Suddenly Sleeping Beauty by AndromedaMarine

"I don't understand," Jack said, his eyes downcast. "I mean – how could this have happened?" The colonel's legs gave way just as Daniel pushed a chair beneath him.

"None of us understand, Jack, least of all her. We don't know what to do. I'm afraid it's out of Janet's hands, for now." The archaeologist laid a hand on the colonel's shoulder. "I wish I could say she'll get better. But the truth is none of us know for sure. You should get some sleep. We're due at the Alpha site tomorrow morning."

"You tell Hammond that I'm not going off-world until Carter's fully recovered." Jack shifted, causing Daniel's hand to lose its place on his friend.

"I can't do that. This isn't just your battle. We're all in this together. Don't let us down. We need you there." Daniel faced the colonel.

Jack shook his head. "No, Daniel, we need Carter there. And since she's unavailable right now, so am I." He stared deep into Daniel's brilliantly blue eyes. "I'm sorry if you think I'm being irrational, but know this – she's like this because of something I couldn't stop. Now, I don't know what that something is, but it sure as hell isn't on the Alpha site. I don't expect you, in all your brilliance, to understand what I'm feeling right now. Ranks excused, I. Need. To. Be. Here. Not off-world." Jack's brown eyes cut past Daniel's blue ones.

Daniel nodded, though perhaps not in agreement – Jack's tirades could get annoying. But this one moved in him something he hadn't felt since Sha're had last kissed him on Abydos. "Okay."

Jack raised an eyebrow.

"I honestly know what you're going through. I know exactly what you're feeling – I felt it with Sha're and Sarah. The only difference is I couldn't save them. You can still save Sam. And now that I know what you've been suppressing, I can honestly say I know you will find a way to save her. I won't get in your way, Jack. I love her too."

Daniel held the colonel's gaze a while longer and then walked out of the infirmary, leaving Jack completely alone with the unconscious Samantha Carter.

"I'm sorry, Sam. I should have seen something like this coming. It's all my fault." He took her hand gently and his head fell with sadness.


"It's not your fault, Jack." The colonel lifted his head to see an empty bed. "Over here." The voice was sounding from behind him. He couldn't mistake it.

Jack O'Neill stood and turned, coming face to face with Sam – Sam who looked perfectly healthy – Sam, who wasn't hooked to thousands of beeping machines – Sam, who wasn't using military formalities. "What – how?"

Sam pressed a finger against his lips. "Shhh. None of it was your fault."

Jack, in the back of his mind, realized that this was unconscious Sam's way of letting him know how wrong he was. Their bond was closer than either had imagined possible. And yet – Samantha was communicating with the colonel in a way only true soul-mates could.

He grasped her hand – it was ice-cold – and held it close to him. "What are you trying to tell me, Sam? How can we save you?"

"It's not a 'we' that can. It is you. You know the only way. It is hidden in your heart of hearts, past the fear and judgment; in your soul, where the Air Force doesn't matter."

Jack briefed a smile. "You're starting to sound like Daniel. Just tell me – how?"

Sam leaned into her colleague and kissed him lightly on the lips. He savored her touch. She pulled away just barely and said, "Listen to what your heart tells you. The answer is within you."


Jack lifted his head to see wires connected to both beeping machines and to Sam. "I know how," he whispered to Sam, and squeezed her hand. "I know how to save you."


18 Hours Earlier:

Jack, Sam, Teal'c, and Daniel hacked their way through the underbrush of the flora-overgrown planet, searching for the erratic energy source Carter had picked up on from the MALP.

"Carter, are we any closer to the damn energy thingy than we were an hour ago?" Jack asked, exasperated. They had spent two hours swatting supersized mosquitoes away from their faces.

Sam bit her bottom lip, a sign Jack had learned to be wary of. It meant she was half-sure and half-doubtful.

"Don't give me that, Carter. I want some answers." He swatted a particularly large mosquito away from his nose.

"Sir, it seems like the source is jumping away from us, like a rabbit."

Teal'c looked up at Sam curiously. He raised one of his eyebrows to an alarming height and shouldered his staff weapon. "It may be that the source is aware of our presence and does not wish to be seen or captured," he offered.

"You mean this damn thing we're looking for is playing hide and seek with us? Oi." He slipped his baseball cap farther over his eyes to shield them from the unusually large sun on the planet.

"Indeed."

Daniel had wandered off a little bit. "Guys, you should come see this," he called out.

Jack, Sam and Teal'c followed Daniel's well-hacked path and joined him at the edge of a bluff. "You think this is your elusive energy source, Sam?" The four members of SG-1 gazed down at what seemed to be an abandoned mothership platform. The anti-gravity panels had long since died but there was a half-built mothership resting on the ground in the middle of the ring.

Sam checked her hand device. "Yep. Now it doesn't seem so erratic."

Jack stared at her. "You wait until now to tell me?"

"Sorry, sir."

Jack waved her off and began looking for a way down into the valley. He started down a goat-path when Teal'c gave the order to drop. "What?" Jack asked hoarsely and quietly. Daniel pointed down at the platform and Jack followed his finger – three Jaffa were marching through the ruins, sporting Sodan staff weapons. "Oh, crap."


Half an hour later they were at the bottom of the valley, less than a mile away from the abandoned platform. Jack's and Sam's P90s were poised and ready to hit any Jaffa that came too close. Teal'c's staff weapon was the same, and Daniel held his P90 delicately.

Suddenly, Carter wasn't by Jack's side anymore. His eyes swept around them frantically, and he wanted to call out her name but didn't for fear of alerting the Jaffa. He heard the painfully familiar sound of a staff blast. The next two sounds shot through Jack's heart like ice – a grunt and then a moan of pain – he spun around and Daniel had his hand pressed firmly over a smoking wound in his side.

It seemed the Jaffa had Sodan cloaks, too. Teal'c shouldered Daniel in a hurry, taking care not to aggravate his burned side. Then he took Jack's hand and placed it firmly on his other shoulder. He activated his own Sodan cloak and shot at the now-visible Jaffa with sharp precision. Six Jaffa fell in under five seconds, and then the three they had seen from the top of the bluff stared around stupidly, waiting for their friends to re-appear. Teal'c shot them, too.

"Take Daniel back to the SGC. I'll go look for Carter," Jack said quickly, his gut telling him Carter was in danger. He removed his hand from the Jaffa, and Teal'c disabled the cloak. "Tell Hammond that if I don't check in after an hour to send SG-4 through."

Teal'c merely nodded and moved Daniel into a more comfortable hold. The archaeologist had passed out and his glasses were askew. Teal'c took the glasses and placed them in a vest pocket, taking care not to break them with his strong grip. He set out for the Stargate at a run.


Now that the valley was empty, Jack could call out Sam's name. "Major Carter! Major Carter, if you can hear me, please respond," he said into the radio. There was no reply. "Major Carter?" Jack gave up on the radio and set out for the mothership, wondering how she could have disappeared from his side without a Sodan cloak.

After five minutes he heard a female voice faintly on the radio. "Jack," she said weakly. "Help…me…"

"Carter!? Sam, where are you?"

"Pel'tak…" he heard her say faintly. Pel'tak… which part of the ship was that? Daniel's and Teal'c's lessons had been boring on the subject but now it was essential he remember what Teal'c had said the Pel'tak was. His brain clicked and he remembered. It was the Goa'uld equivalent of the bridge.

He started running faster than usual, pumped full of adrenaline and the incentive to rescue Carter as soon as possible. He entered the mothership in half the time it would have taken the entire team to get there and stopped, disoriented. Which way was the Pel'tak? He vaguely remembered the rough schematics Teal'c had drawn up and another click echoed in his brain. He sped to the Pel'tak in record time, just barely noticing the empty rooms he passed on his way there.

Carter was sprawled, unconscious, in the middle of the bridge. He knelt and leaned over her, lifted her head and lightly slapped her cheek. "Carter, wake up," he said frantically. "Don't die on me," he added, as if that might wake her. "Come on…." He searched her body for any injuries and found a large knot on the back of her head as well as a prick mark, like a needle. "Dammit," he finally muttered, and picked up the major with hardly any effort. He placed one of her arms around his neck and supported her head with his bicep. "Don't give up on me now, Sam." He hoped to God there was no more Jaffa to keep him from the gate.


He made it to the Stargate without any hindrance, and he set Sam on the grass, careful to keep her head elevated. He dialed Earth and as soon as the wormhole was established he punched in his IDC code. "This is Colonel O'Neill. I need a medical team – Major Carter's been attacked." He picked up Sam and draped her arm around his neck again, and stepped through the blue event horizon.

Janet Frasier and a gurney were waiting for Sam on the other side. Jack sped down the ramp and set her on it gently. The doctor whisked her down the hall and Jack followed at a run. "What happened, Colonel?"

"She just disappeared, and then Daniel was hit with a Sodan staff blast. Is he alright?"

"He's being stitched up. What about Major Carter?" Janet asked with urgency.

"After Teal'c left with Daniel I tried contacting her on the radio and she told me where she was before she passed out. When I got there she was just on the floor and I found a needle-mark on the back of her neck."

They reached the infirmary and Jack saw Daniel on one of the beds, unconscious. Janet checked Sam's vitals and was satisfied with her condition. "Colonel, if you don't mind, could you leave? I want to give her a full examination."

Jack nodded after a moment and left her bed, reluctantly. He instead sat next to Daniel's unmoving form. The archaeologist looked peaceful and vulnerable, considering how guarded he usually looked. His side was plastered with white gauze and multiple scratches marred his normally smooth face. The colonel patted Daniel's hand and slowly left the infirmary with one last glance at Sam's bed. It was blocked by curtains.


Jack lay on his bed in his bland SGC room six hours after bringing Sam back from the planet. There was a knock at his door and he said lazily, "Door's open."

The knob turned and Daniel entered, walking with a cane.

Jack sat up, and, seeing Daniel hobble over to a chair, said, "When did you wake up?"

"About an hour ago. Then Janet subjected me to every test known to this galaxy." He sat down heavily, wincing at the sharp pain in his side. "Why is Sam in the observation room?"

Jack looked up sharply. "I didn't know she was in the observation room. Is she awake yet?"

"I think that's why they first put her in there. She didn't respond to any of Janet's usual wake-up methods. She's hooked up to a whole array of machines. It doesn't look good, Jack. What happened after I was shot?"

"Teal'c activated his Sodan cloak and shot the Jaffa who shot you. Then he took you to the gate and I found Carter." He tossed a yo-yo into the air, catching it expertly as it fell.

"Where was she?"

"In the mothership's bridge."

"You mean Pel'tak?"

Jack waved his hand, accidentally letting the yo-yo fly away and hit the wall with a smack. "Whatever. She was unconscious so I carried her back." He rested his elbows on his knees and dropped his head into his hands. "Do you think she'll be alright?"

Daniel shrugged with difficulty. "I don't know. Janet said that whatever was in the needle was alien and there was no way she can treat it. Did Sam say anything about her attacker?"

"No. She fainted right after she said 'Pel'tak.'"

Daniel was silent, presumably fighting past his pain. Janet hadn't fully cleared him for duty.

Jack stood. "I'm going to go see her. Wanna come?"

The archaeologist reached for his cane and Jack helped him up. "Janet still hasn't released you, huh?" Jack said, noticing Daniel's struggle to walk.

"She was busy with Sam so I kind of snuck out. I don't like being cooped up like that."

"I know what you mean," Jack said, thinking back on his long infirmary stays. The two walked – Daniel hobbled – to the observation room, where Sam was linked to a bunch of blinking and beeping machines. Janet saw them enter from behind the glass and motioned for them to keep out.

Janet hurried from behind the glass and shooed the two friends into the hallway.

"What?" Jack asked, supporting Daniel.

"You need to get back to your infirmary bed, Dr. Jackson," Janet said, her eyes forcing Daniel into submission. "Colonel, I'm afraid Major Carter is extremely weak and has suffered a major concussion. She needs rest and a miracle."

"Can't I just sit with her?"

Janet sighed. "Alright, if you insist. But keep it short. I need to find out what's entered her system. Dr. Jackson, you get back to bed now."

Daniel left as fast as he could hobble.

Jack pulled up a chair and sat as close as he could to Sam. The room was completely empty except for him and Sam. "I'm sorry, Carter. You know I'm horrible at bedside manners. I wish there was some way I could help. After you disappeared I couldn't stop thinking about what had happened to you. I was worried. Just wake up soon." He grasped her hand and, making sure no one was in the room, he kissed it, letting his lips linger on her soft skin. "Come on, Sam. Wake up for me."

He stayed in the observation room by himself for the next hour, requesting all personnel who walked in to leave. He only left when Janet finally came in and shooed him away from Sam. "You can visit her later, after you've had some much-needed sleep. I have to run some tests on her."

"Let me know when you make any progress, doc."

Janet said she would and then shoved him out of the observation room. Jack returned to his room and slept for four hours before he heard his room's phone ring. "O'Neill," he said groggily. It was more sleep than he'd had in two days.

"Colonel, will you please report to the briefing room," General Hammond said loudly into Jack's ear."

"Oh, hello General. Okay."

A few minutes later Jack was in the briefing room sitting at the large oak table. Teal'c was across from him and Daniel was hobbling up the stairs just when Hammond joined them. "Colonel, Doctor, Teal'c. I brought you here to discuss Major Carter's condition."

"Is she any better?" Jack asked.

"Unfortunately, no. Dr. Frasier took multiple brain scans of the Major and she can't find anything to indicate why she's still unconscious. According to all her tests the Major is awake and experiencing a massive headache."

"Whatever was injected caused her to sleep?" Daniel said.

"Teal'c, have you ever come across something that makes the victim sleep?" Hammond asked the Jaffa.

"I have not. It seems that whatever was injected into Major Carter worked quickly, and she was lucky to contact Colonel O'Neill before she fainted," Teal'c responded, voice slightly monotone.

"Is it possible she can hear everything but she can't respond?" Jack asked.

Janet walked in. "It's possible, but unlikely. By all standards she's in a conscious state but unresponsive. Her brain scans show normal activity." She sat next to Jack and pushed a file over to Hammond. "I can't do anything else for her but keep her comfortable. I don't know when she'll wake up, if she does."

"What do you mean, 'if she does'? She's going to wake up, isn't she?"

Janet sighed. "I can't say, Colonel. Not enough time has passed for me to accurately make that assessment."

"Colonel, did you see anyone else in the mothership on your way out or in?"

Jack thought hard. "No. There were just a bunch of empty rooms. I was too focused on getting Carter back here."

"Understandable," Janet said.

"I just wanted to get you all up to speed on Major Carter's condition. Dismissed." Hammond left the conference room and closed the door to his office.

Jack was the last person to leave the room, stunned by what both Janet and Hammond had said. He couldn't imagine life if Sam never woke. When he finally did leave it was six in the morning. He debated with himself whether or not to stop by the observation room and see Sam before he slept again. Jack wandered the halls of the base and found himself at the door of Sam's room. Janet was drawing some of Sam's blood when she saw him leaning against the concrete doorjamb.

"Good morning, Colonel."

"No, not really," he said, shaking his head. "I haven't been getting a lot of sleep lately and this isn't helping any," he continued, referring to Sam.

"Then shouldn't you be in bed?"

"I didn't want to until I saw her again." Janet had an idea of Jack's suppressed feelings for Samantha, and she had been a good friend by not mentioning them to anyone else. Daniel knew. He was also decent enough to keep it to himself. Besides, he cared about Sam too. Jack's feelings were simply stronger.

Janet finished drawing the blood. "I'll leave you alone with her, then. I've got to run this again." She held up the phial of blood and clicked past the colonel, patting his shoulder on her way out.

Jack was grateful that Janet understood. He sat next to Sam's bed again and laid his hand on top of hers. It was cold. "Sam, if you can hear me, I want you to know that I'm not giving up on you. You can't give up on yourself, either. I care about you a lot more than I'm supposed to," he whispered to her. He squeezed her hand and then left slowly to sleep. He hoped with all his heart she heard him.

He fell asleep within two breaths and dreamed about Sodan warriors capturing Sam and injecting her with some sort of serum. When he looked up in his dream he saw Sam, reaching out for him and calling his name, desperate to get away from the warriors. Jack sat up in a cold sweat and glanced at his watch. It was 11:45 in the morning – he'd slept for about five and a half hours, which he was glad about. Feeling slightly more refreshed than he did before he had fallen asleep Jack dressed and went to the cafeteria. Teal'c was at a table calmly shoveling Jell-o down his throat.

"Hey, T."

"Colonel O'Neill." Teal'c continued to eat the Jell-o.

Jack didn't get any food. He wasn't hungry. "Is Carter any different?"

"She is not."

"So whatever was in the injection is still the same?"

"Indeed." Teal'c wasn't very talkative until after lunch.

Jack stood. "Well, I'm going to go see her again."

Teal'c didn't respond as he stuffed another spoon-full of the gelatin into his mouth. Jack walked slowly down the hall and peered into Sam's room. Daniel was by her bed, talking animatedly.

"Daniel," Jack said.

The archaeologist stood quickly, aggravating his side. "Hi, Jack," he said, wincing at the stitches. "Give a guy a little warning, why don't you."

"Sorry. Still hurts?"

"You'd think so," he replied with a grimace.

"I don't understand," Jack said, his eyes downcast. "I mean – how could this have happened?" The colonel's legs gave way just as Daniel pushed a chair beneath him.

"None of us understand, Jack, least of all her. We don't know what to do. I'm afraid it's out of Janet's hands, for now." The archaeologist laid a hand on the colonel's shoulder. "I wish I could say she'll get better. But the truth is none of us know for sure. You should get some sleep. We're due at the Alpha site tomorrow morning."

"You tell Hammond that I'm not going off-world until Carter's fully recovered." Jack shifted, causing Daniel's hand to lose its place on his friend.

"I can't do that. This isn't just your battle. We're all in this together. Don't let us down. We need you there." Daniel faced the colonel.

Jack shook his head. "No, Daniel, we need Carter there. And since she's unavailable right now, so am I." He stared deep into Daniel's brilliantly blue eyes. "I'm sorry if you think I'm being irrational, but know this – she's like this because of something I couldn't stop. Now, I don't know what that something is, but it sure as hell isn't on the Alpha site. I don't expect you, in all your brilliance, to understand what I'm feeling right now. Ranks excused, I. Need. To. Be. Here. Not off-world." Jack's brown eyes cut past Daniel's blue ones.

Daniel nodded, perhaps not in agreement – Jack's tirades could get annoying. But this one moved in him something he hadn't felt since Sha're had last kissed him on Abydos. "Okay."

Jack raised an eyebrow.

"I honestly know what you're going through. I know exactly what you're feeling – I felt it with Sha're and Sarah. The only difference is I couldn't save them. You can still save Sam. And now that I know what you've been suppressing, I can honestly say I know you will find a way to save her. I won't get in your way, Jack. I love her too."

Daniel held the colonel's gaze a while longer and then walked out of the room, leaving Jack completely alone with the unconscious Samantha Carter.

"I'm sorry, Sam. I should have seen something like this coming. It's all my fault." He took her hand gently and his head fell with sadness.


Samantha looked like she was unconscious, but whatever that injection had in it caused a waking sleep. She could hear and feel everything, but she couldn't react. She wanted to open her eyes, to respond to everything Jack was saying. She couldn't imagine never waking up – never seeing him again.

She could feel it when Daniel and Teal'c held her hand and was thankful for their kindness. But Jack's touch was more persistent and caring than anyone else's.

When Jack kissed her hand she knew he was the only one who could save her. From that moment she focused her energy – what little was left – on communicating with the colonel. She had encountered unconscious projection before, when Daniel had ascended. Sam just had to figure out how to do it consciously.

Sam forgot about all the rules of military ranks and imagined herself alone with Jack. She repeated words of love in her mind and lost herself to the sensation of Jack's touch. Sam heard Daniel leave her room and thought only about talking to Jack. Suddenly she was standing behind the colonel and she spoke.

"It's not your fault, Jack," Sam said, not entirely sure she could reach out and touch him. "Over here." She didn't bother to use military formalities.

Jack looked up and saw the empty bed. He turned around and Sam saw his wet eyes. He had been crying. "What – how?"

Sam reached out on instinct and pressed a finger to his lips. "Shhh. None of it was your fault. You did nothing to hurt me."

Jack grasped her hand and pulled it close to him. "How can we save you?"

Sam shook her head. "You can save me. You know, in your heart, past the judgment and fear – in your soul, where the Air Force doesn't matter." She was talking about his love for her.

"You're starting to sound like Daniel," Jack said, smiling. "But how are you doing this? Just tell me how to save you."

Sam smiled. "I've been trying to talk with you. I'm in your head, so to speak. Our connection is much deeper than we ever knew." Sam leaned into her colleague and kissed him lightly on the lips. He savored her touch. She pulled away just barely and said, "Listen to what your heart tells you. The answer is within you."

Jack lifted his head to see wires connected to both beeping machines and to Sam. "I know how," he whispered to Sam, and squeezed her hand. "I know how to save you." The colonel didn't want to leave Samantha longing to wake up but he had to tell Hammond he knew what to do. Even if it meant getting his ass demoted. Jack reluctantly let his hand fall away from hers and he went to the phone. "Hammond, please."

The general answered.

"General, I know this might sound uncharacteristically crazy, but I need you to lock down this level and cut all camera feeds."

There was no reply.

"I know how to wake her up."

"Well, then let's hear it," Hammond said immediately.

"I just said it."

Silence again, and then, "Colonel, is that it? Just kill power to that level?"

"Not so much kill power as lock it down. No one is allowed in this level besides myself. Janet has to stay out, too."

"Colonel, I hope you know what you're doing."

"Believe me, I have no doubt about it." He hung up the phone just as Hammond gave the order. Soon there were people rushing by the door, Janet included. She stopped and asked Jack what was going on. "Lockdown. You'll have to leave this level."

"What about Major Carter and yourself?"

"She's who the lockdown's for."

Janet looked skeptical.

"I know how to wake her up but it requires this level empty and the camera feeds cut. I know what I'm doing, doc. Just trust me."

Janet looked like she wasn't going to leave, and Jack was about to push her out the door when she started moving again. Jack stopped her.

"Just between you, me, and Daniel, it was a Sleeping Beauty Serum," he said quietly.

Janet was puzzled. Then her eyes widened. "Oh. Just Daniel?"

Jack nodded. "Hammond can't know." Then Janet left.

The colonel closed the bulkhead door and switched the camera off. He returned to Sam's bed and began removing the wires and IVs connecting her to the machines. His hands worked slowly, knowing Sam could hear and feel everything he removed the blocking cords with care. The last wires he removed were on her chest, and he hesitated before taking them off, not wanting to violate what little privacy she had. But his gut told him to keep going and he pulled them off.

He began talking to her. "Sam, I'm going to lift you and take you out of this room." He picked her up carefully, cradling her head against his arm. He opened the bulkhead and walked through the flashing lights down the corridor, to his quarters. Jack, with care, laid her on his bed.

The colonel sat next to her and stroked her hair. "I love you," he whispered, and then he leaned down and kissed her. The effect was instantaneous. Suddenly free of her prison she returned the kiss with equal intensity. Her arms wove around his neck and Jack pulled her up, still kissing. He broke away and hugged her as tightly as he could. "Oh, Sam, thank God," he whispered into her ear, burying his head into her hair.

Sam fought for control over her tears. "Jack, I could hear everything you said and I tried to answer, I tried to tell you that I love you too," she clung to his shirt like there was no tomorrow, feeling the tears slide down her cheek unhindered. "I won't ever give up, never. We can't let the Air Force keep us apart." She kept her head in his neck. "I love you so much. So much."

"I know," he replied softly. "I've felt the exact same for so long." He stroked the back of her head. "I'll always be here for you." He locked her eyes and became lost in the blue expanse that had been denied him for so long.

They kissed again, knowing that nothing would stand in their way.