Title: Transient Associations
Rating: All Ages
Written for: xfirefly9x, who wanted "Sam and Jack are separated from the others on a mission and are exposed to a hallucinogenic drug."
Summary: Sam is exposed to a substance that makes her think she has psychic powers. Not as cracky as you might think.
My eternal gratitude goes to annerbhp, who helped me get through a sticky part and betaed the rest.
His fingers left behind fiery trails in the air as he swept his hand expansively around them. Sam's eyes tracked them, her eyelids refusing to close, despite the fact that the movement was making her dizzy. There was a pattern behind his movements, a reason, although her brain was refusing to accept the pattern, assigned values dropping off the edge of his hands, dripping down his arms. Her head dropped back onto the back of her chair, the image of his hands burned into her mind.
He had nice hands. As she contemplated this fact her ears started working again. Vaguely, she realized her brain must have compensated for the sensory overload she was experiencing.
"--did you do to her?"
He sounded angry, and Sam managed to lift her head so she could him again. Rage vibrating off his body, creating shock waves she felt. The other person, the priestess, seemed to absorb the vibrations in the calm lines of her body. She bowed slightly and murmured something Sam couldn't quite hear.
Sam struggled to remember what had happened. She'd been separated from the group--no, that wasn't exactly right--the priestess, Firah, was in charge of some sort of technology Sam had wanted a look at and had been willing to show Sam around. She'd gotten a good look at the thing, whatever it was...
Her head felt muzzy again. Now it looked as if Firah, still calm, was leaning toward Jack. She was obviously explaining what had happened. Sam felt relieved, only something was wrong, because Jack was looking at her with an odd expression, as if he wasn't really seeing her at all. The priestess' hand was on Jack's shoulder, her fingers just barely touching his bare skin at the collar of his shirt.
Jack suddenly jerked and turned, slapping the woman's hand off of him. Sam wondered why she felt pleased by that.
"What are you playing at?"
Firah still looked calm, but Sam felt her agitation, heard waves of confusion in her head. She screwed her eyes shut so she could concentrate on the woman's words.
"The mero is a great tool. I was only trying to increase your friend's understanding."
"By what? Screwing with her head?"
Even though her eyes were closed, Sam somehow knew the woman had drawn back. "The mero was discovered long ago. I assure you, she is not harmed. And it will wear off."
Sam was rather relieved at this piece of information. She felt very odd, and she couldn't possibly be seeing half the things she thought she was. It was almost as if everything around her had a second skin…
She realized abruptly that she'd lost track of the conversation. Jack was speaking.
"…leaving, and if anything is wrong with her, so help me, you'll wish you'd kept your hands off her."
She opened her eyes. Jack was moving toward her, and she calculated the angles between them as he moved, adding in the vector of the priestess as she moved toward the door.
He stopped in front of her.
"Carter, can you stand up? We're leaving now."
She tried to move, she really did, but all she succeeded at doing was turning her head.
Firah said, worriedly, "She should not be like this. The mero does not affect us this way."
Jack snapped, "Yeah, well, maybe you should have kept your hands to yourself."
He bent down and carefully lifted her up, slowly standing her up. "You're gonna have to help me out, here, Sam. I don't think I can carry you all the way to the 'gate."
With effort, she managed to keep her feet under her. She was surprised at the concern she felt coming from him, waves of blue agitation that skittered up her spine. It helped her concentrate, and she straightened. They took a few steps toward the door, the priestess holding it open in front of them. When they were through, the woman inclined her head.
"I will travel ahead and inform your friends that you are leaving. I do regret my actions."
Jack shifted his grip on Sam and gave a non-committal grunt. The woman hurried down the long hallway.
Sam watched her go, her steps echoing loudly.
Jack said, "Idiots." He moved forward, following her path. "Just what the hell happened, anyway?"
The anger was back, directed at her, this time. Sam swallowed, her mouth dry, her head still spinning from whatever it was that had happened. "I was asking questions, sir."
Jack gave a bark of laughter. "Nothing unusual there."
Sam blinked. Under the annoyance, there was something…affectionate? But she was probably imagining that. She was probably imagining a lot of things, as she was relatively sure she didn't usually see emotions.
"She couldn't answer them, so she said that she would show me."
Jack set his mouth in a grim line.
Sam had trouble concentrating, but she eventually managed to get her thoughts in order. "Sir, I don't think she meant any harm." She remembered the woman's genuine surprise as Sam had slumped to the ground. Sam vaguely remembered trying to explain about the bright lights that had suddenly exploded behind her eyes.
Jack's next words brought her back from her memory. "I'll bet she didn't."
They were about a quarter of the way down the hall. Sam stumbled, and Jack's arm tightened automatically, held her steady while she regained her footing. Somewhere in the middle of righting herself, Sam became aware of a new feeling from Jack, similar to his earlier anxiety, but a lot more pleasant. She was practically buzzing from it.
She gasped as she realized what it was.
He looked at her sharply. "What is it, Carter?"
She clung to him, trying to tell herself that she was hallucinating, that the drug or whatever had been done to her was making her crazy. She didn't feel crazy. She leaned into him, feeling the buzzing grow louder as her arms seemed to move of their own volition around his neck.
"Carter?" Jack prompted. The buzzing diminished, and the worry returned.
It felt like someone was poking the inside of her spine. Sam took a deep breath. "Sir, I don't like this."
"We'll get you back soon, Carter." But his words were drowned out again by a dull roar in her ears. Sam struggled to stay upright, but it was a losing battle. She slid to the ground, taking Jack with her.
She gasped for air, said, "Sir…please stop," and closed her eyes, trying to screw them shut against the cacophony outside.
Eventually, the feeling of being overwhelmed faded. Sam heard Jack on the radio, demanding that Daniel and Teal'c come find them.
He finished talking with them and looked down at her. This time, Sam knew the feelings she was experiencing were real. She could see his apprehension for a moment before he shut himself off.
Sam attempted to sit up, but couldn't, so she settled back down, her head resting against his shoulder. They were in an awkward half-sitting, half-lying position.
"We're going to wait right here," Jack announced. "I told Teal'c to get a medical team."
Sam opened her mouth to protest, but Jack stopped her. "No. Carter, you can't even sit up, and Daniel insists we're in no danger from these people, that they haven't stopped apologizing since I found you."
Sam tried to push away, and only ended up lightheaded for her efforts. She reluctantly conceded Jack might be right and stopped trying to move. Gradually, the walls stopped crawling. Even what she was getting from Jack seemed less…loud.
After a moment, Sam said, "I think it's wearing off a little, sir. I don't see…" she trailed off. How was she going to explain this?
Curiosity prickled on her skin, leaving goosebumps up and down her arms. "Shit!" she said quietly.
"What is it, Carter?" Jack hadn't missed her outburst or her nervousness.
She sighed. "You're going to think I'm nuts, but I think I can feel emotions." She hurried on, ignoring his skepticism. "I know, it's crazy. And impossible. But I've been feeling them since Firah touched me. More like seeing them, actually," she amended. "I felt Firah's, too. She was worried and scared."
Jack was silent a long moment. When he finally spoke, it was in a low, cautious voice. "Carter, you were drugged. What you're telling me isn't possible. You probably just think that's what's going on."
Sam shook her head. "It's real. I felt it earlier when you—" she paused.
"When I what?"
"Nothing," Sam said, and let her head fall back onto his shoulder again. She couldn't go there. She felt the prickling again, but ignored it until it settled into a low-level worry.
They heard Teal'c and Daniel long before they saw them in the dim hallway. Just behind them was a medical team, Janet heading it up.
She smiled at Sam as she approached. "Heard you need some help?" To Sam, it seemed as if blue and gold waves of calm were lapping gently at her mind. She looked at Teal'c and smiled.
She said, "Thank you." Teal'c inclined his head while everyone else just looked confused.
Jack rolled his eyes. "She thinks she's telepathic."
Janet frowned. "Oh, boy."
Sam didn't bother protesting, just sighed. Teal'c and Daniel helped her stand, and then they put her on a stretcher.
"I really could walk," Sam protested. Janet gave her a stern look. Sam conceded defeat and lay down, her head spinning again anyway.
They carried her through the 'gate and straight to the infirmary, where they ran some tests, finding nothing unusual, and then let her sleep, deciding to keep her for observation.
When she awoke, it was to a very different world. There were no colors bleeding off objects in her sight, for one. She realized it was the middle of the night, the infirmary lights dimmed and the curtain for her bed pulled around her.
She cringed to think of her assertion that she was…what? Psychic? Then again, it had seemed so real, and she was sure she wouldn't have imagined Jack's reaction to her.That had been the farthest thing from her mind at the time.
She heard a footstep.
"Sir?" she asked quietly.
The footsteps came closer. Jack poked his head through the curtain. "What are you doing awake, Major?"
Sam smiled. "Thought I heard something."
Jack shook his head. With the curtain pulled around his face, it looked as if his head were floating in the air. Sam grinned.
"Still seeing things?" he asked, coming in to stand by the bed.
Sam huffed out a laugh. "No, sir."
"Good. Good. You were a little…" he pointed at his head.
Sam said, "I don't know what I was thinking, sir…"
Jack regarded her seriously. "It was the drugs, Major. You have to learn to stay away from them. Haven't you heard about the egg and the frying pan?"
Sam just raised an eyebrow.
Jack said, "I better go, let you get to sleep." He reached over, touched her hand briefly, but the moment he did, Sam felt the same buzzing she had earlier—quieter, but there.
She grabbed his hand and said, "Sir—"
"Problem, Carter?" He raised an eyebrow at their hands. The buzzing intensified a moment; then disappeared completely. She had to have imagined it. Didn't she?
Sam dropped his hand. "Never mind, sir."
And with a nod, he parted the curtain and disappeared, his steps fading into the distance.