Title: Starting Fresh, Part 4

Author: sgtat

Season: One

Related Episodes/Spoilers: None

Disclaimer: I have no ownership in the Stargate franchise. If I did, I would not be writing fan fiction.

Characters: Sam Carter

Pairings: None

Category: Wumping and Team

Rating: T

Summary: Sam's been wounded.

She'd been so cold for so long now warmth had become the enemy, trying to lure Sam in so it could steal her breath. And breath was not coming easily.

It had only been a few hours. She remembered the beasts attacking, remembered pouring bullets into them and seeing little to no corresponding effect on their movements. Ezak shot one that had almost reached them, apparently killing it. He hadn't been fast enough to stop the beast that had reached her, though. It had lashed out at her like a bear, and she felt its claws rip through her uniform. And skin. She hadn't even registered landing on the ground several feet away.

It was strange. She'd barely noticed the wounds at first. It felt like when you fall and sin your knee. No big deal. Slap a band-aid on it and keep going. But she had found herself unable to move, the heat draining from her body like it was being sucked out. Apparently, in the confusion of the fire fight, nobody noticed that she was down at first. By the time they realized she'd been injured, she was shivering violently.

She had shivered while her team administered first aid to her left arm and shoulder. She shivered as Teal'c swept her up with greater gentleness than she could have thought possible in the huge warrior, carrying her back to Ezak's cabin. And she shivered as they hovered around her while Ezak went to get something, watching her anxiously and speaking words she couldn't quite follow.

Now, though, warmth was beginning to seep back into her nerves. She could feel herself relaxing and drifting off to sleep. She could hear a strangled noise coming from somewhere nearby and felt contact on her face in increasing measure. Finally someone slapped her. Hard.

Sam blinked, gasping for breath.

"Carter?"

She could just make out the outline of her CO's head...a very blurry outline. She tried to speak but didn't hear herself say anything.

"Carter, stay awake, alright? You couldn't breathe when you were drifting off."

Sam frowned. Had that strangled noise been her trying to breathe? She shuddered. It must have been bad for the Colonel to hit her.

Sam tried to reply but all that came out was an unintelligible mumble. She swallowed painfully and concentrated on relaxing her tense body without falling asleep.

The Colonel must have noticed her efforts because he gave her a pat on her good shoulder and moved away, leaving Teal'c in her view.

The Jaffa just stared at her, ready for action if he were needed.

Sam could hear the Colonel yelling at Daniel to get off his ankle, and remembered with a guilty jolt that Daniel had been hurt, too. She turned to Teal'c.

"Daniel?" She managed to croak out after several attempts.

The Jaffa spared a glance in Daniel's direction. "I believe that Daniel Jackson will recover more rapidly than yourself, Captain Carter. His injury is not as grievous."

Sam nodded sloppily. "Good." She closed her eyes. The warmth that had been returning to her body was now taking the numbness away, and she was beginning to feel the pain in her arm and shoulder.

"Captain Carter!"

Sam jerked her head and opened her eyes. Teal'c was frowning down at her.

"Do not fall asleep, Captain Carter. You must keep breathing."

Sam tried to smile at the Jaffa. Teal'c clasped his hands behind his back and continued to watch her. Sam had the sudden urge to giggle. Instead she coughed. Violently.

When her coughing subsided enough for her to think, Sam realized she was no longer laying down. The guys had pulled her into a sitting position while she hacked her lungs out. Her team. Sam blinked at Daniel, who was closest in her line of vision.

"Doctor," she gasped out in a hoarse whisper, "you should – be lying down."

Somewhere to her left the Colonel chuckled. "Don't worry about Daniel, Captain. He'll be alright."

Sam frowned. Didn't the Colonel realize that Daniel had been injured? She'd have to tell him.

"Sir. Doctor – Jackson. He's hurt. Ankle."

Silence. Sam frowned again.

"Sir."

"Yeah, I know, Carter," the Colonel interrupted her. "Daniel, why don't you go sit down?"

"I'm fine, Jack."

"Daniel. It'll be one less thing for Carter to worry about."

Daniel's face left Sam's field of vision after a pause and she blinked to try to adjust her focus to the far wall that was now in view. Good. The Colonel knew about Daniel's injury now and had made him rest. She'd done her duty.

"O'Neill. I believe we should return to Earth immediately. Captain Carter is not well."

"Yeah, Teal'c. We need to wait for Ezak. He's getting help."

"I'm fine," Sam mumbled and tried to get up. Two pairs of strong arms held her in place. She struggled a moment, upset by how weak her efforts were, before collapsing back onto the pillows.

Ezak chose that moment to return, along with several of his friends, all bearing bows and arrows. Ezak walked swiftly to Sam's side and opened a small container.

"I have brought medicine for her wounds," he explained to the Colonel and Teal'c. "It will stop the bleeding and dull the pain. She will be able to rest."

"And still breathe?" The Colonel asked harshly.

Ezak took a step back. "Yes. She will be fine. The medicine is very effective. Your healers will still have to help her recover; the wounds are deep. But she has already shown great strength in not losing consciousness earlier. I do not believe they will be fatal. But the longer we wait to apply the medication, the more likely that will be."

The Colonel seemed to consider the situation for a moment before nodding. Ezak stepped forward again ad began smearing a pasty liquid over Sam's shoulder and arm, where she knew she'd been injured.

Sam gasped. She managed to bite back a cry of pain and let out an unsatisfying grunt instead. Man, that stuff hurt.

"You all right there, Carter?"

Sam nodded tightly at her CO. "Fine, sir."

"Right."

Sam knew he didn't believe her, but at least he didn't say anything. Sam closed her eyes as her whole body began to ache and throb. Some pain killer.

Sam didn't realize Ezak was finished until he stood up and stepped away again. She opened her eyes. Her hands hurt. She looked down and realized she'd been clenching them in very tight fists. She tried to relax them but failed.

"Hey Carter, looks like you're not bleeding anymore," her commanding officer said cheerfully.

Not bleeding anymore? Had she still been bleeding? No wonder she felt so weak and out of it. Of course, she knew she couldn't have been bleeding much – it had been hours since she'd been injured. Hadn't it? Sam found that she had completely lost track of time. She was still trying to figure it out when Teal'c stepped into view, making her blink again. She realized she wasn't hurting anymore. Huh. Nice pain killer.

"Captain Carter. We are leaving now for the Stargate accompanied by many warriors of this world. They will protect us on our journey."

Sam nodded and started to sit up. Teal'c stopped her with one hand.

"I will carry you."

Before Sam could protest, Teal'c had her in his arms. Sam felt ridiculous.

"Teal'c – "

"Now, now, Carter," Colonel O'Neill stepped in before she could say anything. "Let the nice big Jaffa carry you. That's an order. Besides," he added, concern crossing his features, "you could use a break."

Sam groaned. She would never live this down. Never. But, on the other hand . . . Sam started feeling drowsy as Teal'c carried her. She had to admit that, the way she was feeling at the moment, being carried wasn't so bad. Her eyes fluttered shut and she opened them quickly. She couldn't fall asleep while those creatures were possibly still after them.

From her vantage point she could see a few of the native men escorting them down the hill toward the Stargate. The Colonel was up ahead, helping Daniel limp along, and Teal'c was carrying her. Maybe she could relax after all. Her team wouldn't let anything happen to her.

Her team. She'd had her doubts at first, but she really did think of them that way now. They still had some rough edges to work out, of course, but she knew the Colonel, Doctor and Jaffa would watch her back if anything happened on their short trip to the Gate.

Sam smiled as she closed her eyes. Finally sleep claimed her and this time, she didn't fight it.