Author's Note: This is the most recent of my un-Holiday Fics. Not to be taken too seriously. No animals were harmed in the writing of this fic.
SG-1 and the Valentine of Doom
"Hearts!" Daniel sniggered, pointing as best he could from his position of being quite literally strung up by his heels.
Jack sighed, refusing to look in the indicated direction. He'd already seen enough. "Yes, Daniel, hearts," he said resignedly.
Daniel burst into a disturbing twitter of giggles that was just so wrong considering the circumstance. "How appropriate!" Daniel exclaimed, tripping slightly over the syllables.
Not for the first time, Jack wondered what, exactly, had been in that concoction the not-quite-as-friendly-as-they-first-appeared natives had shoved down Daniel's throat. And if there might be more for himself. Anything was better than sitting here and watching.
"I believe Daniel Jackson is referring to the day of Saint Valentine, O'Neill," Teal'c offered, his own eyes carefully averted from the unfolding scene.
"Indubitably," Jack agreed, which only got Daniel going again.
Jack dropped his head back to the bars behind him with a bang. The sound of a bawling sheep reached his ears and he automatically looked over at Sam, who had been given the luxury of her own cage. Her face paled even further.
"Why do I get the feeling that they're just warming up?" she asked tightly.
"Positive thoughts, Major," Jack said, wagging a finger at her. "This could just be an elaborate welcoming feast."
Sam raised an eyebrow in blatant disbelief.
The loud squeal of the sheep made both Jack and Sam cringe. But the following silence was worse.
"Hearts!" Daniel gleefully squealed again.
"I'm beginning to think vegetarianism is a valid life choice," Jack mumbled.
Sam nodded mutely in agreement.
It wasn't much later that the guards came to collect Sam. Jack's protests did little more than earn him concussion #783. That had to a record or something.
Much to Jack's relief, when he finally regained consciousness Sam was not strapped down to the bloody slab that served as a sacrificial altar on this mission turned ironic nightmare. Instead, Sam was seated in a throne that appeared to be constructed of bones. Jack refused to look close enough to determine whether they were human or animal. Sam had been draped with a long white cotton dress and adorned with rings of white flowers around her wrists, ankles and head, with a giant wreath of red flowers around her neck. Her outfit would have caused him no end of amusement under any other circumstance.
Two burly guards in loincloths flanked Sam's throne while four other priests prostrated themselves at her feet.
"I've got a bad feeling about this," Jack mumbled.
"Indeed," Teal'c agreed.
Jack pushed gingerly to his feet and crossed to the bars where Daniel was still hanging from his feet.
"Daniel," Jack called lowly, poking at the archaeologist.
Daniel merely swatted at the intruding hands, muttering something about finding someone else to water the elephant. Apparently drugged euphoria had finally given way to lethargic immobility.
A couple of sharp slaps to the face finally cleared Daniel's head long enough for him to actually focus on Jack.
"What? What?!" Daniel whined lowly.
Jack grabbed Daniel's face and turned it towards Sam. "What's going on?"
"Awww…," Daniel drawled. "They've made Sam their Goddess!"
That was what Jack had been afraid of. "Goddess as in to be revered or as in to be sacrificed?"
"Oh, no," Daniel slurred, emphatically shaking his head. "They won't hurt her. She needs to preside over the fertility festival!"
Jack really didn't like the sound of that. Valentine's Day was bad enough on Earth, there was no telling what it meant here. But at least Sam seemed safe for now, other than the obvious wardrobe issues.
Of course, that was the moment several more burly guards chose to appear at the entrance to their cage, gesturing for Jack to exit.
"Oh great. My turn."
Jack was rather unceremoniously dragged to the foot of Sam's throne. Now that he was closer he was able to see that the necklace looped around her neck was not in fact made of red flowers, but of hearts. That probably explained why her face was completely expressionless save for the tightness of her lips as she valiantly breathed through her nose and tried not to puke.
"Hey, Carter," Jack said. "Nice outfit."
Sam's lips twisted slightly in an attempt to smile gamely at Jack, but she made absolutely no attempt to speak back.
"Queen of Hearts!" Daniel squealed from somewhere behind them.
This really had to be a nightmare.
The guards forced Jack to bow low at Sam's feet before wrenching him back up and carrying him to the large black, bloody slab at the center of the room. They ripped his shirt off and shoved him hard, his back coming in contact with the flat stone with a wet slap that knocked Jack breathless.
As Jack fought to regain his wind so he could make an appropriate quip about how hard blood stains were to get out, the smaller of the no-neck guards pulled out a long, wicked looking blade with a bone handle. A nearby priest took the knife and raised it towards Sam, bowing slightly. He then turned and began chanting over Jack.
Oh now he got it.
The priests were going to give Jack's heart to Sam as an offering. Quite literally on a plate. Not really the present he'd had in mind if he ever got the chance to buy her a Valentine someday.
Out of the corner of his eye he could see Sam step forward in protest, but her movement was cut off by her beefy guards.
Jack began to struggle in earnest now and he could dimly hear Teal'c wrenching at the cage's bars over the sound of Daniel's continued snickering. Despite any efforts though, Jack could not pull free and the knife wielding priest came closer and closer.
Jack was pretty sure this was where he was supposed to start praying to Shiva.
The chanting reached a crescendo and Jack wrenched his head around to look at Sam. He could see her mentally calculating the amount of time it would take for her to disarm six guards and the priests. Her eyes latched onto Jack's when she realized that she would never make it.
This was so not the way he planned to die, but nonetheless, he couldn't look away from her, even as the priest came to stand above him. They stared at each other, eyes connecting in an electric sort of last minute frank communication.
But then the craziest thing happened.
Major Samantha Carter, all around bad ass soldier, fainted. One might even say she swooned, one hand pressed to her forehead, body gracefully arcing to the floor while a deep sigh trailed out over her lips.
Jack was so stunned for a moment that he didn't move, even as the guards holding him down abandoned their positions to rush to the side of their fallen 'goddess.'
But then Jack clearly saw one of Sam's eyes pop open to look at him, just for a moment, and he pushed into action. He had knife guy unconscious on the floor before he time to react.
At the priest's inarticulate cry, the guards turned their attention from Sam, but made no more than a few steps before Sam was back on her feet, wielding a heavy torch made out of what looked like femur bones. The men looked shocked when one of their own was taken out with a solid blow to the head, but obviously didn't know what to do about it. They gestured wildly at each other, all the while circling their goddess warily.
It was apparent to Jack that they weren't allowed to hurt her, but they weren't willing to let her escape either. While they were suitably distracted, Jack disabled a few more of the flimsy priests before crossing over to the cage and releasing Teal'c. He left Daniel where he hung, deciding that he would be more trouble than help.
"An interesting ritual," Teal'c observed as he grabbed another torch and took a mighty swing at one of the remaining guards. "Though it seems to lack the more benign romantic gestures of the Earth festival."
"Yeah, well," Jack said after the last guard had fallen with a sick crunch. "Love hurts."
"Somedays more than others," Sam mumbled as she dropped her heart necklace to the floor with a loud squelch.
"Happy Valentine's Day, Sam!" Daniel called.
"Yeah," Sam grumbled, flicking blood off her fingers. "Happy Valentine's Day, SG-1 style."
Sam had just finished with a much needed second shower when her doorbell rung.
"We have brought an appropriately themed movie," Teal'c informed Sam as she pulled the door open. He stepped past her into her house, placing a DVD in her hand before she could protest.
Daniel stepped through next, looking like he was suffering from a galactic strengthed hangover. He mumbled a soft apology about the whole heart thing and bee-lined straight for an armchair.
As Jack entered last, closing the door behind him, Sam glanced down at the DVD.
"Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom?" Sam asked incredulously.
Jack just shrugged nonchalantly.
"How exactly is this Valentine's Day themed?" Sam asked.
"You know aliens," Jack said.
Sam shot Jack a dubious glance at his attempt to blame Teal'c for the idea. This impromptu movie night just reeked of Jack O'Neill.
"Got any popcorn?" Jack called back over his shoulder as he left her standing alone in the entryway, clutching the DVD.
By the time the blond heroine was screaming her head off as they lowered her into a molten pit (at least there hadn't been lava, Sam thought thankfully), Teal'c was quietly kelnorim-ing and Daniel had long since passed out into much needed recovery sleep.
Next to her sat Jack, still wide awake and seemingly watching avidly. Considering what they had gone through earlier that day, she supposed the movie was supposed to be amusing, but she couldn't quite push past the horror. The last thing she needed was a reminder of Jack strapped to that bloody slab. And she couldn't quite puzzle out the point of this evening.
As if he sensed her staring at him, Jack turned slightly, giving her a chance to pretend she hadn't been. She didn't take it.
They watched each other for a moment to the sound of more rabid ranting from the television before Jack reached into his pocket and pulled out a bag of M&Ms. He held it out to her.
It was just a bag of candy. But it was a special holiday package, garishly colored in pinks and reds. And it was from him. The way he was looking at her in the low, flickering light, she couldn't ignore that from him, everything was a calculated gesture.
Sam slowly reached out and took the bag, her fingers barely scraping against his palm. Jack nodded once, looking pleased before turning back to the movie.
It wasn't much, her best friends all safe and sound in her house watching a movie together and a perfectly platonic gesture. And yet...
"Is it weird that this is one my best Valentine's Days in a really long time?" she asked.
Jack smiled, his face washed in light by the television. "Kate Capshaw's got nothing on you, Carter."
Sam laughed lowly, leaning back on the couch and popping a couple M&Ms into her mouth.
Valentine's Day, SG-1 style.
She wouldn't have it any other way.