Disclaimer: I don't own these characters, I don't own Stargate, I don't own my house, I don't own my car, I don't own my pants. Where…are my pants? Where…is my car…? Oh shit..not again…VALA!
Warning: Sexual Content…I repeat graphic Sexual Content. There will be scenes and they will probably be graphic. Lemons and Limes are my kind of fruit, and if you ain't cool with that turn around now.
AN: Thank you to Lilferret for her beta skills. I am a terrible speller and horrible at grammar so I often write a few chapters and let them stew in my computer before I let them go anywhere. So now that my fic is bathed, washed, and dressed in it's Sunday's best...
Chapter 1: Burning Alive
Jack stared down at her, his deep brown eyes hard and unmoving as he watched her through the glass. She was looking straight ahead, her profile to him, and he could see her split lips oozing a little dribble of blood, her usually well combed hair messy and covered with dirt. Her BDU jacket was gone, the tight black shirt beneath ripped and torn with her visibly red streaked flesh showing through the fabric's open gashes. Her pants were just as torn, ripped and hanging off her frame, as she sat leaning on the back of the chair, eyes cold and staring forward. She had medical supplies sprawled across the table but she wasn't trying to patch herself up just yet. She clutched her own hands, open and closed, feeling the pressure of her nails biting into her flesh.
He could feel his own gaze bouncing off the glass as he watched her. His own worry and emotions pushed down inside him as he watched and waited. He waited for what he knew was going to happen. Waited for the reason she was in there. Waited for the uncontrollable reaction that made her a danger to all those on the base.
And there it was. Her eyes fluttered shut as a tear slipped down her face, breath shuddering from her lips, her bright lips that seemed to glow with the same color as the blood that lingered there. It spread through her, burning like little flames licking across her skin, turning it a bright shimmering red. He watched her hands shoot out and grab the tabletop. Hot flesh burning into the tabletop and melting the metallic surface in her palm. Her blood looked like it was boiling in each place that it seeped out of her skin and trailed across her shirt. Her head fell back, teeth gritting and eyes shutting again, a tear fell down her cheek, but this time the liquid boiled and evaporated before it even fell to her chin. A deep red line of burned skin where the water flowed.
Jack kept watching. He kept staring at her as she pushed out of the chair and stumbled backward toward the corner. He watched as she curled into a ball, her bright blonde hair whispering red and burning onto its ends, lifting like fire burning off her head. He knew he couldn't look much longer, could already see the features of her face becoming flat white as she became brighter, redder, hotter. He looked away.
He felt and heard the tremble, as there was a blinding sound of an explosion in the other room. The heat that was once contained in Samantha Carter expelled from her body and flash boiled the liquid in her blood. The heat lighting the glass in front of him up like the sun, he could see the flash of brightness from behind the protective shielding in the glass. Yet the thing that hurt him the most was the distant, low, far away hiss of pain as it escaped her.
And just as quickly as it came, it was gone. And she was normal. Curled in the corner, breathing hard. Her clothes were singed and tattered as they fell from her frame; a slash, turned into a soft pink scar stretched across her shoulder and down her chest, her shirt still in place but a singed rim to it as it flowed a bright red stream of blood. He peeked down at the woman; her breath coming in deep long strokes while her skin returned to a pale shady state that just seemed unimpressive after watching her go supernova.
"No," said Jack firmly, frowning down at the younger man. Daniel was looking agitated and angry, fidgeting and moving with the desire to help. His eyes burned with unquenched fear as he looked down into the room containing his friend. This was his fault. The guilt bled through him, the pain of it gripping him. Jack's voice was the only thing that broke through the silence in his brain to sooth him.
"You don't know if you did this to her. She was exposed to other things there without you seeing it. It could be anything, Daniel. Not just the plant that attacked you." The older man hated being in charge, hated having to say no. Because he wanted so badly to say yes and send them to find what did this to her.
"This is eating her alive…from the inside out, we have to stop it," he said through clenched teeth, not wanting to see the logic in the calm man's words, because the archeologist didn't have that kind of control and didn't care to attempt it.
"And how much good will it do to have you and Teal'c down in that room with her?" The younger man knew he was right, but wanted to ignore him anyway. He couldn't get the image of Sam yanking him away from the wall out of his head. Couldn't get the image of it striking through her arm instead of into him. Couldn't get the image of her wide eyes as it burned her, and started all of this.
He stood and pushed the images out of his head. He had images, digital images he could finish translating. Although the ones he had gotten through had provided no possibility of a solution, he knew that he couldn't just give up. He couldn't just stop looking, especially if this was all he could do for her. He looked into the taller man's eyes, and shared for a moment the hurt he felt, then acknowledge that they had let Jack down. They hadn't protected her. They knew the unspoken feelings of the General for the Lt. Colonel, and there was always an unspoken pact to keep each other alive. He may not be on their team to protect them anymore, but they were supposed to be careful. The General didn't let Daniel see his anger, at least not outright; he was punishing himself enough already.
Jack watch the other man walk away. He knew there was nothing he could say, nothing he could do to make him feel less guilty, but that didn't matter at the moment. All the doctors in the Stargate Program were working and studying the poor woman in the room below. They were trying to learn from her, but only a few were concerned with the woman, with the woman who earned a fresh rip in her flesh every time she exploded, and every time it seemed brighter, bigger, and more ominous.
Sam lay on the floor. Yes, she had a bed, due to the mysterious fact that the flames didn't hurt anything but her and never singed anything but her flesh. But she was lying on the floor because she was enjoying the feel of the cold of the metal against her back. She had her new black shirt hiked up and tucked under her bra, as far as it could go without being indecent. She'd tugged her pants down to ride low on her hips long ago, pulling her pant legs up as far as they would go. Her skin shimmered with a fine sheen of sweat and her hair stuck to her face. The air in her lungs felt hot and the blood in her veins felt boiling. She begged for them to lower the temperature and she had only believed them when Jack himself told her they had set the temperature as low as possible. The scientist in Carter wanted to ask for dry ice. The tortured woman in her knew she would grab it and try to cool herself down, which the scientist knew would not create a very good result.
So that was where she ended up. Long lines of scars forming across her milky white skin. She lifted up her arm and looked at the deep red pulsing scar there. The plant had not just wrapped around her, it had gone inside her, stabbing through her. That was where this had come from, she was certain, but there was no way to know if there weren't other similar threats on the planet. She lay still on the floor, concentrating on the feeling of cool on her flesh, burning on the inside, and boiling in her brain.
The door hissed as the seals were broken and the Lt. Colonel merely moved her head in that direction. She didn't want to get up; she didn't want to break contact from the blissfully cold floor.
There stood Daniel, Jack, Teal'c and three scientists, but the three mousy lab coated individuals didn't look happy. Daniel looked at the folder in his hand and moved, uncomfortable. From their actions she knew there was something wrong, but she didn't know what. She knew that she had something to worry about but without them speaking her imagination jumped and riveted to so many things she couldn't stop her mind from flooding with pain and fear and frustration. Then she felt it. The burn in her fingertips. But then she schooled herself calm and pushed the burn away before it became out of her control.
When she looked up, the scientists had fled and only her closest friends were left. The General had sent the others out of the room and stood patiently waiting as the woman took control of her emotions and her body and prevented another explosion. He walked over to her, settling himself on the cold floor next to her. She was surprised at how long it must have taken her, enough time for the General to send them all away and take this upon himself. However, it was not a comforting thought to know Jack would stay if she burst. It wasn't safe, not in the slightest. She wasn't even sure how she survived it.
"You know how we do this stuff all the time right?" he began, waiting for her nod of conformation before he continued. "And sometimes, we decipher the message on the alien planet and it gives us the precise method with which to cure you?"
"Yeah?" Sam asked, almost a little hopeful, but still careful.
"This isn't one of those times…" He took a breath and continued, trying to avoid her beautifully toned midriff in an effort to remain calm and professional. "You know how sometimes, we just have to let things run their course and they fix themselves?"
"Yeah…" She said again, voice more strained, as she started to feel a burn inside her.
"This isn't one of those times either. You won't stop. Your rate of progression is slow and fluctuating, but you won't…just stop."
"How do you know that? You can't know that for sure." She reasoned, her voice betraying the slightest edge of panic as she fought to fight away her emotions, to be the woman she needed to be here and now.
Daniel and Teal'c moved closer, the folder still firmly in the archeologist's hand as he bypassed the slightly disfigured table and moved directly to Sam and Jack on the floor. He slid down to be closer to his friend, his soft blue eyes both concerned and understanding.
"I'm sorry," he stated simply, before sliding it to her, in case she wanted to look. "The bird…proudly willing to burn…" Daniel quoted as his heart twisted a little, looking at his friend. There was no denying now that this was his fault. So his fault. "I deciphered the writing and it wasn't a warning, not so much as a statement. Only the bird proudly willing to burn may live again, from the inner flames to fires, and breath to breathe again. The planet is known as the Phoenix Phire, people search for it, as a legend to be embodied with the power of a Phoenix." He watched her eyes glow slightly bright, knowing this was fear, knowing that this couldn't possibly be easy for her to take calmly. "Your going to rebuild yourself every once and a while…and…when your emotions run hot…you will…"
"Instant Tan," Jack provided as an explanation, then waved his hands and made a boom sound.
Sam however, was obviously not amused. Her skin leaked more sweat and her skin began to glow, sprouting little red tendrils across her face as she breathed deep. "Sam?" Jack managed to ask, even as he and Daniel were pulling themselves up quickly.
"Run," she snapped, the words simple and strong off her lips. They were singular and unyielding. Powerful. As powerful as she felt with the emotion building high in her. She was confused. She was angry. She was burning. Most of all she was scared. Was this hurting her? Was she gonna be okay? And then she saw Teal'c. Not moving. Sitting right there in front of her and her body thrust into overdrive. She was going to kill him. She was gonna blow right here with all three of them there and there wasn't a damn thing she could go about it.
The heat consumed her, exploding from her body again, faster and harder and stronger than it ever had before. Ironically fueled by her strong sense of fear; fear that she would burn too fast to give them time to get away from her.