Genre: Drama/Angst & Hurt/Comfort
Pairing: Sam/Daniel friendship
Spoilers: Hathor, In the Line of Duty, The Tok'ra, Jolinar's Memories, The Devil You Know, Fair Game, as well as an extremely teeny-tiny one for both Nemesis and Between Two Fires.
Summary: After Sam disappears on a routine mission, it's up to the rest of SG-1 to retrieve her. But sometimes, getting home is just the easy part.
Season: End of Season 4, not long before Double Jeopardy
Rating: T for violence, torture and some language
Acknowledgements: Thanks so much to "Where are the Furlings" for helping me work out some plot details, to my mom for help with the medical stuff, to my friend Sarah for sharing her knowledge about torture and its psychological effects, and to MaureenT for giving this story a once-over. Last, but far from least, huge thanks to Thraesja, my wonderful beta, whose particular brand of sarcasm is forcing me to become a better writer.
Disclaimer: The only thing I own that's related to Stargate is my DVD collection.
Author's notes: I've tried something new for this story (new to me, at least). Odd-numbered chapters are from Sam's point of view, while even-numbered chapters are from Daniel's.
-- Chapter 1 --
I jumped, startled. I must have been daydreaming. Looking towards the source of the shout, I saw Colonel O'Neill sitting against a log nearby. He was holding his hand out to me and looking quite impatient.
Looking around, I realised we were making camp...somewhere. Where were we?
There was an MRE in my hand, so I handed it to the Colonel.
"Thank you!" His tone was considerably less than sincere.
We were in a small clearing in a forest; a fire burned a few feet away. Teal'c helped himself to a meal and sat down next to Colonel O'Neill. Daniel plopped down on the ground next to me. He gave me another MRE and nudged my shoulder with his.
"Um..." I looked around to ensure that the Colonel and Teal'c were out of earshot. "I don't know where we are..."
Daniel wrinkled his nose and pointed to my temple. "Well, you did take a pretty good blow to the head back there."
My hand went to my head and I looked at him, confused. I felt the field dressing and cringed. "I did?"
"Yeah. Tree came out of nowhere." He winced.
"I uh...I don't remember that..."
"Don't worry. We'll get back soon, and Janet will fix you up."
Nodding in reluctant agreement, I took a bite of my MRE and nearly gagged. I had a look at the packaging. Spaghetti and Meat Sauce. I'd never have known it. The flavour was somewhere between Styrofoam and tinfoil, the texture similar to sandy soil. "Is it just me, or are these particularly bad today?"
"Yeah, no kidding. These things should be classified as cruel and unusual punishment," he laughed. "Ooh! The coffee's ready." Daniel grabbed the coffee pot from the fire and poured two cups.
I accepted the mug he offered. "Thanks. At least something will be palatable." I took a sip and then promptly spit it out, staring at Daniel in confusion. "What is this?"
"It's coffee! What's wrong with it?"
Smacking my lips, I inspected the dark liquid in my mug. It certainly looked like coffee. I sniffed at it and couldn't help but recoil at the offensive odour. Glancing at Daniel, I saw the hurt look on his face.
"Sorry." I tried the coffee again and forced myself to swallow it. I scowled into the cup. It tasted just like the MRE. How was that possible? I glanced at Daniel again and decided my head injury must be affecting my taste buds. Daniel would never willingly drink coffee that tasted like this. And he'd certainly never make it. Ugh. Why did this awful flavour seem so familiar?
Our meal finished, I followed the others across the forested terrain. Nothing about this planet seemed familiar. That must have been some blow to the head.
I wasn't certain how much time passed, but eventually we entered a clearing and I could see the Stargate in the field ahead. It was surrounded by a number of ruined walls and fallen pillars from what must have been an ancient building. Starting to feel comfortable again, I breathed a sigh of relief and we headed for the gate.
Suddenly, a staff blast fizzled past my head. Colonel O'Neill started shouting orders. We all ducked into the ruins. We returned fire, covering Daniel as he headed for the DHD.
I crouched behind a waist-high wall in front of the Stargate. Staff blasts rained down all around. We did our best to ensure that our bullets kept the Jaffa busy. An eternity passed. The Stargate whooshed to life. Daniel scrambled around the DHD for cover.
"Carter!" Colonel O'Neill was shouting at me. He and Teal'c were behind a larger section of wall. They were both firing at the advancing enemy. "Enter the IDC!"
I turned around, leaning my back on the wall. The Stargate shimmered at me. My previous feeling of unease returned with full force. How did we get here? Where did these Jaffa come from? Where were we, anyway?
"Carter!" the Colonel bellowed, "Now!"
Nothing about this situation seemed right...
"Sam!" I heard Daniel shout. I turned in time to see my best friend take a staff blast to his chest and crumple to the ground. Oh God. Daniel!
My fingers flew to the GDO on my wrist. Then I stopped. My instincts were screaming at me, but I didn't know why. Daniel's still form lay a few feet away. The active Stargate beckoned. Enter the IDC and we could go home. We could be safe. Why couldn't I decide what to do?
Teal'c laid down fire for Colonel O'Neill as he moved to the wall I was using as cover.
"What the hell is going on, Carter? We're dying here. Enter your IDC!"
My eyes moved back to the Stargate and then to Daniel. My fingers inched toward the GDO again. I looked at the Colonel. "You do it, sir!"
"I gave you a direct order, Major!"
The wall behind me trembled with the impact of each staff blast.
The metallic flavour of the coffee and MRE lingered in my mouth. Where had I tasted that before? Something I didn't fully understand clicked. Suddenly, I was sure of one thing: this was wrong.
I stood up and turned my weapon on my commanding officer. "You do it, sir!" I repeated. The staff blasts were raining down around me, but miraculously I hadn't been hit. Yet, anyway.
"Carter! Have you lost your mind?!"
"Enter the IDC, sir!"
"Damn it, Carter! Enter the damn code now!"
A staff blast hit me in the back. My trigger finger reflexively contracted. Time slowed to a crawl. The Jaffa were closing in. As the blinding pain overwhelmed me, I felt my knees buckle. The last thing I saw before the blackness enveloped me was Colonel O'Neill taking a bullet from my weapon to his chest. The expression on his face was one of ultimate fury.
To be continued...
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