Written for Shipsgiving at the S/J ShipFamily Thread at GW (though there is no mention of Thanksgiving, sorry!) Special thanks to Mara for her editing skills and support!
Disclaimer: I don't own them, yada yada.
It was so cold. The radiating chill from the smooth metallic walls and floor permeated her skin. She tried rubbing her arms and legs to generate some body heat, but the movement only served to accentuate the dull throbbing pain in her head. She leaned against the hard wall and tried to will the pain and cold away. At least the cool surface felt good on her pounding head. She pressed her cheek against it and ran her hands over it. She again found the control panel, trying not to think of what it meant. Sliding her fingers into the cracks, she pulled it open. Don't think, don't think, she chanted to herself. Ignoring the increasing crescendo in her skull, she reached in and pulled out the shelf that held the array of crystals. Gasping aloud as the pain began to pummel her brain, she tried to reach for the crystal that would release the door. Immediately her head exploded into blinding pain! She slid to the floor clutching her head. She lay against the wall, her anguished sobs the only sounds in the dark. After a while the agony ebbed to more manageable levels.
Had it always been this way? She couldn't remember anything other than being cold and in pain. At times it was unbearable, agony; at other times it was only a dull ache. It was unceasing - pervading her very soul.
Sometimes, when the pain was duller, not so sharp, she could remember other things-like a pair of warm, brown eyes. These eyes would stare at her, insistent about something she couldn't understand. "What?" she would beg those eyes. "What do you want me to do?" The eyes never answered, just became more intense. If she thought too hard about what they wanted, the pain would increase until she was sobbing in agony. She had ignored how disappointed they had seemed. Now they no longer visited her and she longed for their warmth.
She didn't know how long she was there on the floor. The chill seeped into her skin, leaving her teeth chattering. Even that was enough to set her head pulsing. She curled up into a tight ball, trying to warm herself, trying to ease the torment in her head.
She whimpered. The floor and walls had begun to vibrate. It shook her bones; it increased the dull ache in her head. She tried to tighten further to shield herself from the tremors. Bright light surrounded her, making spots appear through her tightly closed eyelids. They increased in intensity, making her gasp aloud.
She didn't understand the voice-it simply pounded miserably throughout her skull. She clenched her eyes closed and wrapped her arms around her head, trying to block the noise. If she could block out the noise, maybe the ache would not develop into blinding agony.
"Carter." The voice came at her more urgently. Hands gripped her face. She tried to swipe them away, but her head hurt too much to make more than a feeble attempt. Didn't the voice know how much that hurt? The insistent hand patted her cheeks which only served to exacerbate the pain. "Come on, you've got to wake up. If not, I'll have to carry you and we all know how much you hate playing the damsel in distress."
She groaned as nausea overwhelmed her. "Hey! The joke's not that bad." She heard a tremble in the voice. There was something familiar about it, but she couldn't make it out. It made her want to explain it wasn't the joke but the noise - the clamor it created in her brain - but the sudden sharp agony in her head wouldn't let her. Instead she rolled away from the voice and tried to empty her stomach. Of course there was nothing there; there hadn't been for a while.
"Come on, Carter, we've got to go. You can throw up later." Those insistent hands reached around her and pulled her up off the cold floor. She felt her arms instinctively reach around his neck. She turned her head into his shoulder and breathed in. The smell was so familiar, so comforting; it made her feel so safe. Had she ever been safe? She couldn't remember. Without understanding why, she sighed the word sir into his neck. The arms around her tightened.
She could feel his heat as they moved. When was the last time she felt this warm? She couldn't remember. She pressed her face into his shoulder trying to draw out his warmth. Her eyes, she kept tightly shut. If she opened them, perhaps the heat would disappear and she would be back alone in the cold. She wouldn't be able take that any more. A small sob escaped.
Something soft brushed her forehead. "We're almost to the Stargate." This time the voice was soft, gentle. She almost wept in relief.
Stargate? Symbols and numbers flashed through her mind and then the pain burst between her eyes eliciting an anguished moan. She didn't think it was possible, but the arms pulled her in closer. She immediately pushed the symbols out of her consciousness and the ache receded, just a bit, but any relief was welcome. As the warmth of his body engulfed her, she allowed herself to fade into unconsciousness.