A/N: I think this one might be longer...
Sam blearily rubbed at her eyes and yawned. Fully opening her lids, she took in her surroundings. The lighting was dim and the surface beneath her soft. She shivered and pulled the blanket around her tighter. Blanket? This is wrong…Where am I?
Slipping into her military mode, her senses became sharper. She could smell the antiseptic in the air and hear the gentle humming of machines. She thought this must be the infirmary, but where was the blinding light that she usually awoke to here? What happened? I remember running in the gym, and then Teal'c joined me…and then…and then what? She couldn't recall.
"MajorCarter. You have awakened." Sam looked up in surprise at the deep voice, but recognized it immediately as Teal'c's. "I apologize for my absence. NurseRawlings required my assistance in restraining a most unruly patient."
"Teal'c, what happened? The last thing I remember we were talking, and then that's it."
"You fainted, Samantha. The cause is as of yet undetermined. DoctorFraiser did not look as though she was amused."
"Great…" I'm in some trouble now. Something occurred to her, "If I fainted, why don't I have a huge headache right now?"
"I intervened before you came into contact with the ground."
"Well, I suppose thank-yous are in order then." He nodded in response.
"How long was I out?"
Teal'c opened his mouth to speak, but Janet walked in and answered instead, "Twenty-three minutes, Major." She cast an accusing glance in Sam's direction.
"I told you to take care of yourself, Sam. I warned you something like this would happen, and did you listen?"
Carter's gaze turned sheepishly downcast.
"Well?" The doctor tapped her foot impatiently and made it clear she wanted a response.
"I…" Sam tried and failed to come up with a reply.
"Sam, this has gone on long enough. I'm confining you to the infirmary until further notice. You were already walking a thin line." Her firm voice carried a prison sentence to the Major's ears. She went on in a softer tone, "Listen, Sam, I'm not going to keep you here forever. I just can't allow what happened four years ago to happen again."
Teal'c's head tilted inquisitively. Of what matters does Dr. Fraiser speak?
Sam caught a young nurse not-so-covertly eavesdropping and lowered her voice to just above a whisper, "Things are different now, Janet. Honest, I'll be careful. Please, just let me do this." Her doe eyes pleaded with the doctor.
"Really? You'll be 'careful'? Because, do you even remember the last time? Do you?" The young doctor was getting worked up at the mere images brought to her mind by reliving those horrendous memories.
Sam's eyes turned downcast and her pitch went dangerously low, "Of course I remember, Janet."
The tiny woman was not prepared to let her friend return to the emotionally and physically damaged person that she had been when Jack was stranded on Endora. Janet knew that what she would say might hurt Sam now, but ultimately she believed that it was in the Major's best interest. "Do you remember the feeding tubes? The counseling sessions? The General ordering you off active duty?"
Sam was trying not to get angry at Fraiser's words, but she was not the weakling Janet made her out to be. "Yes, and I also remember the General reversing that order after only three days. I remember getting the Colonel home. I remember it all being worth it."
Teal'c had for some time followed the conversation and understood what they were talking about. He too, recalled how bad things were then for Samantha, but something else stuck out among all the bad: She had never given up and she had pulled through. She was strong and resilient, both qualities he very much admired in her. While he knew this, he also trusted Doctor Fraiser and her assessment of the situation. They would have to find the cause of the Major's faint before any concrete decisions could be made.
Fraiser sighed, realizing that until she got the blood work done and proved how low Sam's counts were -as she suspected- there was no way to get through to the stubborn woman or talk to General Hammond. "All right, Sam. You need to at least have someone stay with you in your quarters until your test results come back."
Realizing that this was as good as she would get, Sam nodded. Just as she was rising from the bed, Keshlaiv hurriedly came through the doors.
"Samantha, are you all right?"
Confusion etched her face, "How did you know I passed out? Oh no, don't tell me the grape vine's already got a hold of this…."
Keshlaiv realized his mistake. They still didn't know he was telepathic. Should he tell them? Something inwardly told him that now was not the right time. He covered with, "No, I was taking a late night walk around the base when Lieutenant Harrison stopped to ask me about your condition on his way out."
Teal'c added, "Lieutenant Harrison was present at the time of your arrival."
She sighed in relief, "Thank you for your concern, Keshlaiv, but I'm fine, really."
A plan formed in Janet's mind, knowing that Keshlaiv had been the only person that had been able to get through to the Major recently, "Well, now that you're here, maybe you could accompany Sam to her quarters. She is to stay there until her tests come back. Under no circumstances is she to work. Besides, I believe Teal'c should spend some time with Daniel until he wakes up. I need to look after some things in the lab." Sam went to protest when Janet cut her off, "So, now that that's settled, be on your way. Teal'c and I will just be over here with Daniel." She took his arm and pulled the muscular Jaffa by Daniel's bed. She hastily pulled the curtain around them letting Sam know that this was final.
Shocked registered on Carter's features. It was over before she could blink. Their escape had obviously been a rouse to stick Keshlaiv with her. Sam knew there would be no discussion on the matter. Reluctantly accepting this, Sam looked to Keshlaiv and took his offered hand. He helped her off the bed and walked her to her quarters.
At Keshlaiv's insistence on her getting rest, Sam emerged from the bathroom dressed in her pajamas. She sat on the bed and combed through her messy hair. Keshlaiv remained quietly sat in a corner. He debated how to bring up the dream with her. After he left her the other night, a sense of fear had come over him. He quickly awoke and was filled with horrific images from her dream. He knew better than to barge in and try to comfort her in her vulnerable state then. Now, he knew she needed to admit the implications and feelings the nightmare brought her. He knew if he confessed his telepathic abilities to Sam now, all the trust they had worked for would be shattered.
He finally decided to say nothing for the moment. She climbed under the covers, clearly not trying to fight her exhaustion. "Night, Keshlaiv." A small yawn followed her voice.
"Goodnight, young one." His gentle tone carried her into a deep sleep.
An hour later Keshlaiv woke to her screams. He rushed to her side and enveloped the fragile woman in his arms. Slowly, she became aware of her surrounds. Sweat trickled from her brow and a tear or two escaped her eyes. After her breathing returned to normal, he tenderly asked, "Would you like to talk about it?"
She regained her breath, "I'm okay."
She tried to push away from his embrace, but he held on tightly. "Nightmares are nothing to be ashamed of, Major. In fact, following my beloved's death, I often had terrible dreams. My unresolved emotions manifested themselves through my subconscious. From that point on, I vowed never to ignore what I was feeling."
"Dreams don't mean anything, Keshlaiv." She forced a note of confidence into her shaky voice.
"On the contrary, Samantha. They mean everything. They say what you cannot. Melora went through a period when she was little when she could not get through a night without this one particular dream. She would never talk about it to her mother or me, but we always knew. Some other girls in her class were planning to play a practical joke on a new student. Melora had a terrible feeling about this 'joke', but did not wish to be ridiculed by them. In the nightmare, this student would die. When they placed a swen in the child's rodella at lunch, his throat closed up. His wheezing scared her and she ran to alert the instructor. It was only by swift medical assistance that the boy did not die. He was allergic to the substance."
Sam looked into his reminiscent eyes and skeptically brushed the notion off, "Some things are just intuition."
He focused his attention on her, "I won't force you to tell me, Sam, but know that I am always here if you need an ear or shoulder."
His kindness touched her heart, "Thank you."
The telephone on the nightstand rang and she picked up, "Carter…Thank you, I'll be right there."
Sam took a deep breath and sat up, "That was a nurse; my test results are back." She looked apologetically at him. Keshlaiv knew she wanted some privacy in case an argument would break out between the good doctor and her.
He understood, "Go on. I'll be in the VIP quarters if you need me."
She smiled at him and mentally braced herself to face Janet now that the doctor's conclusions were probably confirmed: lack of sleep, malnutrition, dehydration. She really had tried to take care of herself, but there were more important matters to be dealt with. She bravely made her way through the corridors to the infirmary.