Boxes, she thought, we all have boxes in our minds that we hide ourselves in. She had boxes, one that said Mum, and the hurt that her death had caused. One said Mark, she opened that one rarely nowadays, preferring to keep in touch with her sister-in-law rather than to start into another round of why the AF is the embodiment of all evil. She had a box labelled Dad, she opened that one as often as she opened 'Mark'
She had a box labelled Jonas, that was a large box, sealed and dusty… her shock at hearing he had been assigned to the SGC was nothing to the relief she felt when he died. She had locked her guilt over that reaction into a separate box and put it behind the big one. Then she had the big…huge…enormous box tied in a red ribbon, it had started as such a small box, but over the last year it had grown!
She always wondered about the others in her team, what boxes did they have? She knew from the start that Daniels boxes were well hidden. He lived very much on the surface of his skin did Daniel, she knew there were boxes though, Catherine had told her about his parents, and him being put 'through the system' from an early age. However he was not locking his feeling for Sha're up, he had no box for her. He had nightmares often, and she really couldn't blame him, after seeing what she had become.
Teal'c, well he was hard to read, but she knew from the minute facial muscles that certain things they said and did brought his boxes forward. His talk of what he DID do for his 'God' left you just knowing that there was more, a lot more. She had read the pages and pages of notes on his interrogation when he first arrived. He had been responsible for countless deaths, and she figured he had also tortured and maybe even raped prisoners.
However he did not sleep, she could not read him by his reactions to his subconscious, maybe that was how the Jaffa kept sane with all the things they had to do? They never dreamt, so they never had to resolve their actions with their own morality.
Then… HIM. She had no idea how to read him at all! He was human, of that she was sure, but his reactions were like nothing she had seen before.
She had heard of Jack O'Neill from Jonas, for someone involved in special ops Jonas had had a big mouth. She had heard that Jack was the one to watch, the one to follow, the one to strive to be like. Though Jonas suffered no lack of self worth, she got the impression that he thought 'Jack' was the ideal.
When she had read the report on the first Abydos mission, she had been puzzled. The reports going into the mission and the ones afterwards could have been written by two different men. Her first impression was that something happened to drastically change his personality during the mission, but talking to General West she got the impression that the Jack O'Neill that returned was the one he knew, the one before was the stranger.
By the time she met him herself, a year or so later, she was so curious that she almost caused him to dismiss her. She had been eager and excited, though she tried to make out that it was all to do with going through the 'gate, the truth was it wasn't, she wanted to meet HIM and get to know HIM almost as much!
Back when they had been working together a few months she had realised certain things about Jack O'Neill, he was always on a hair trigger. Daniel had accidentally knocked into him one night at the change of watch and had ended up on the floor with a knife to his throat before he could stammer out an apology. Jack had straightened up and resheathed his knife, got back to his mat and laid down and gone back to sleep in 30 more seconds. Daniel had been shaking until well after dawn!
He always slept with his back to the fire, to prevent blindness. He woke at the slightest sound, or lack of it. And the thing that puzzled her most about his sleeping, every so often he would go rigid. Totally silent, one minute he would be relaxed in sleep and the next he would be as stiff as a board. She had been going to wake him one of the first times she noticed it, but Teal'c had stopped her. He had raised his hand in front of her, even though she had thought he was meditating at the time, she looked at him and was about to explain when he shook his head, his glance going to their CO and a look of almost sadness crossed his features. He shook his head again and she had backed down. Evidently Teal'c knew something she did not. She HATED not knowing!
She became friends with Janet, and after the Hathor thing they became close, and the fact that she adopted Cassie meant Sam liked spending time with them. She brought up the strange sleep pattern with her, asking if she had ever seen anything like it. Janet had refused to answer, saying it was patient confidentiality, Sam didn't understand, she just wanted to know if it was something she should be worried about.
Janet had assured her that it in no way affected his performance, though Sam knew that already! But that was as far as she would go.
Sam knew she should leave it… knew she should just accept the fact that it was an 'O'Neillism' and write it off as such, but she now felt that at least 2 people understood more than she did, and that annoyed her.
She spent all her spare time for a week researching sleep disorders, nothing she came across resembled what he did.
When Teal'c was being held for past war crimes, she noticed that the Colonel, in his one sleep during the whole thing, spent almost three quarters of his sleep rigid. A huge increase! He had woken more tired looking than he had been when he had gone to sleep.
Then they got thrown out of the 'gate into the ice cave, she had watched him as he slept, and after he passed out, the same pattern. He would rest for a short time, then stiffen up, rest and stiffen, all through the ordeal! After her climb to the surface he came out of one of these phases and whispered the name Sarah.
She knew who Sarah was she had actually met her once, he had mentioned her earlier, when he had told of his crawl out of Iraq, she filed it away, knowing that the more she could remember, the better she may understand! She imagined he had a huge box for that time in his life.
She was starting to get the idea that when he was rigid he was dreaming, but that couldn't be right, you could not help what you did while asleep, never mind control your body and reactions to the extent he must be doing.
She mentioned it to Janet, again she got the 'I can't say' speech, though Teal'c had been in the room, watching them both recover and she thought she saw him nod slightly in her direction.
She contained herself as she watched her team develop, her curiosity grew when they were sent to the penal colony and he pointedly said "Oh Yeah" to the inquiry about if he had been in prison before.
She bit her lip when he helped Daniel through Sarcophagus withdrawal, she had wanted to be there for the man who had become like a brother to her, but Jack had taken over and Janet had told her to leave it to him. She couldn't understand why Jack would be better than herself, but she bowed to the superior knowledge of the CMO as well as of her best friend.
Then he had been stuck to the wall for a day, while being infected by a sentient being from the 'time capsule'. As she sat by his side watching him recover, Janet was taking his pulse… something she did the old fashioned way even though she had a machine that displayed it constantly, when he went rigid under her. Janet almost jumped away from him, as if he had turned hot and she had been burnt. She watched until he relaxed again and then continued with his obs as if nothing had happened.
Sam had had this puzzle for over a year now, and she was no closer to figuring it out. She casually explored the SGC computer files, nothing. She knew the next place she needed to look would not be so easy to get into, she decided to wait… give it a bit longer… see if anything else happened.
The next thing that happened opened a box of Sams, she was not best pleased when they were told they HAD to go to Washington to be awarded the air medal for their part in defeating Apophis and destroying the motherships headed to Earth.
She had been happily chatting away to her CO, seeing a side of him she rarely did, he was relaxed, and he called her 'Sam' more than once, when suddenly she noticed someone… the box labelled 'Dad' sprang open!