A/N – I really don't know what inspired me to write this…but I wanted to do something with stream of consciousness. So here it is. Kinda angsty. Sorta Threads-AU. Janet's not dead and Hammonds still the head of the SGC, but it's set towards the end of Threads… And there'll be more to come after this.
Chapter 1: The Ringing
The rain fell on the windowpane with a soft tapping noise. Outside it was black and the light of the street lamp fell through rain streaked windows to cast a yellow running pattern on the wall.
Sam lay on the living room floor, watching the pattern of light that seemed to run like water down the white plaster, mimicking the tears running down her face. She hadn't moved from where she'd fallen almost an hour ago, after the door had slammed shut behind Pete.
She didn't think he'd react that badly. But people do stupid things when they're hurt, and maybe she deserved it. Gingerly she touched her cheek, it was swollen and still sore. Sam could almost hear Janet telling her to put ice on it, but she ignored the stray thought. The house was silent, except for the faint buzzing of the appliances in the kitchen.
Sam was crying again. She remembered that Janet wasn't there, and her father was gone, and Pete was gone because of that and…
Her cellphone rang. Sam's eyes traveled over to where her purse sat on the floor next to the couch. She reached…twisted…and grabbed the strap, pulling it to her and finding her cellphone.
"Geeze, Carter, you ok? I didn't wake you up did I?"
"No, sir, I'm just…doing nothing."
"Huh. Wish I could be doing nothing."
"Did you need something?"
"Yeah…did you ever give me that report from our last mission? I know it's a bad time but…Hammond and some people in Washington wanted to see it."
"I think I did…if not it's on my lab table."
"Thanks Carter." There was a long pause, and Sam almost thought he'd hung up. "Are you sure you're ok?"
"I'm fine, Sir." That was the least convincing reply she'd ever given. But she couldn't let Jack see her now…what would he think?
"Right. See you tomorrow, Carter."
Sam sent the phone sliding across the carpeting. Her head hurt, her mouth hurt, her whole being hurt. She tried to sit up. Her head hurt some more and the side of her face felt sticky.
Shit. A dark stain spread across the carpet where her head had been resting a minute ago. Sam tried to get to her feet. She staggered. The yellow patterns on the wall seemed to lung forward and grab her, pulling her back to her knees, back to the floor which was tilting wildly now. But Sam stuck fast, probably due to the sticky substance on the side of her face. Her hand closed around her cellphone and she dialed the only number she could think of.
"Sir, I'm not alright."
"You want me to come over?"
"They key's under the mat."
A confused silence while Sam tried to string her thoughts together. "I can't stand up."
"Oh, jeeze, Carter, I'm on my way over. What happened?"
"I dunno…" An annoying beep sounded in Sam's ear. The battery was dying. A second later it cut out and she was alone again. The cellphone slid from her hand.
Outside the rain fell harder. Sam reached out to touch the dark stain that was a few feet from her. It was dry now, the carpet spiky and rough. Some feet from that, across the room, a dark rectangular object lay on the floor.
Sam would never read it again. It was possible the pages were now glued together with guilt and it couldn't be read again…
Far away she heard the sound of a car in the driveway. She was hungry. She hoped whoever it was would have food. Footsteps on the porch. They weren't Pete's, thank god, his were lighter and less purposeful then that. A pause…the door opened.
The book had hurt. Whoever had said that words can't hurt you obviously hadn't ever been hit in the face with a hardcover copy of the Millsbury Reference of Astrophysical Equations and Theories.
A light clicked on, pushing the yellow patterns on the wall into oblivion. Sam couldn't raise her eyes to see whoever it was, but she did hope they'd brought something to eat. Her stomach rumbled.
"Oh my god! Carter, what the hell happened?!" Jack was beside her, taking her bruised and bleeding face in his hands. "Carter! Can you hear me?!" Sam could see him, she could hear him, but her head hurt too much to respond, so she just blinked up at him. Her vision blurred. His cellphone was in his hand and he was calling an ambulance.
"Why're you turnin' off the light?" Sam slurred as Jack closed his cellphone.
He leaned closer. "What?"
"The light," she gestured vaguely at the light on the ceiling. "Its…turning off." Darkness closed around her. She heard herself calling Jack's name, and then nothing more.
"For the last time, Doc, I have no idea what happened!"
Janet Fraiser, CMO, resident miracle woman for surviving a full-on staff blast, and sacred goddess of the archaeologist Daniel Jackson, turned to regard the colonel with a worried look. "Well, what did you see when you found her?"
Jack closed his eyes, rubbing his fingers over his temples. No one should have to go through this much mental stress at eleven o'clock at night. But his second had a mild concussion and would start babbling incoherently the second the sedatives wore off.
"There was blood."
"On the floor. A big pool of it like she'd just been lying there."
"Her purse…and a book." Jack traced an outline in the air. "Hardcover. Someone had dropped it."
Janet's perfect eyebrows raised to where her bangs touched her forehead. "Someone had hit her in the face with a heavy object, I'm willing to bet it was that book."
"Any idea of who it was?"
Jack answered with the only thought going through his head. "Who would want to hurt Carter?"
Hammond marched in, looking like an angry bullfrog in uniform. "What happened? I heard Major Carter was injured."
"Mild concussion and bleeding from a cut in her mouth," Janet recited. "Someone hit her in the side of the head with a heavy object and she bit the inside of her cheek."
"Dear God." Hammond peered around the small doctor to where Sam lay on the infirmary bed with an IV in her arm. "Any idea of when she'll wake up?"
"I think it's more of a question of when she'll be able to talk, Sir," Jack's hands were on his hips. No one did that to a member of his team and got away with it. "She was awake but babbling incoherently – and I mean more than usual - a few minutes ago."
Janet began ushering the two men out of the room with a promise that she'd let them know when Sam was awake.
"Fuck it, Sam, just fuck it all." He was never that angry. His usually gentle expression was twisted into one of spite and sorrow. It made Sam feel guilty.
"I'm sorry," she repeated herself for the fourth time that evening.
"Sorry doesn't fix it and it sure as hell doesn't explain anything to me!"
"There's nothing to explain, I'm sorry!"
He turned his attention to the book that lay open on the table. A big hardcover book whose pages were filled with complicated looking equations and theorems. The sort of stuff that would have Jack O'Neill either fast asleep or running screaming from the room.
"What about him?" Sam clasped her hands, unclasped them, let them fall to her sides. Up straight, shoulders back, just like a good soldier.
"Frat regs my ass. I know how much you pay attention to those." The fact that he'd sworn no less then five times in the past half hour really should have tipped Sam off.
"You think that's what this is about? Because its not."
"Then what is it about?" The book was closed in his hands now, as he turned to face the one woman he loved more than anything, and the one woman he wanted to hurt as bad as he could. " 'Cus it's not just your father. You wouldn't be doing it this way if it was just your father. This is too planned out." You don't plan breakups the way you plan a funeral, but someone always is dead by the end of both.
"This is about me…I'm the one having problems." Sam sighed heavily, her breath drying her lips on the way out. She licked them. "I'm sorry."
"That's never enough!" The book flew, his hands around it until it smashed against her perfect face, then he let go. It landed on the floor with a dull thud. For a moment as he stared into those blue eyes he thought he'd killed her and her body just hadn't fallen over yet. She didn't open her mouth, but her eyes flicked down, her posture slumping slightly.
Fleeing the scene of the crime, he slammed the door behind him.
Sam coughed and something wet dribbled down her chin. The world seemed to catch up with her and she fell to the ground. Her lips parted and pain slipped out between them onto the carpet as the world and the room darkened, a night quickened by a thunderstorm. Her ears were ringing, loud and painful.
Why did he do it? Two minds wondered, one sprawled on the floor, the other hurrying away in his car. Dear God….why did he do it?