she'd ever talked to the Doc about me. I was really loosing it now. I should be focusing on Sam and instead I felt like a lovesick teenager about to be shot down by the homecoming queen.
"General, can I get you something? I know Janet has beer, probably some soda. I could make coffee."
"Nope, I'm good. Just come sit with me for awhile until Cassie gets home, 'kay? You are supposed to be resting, you know."
Sam joined Jack on the sofa and they sat quietly for a few moments before Sam began. "I've been thinking, sir."
"When are you not thinking, Carter. Can you drop the 'sir'? You did pretty good with that in Minnesota. Jack's an easy name, right?"
"Right, Jack's an easy name. Not an easy man."
"You heard me, Jack. It's never easy with you. But I gotta try."
"Just be quiet and listen, okay? I've been wanting to talk with you since I woke up in the infirmary. I thought I heard you say something. If I heard wrong I'm about to make a fool out of myself yet again. But I'm a big girl, I can take it."
"Okay, Sam, I'm listening."
"Jack, remember a couple of weeks ago when Daniel, Teal'c and I went to David's funeral?"
"Of course I remember. I'm sorry I couldn't make it. He was a good man and a fine officer."
"And from what I hear a fine husband to Grace. Did the guys tell you I cried through the whole service and then some?"
"Yeah, Daniel did mention it, Sam. I know Grace means a lot to you."
"She does and I can't begin to understand what she is going through. But I understand perfectly how she regrets waiting so long to be with David."
I was pretty dense sometimes, but I was finally following where this was going. She was doing it for me. She always had more real courage than I did when it mattered. She was going to take us both where we needed to go and this time I was going to let her.
(Sam) I knew Jack didn't have a clue what to say, so I just plowed ahead.
"Jack, I was crying because I don't want to be at your funeral some day, mourning your death and the fact we never gave us a chance."
"Then let's give us a chance. You heard exactly right in the infirmary, Sam. I love you. I don't have any doubt about that. I just want you to have a free choice. It's the only reason I waited."
"I love you, Jack."
And finally, Sam leaned in and kissed me. She was tentative at first, as if still unsure how I would react. I reacted alright! We kissed with the excitement of two lovers who had been waiting most of their lives for each other. When we came up for air, my eyes briefly caught sight of the picture window just in front of us and one Cassandra Frasier, smiling broadly.
I surprised myself with how quickly this came out. Hope you liked it. This was my first time trying to use point of view as an integral part of the story. Hope it is not too confusing. Feedback is greatly appreciated. Next chapter up within a week – all depends on how good the weather is and how much time I spend in the garden after work.
Next: Our Engagement