"We stand here today to remember those who lost their lives or were seriously injured whilst defending this facility, this nation and this planet from the Goa'uld and to thank them for their service and courage:
General Hammond stood on the ramp, behind a large wooden lectern – the United States Air Force insignia emblazoned on the front, leading up to the Stargate. Captain Carter was standing at the bottom of the ramp, between Daniel and Teal'c, facing the ranks of soldiers and civilians who worked at Stargate Command. As Hammond ended his speech, the bugler began to slowly play "Taps".
Sam, Daniel and Teal'c all excused themselves and exited the 'gate room as swiftly as they politely could at the end of the service – they did not want to be interrogated as to Dr. Frasier's condition nor the colonel's. They walked to the infirmary together in silence. Daniel stuck his head round the door and peered into the semi-darkness Janet had imposed on her shared room and its other occupant. "Hey, Janet. How're you doing?" Daniel asked, seeing she was awake and observing the rhythm and rate of her neighbour's heart monitor. "Shhhhh," she whispered firmly as Sam and Teal'c's heads poked into the room, "he's sleeping."
"Can we come in?" Sam asked quietly, nervous of waking the sleeping giant in the next bed – even if she was a good friend of his and would have quite liked to discuss recent events with the man. Janet beckoned the three of them into the small room and, after gingerly walking around awkwardly placed furniture, they were able to whisper to Janet. Sam took up a place in a comfortable armchair between Janet and the other occupant; Teal'c stood silent and motionless at the foot of the bed; Daniel stood on Janet's other side, wringing his hands nervously. "So...How are you Janet?" Sam repeated.
"I'm fine Sam, really. My back's a bit sore and stiff but that's to be expected."
"You almost single-handedly killed Apophis while also saving Colonel O'Neill's life: I think you can relax." Daniel chuckled. Sam barely smothered a laugh; Teal'c, predictably, raised one eyebrow. "Thank you Daniel." Janet smiled back at Daniel who was also grinning broadly. Sam gestured to the other occupant of the room, "How long's he been out for Janet?"
Dr. Frasier smiled wryly, "Why do you think I know?"
"Because a) just before we came in you were watching his monitor intensely and looking at the drugs he's on-"
Sam interrupted Daniel, "And b) you're a doctor – you never sleep." Daniel tried to stop a giggle escaping his lips but ended up snorting loudly and then went into fits of coughing. Janet glared at him until he got the message to "go outside and die quietly" from Sam. Teal'c again raised an eyebrow at this and followed Daniel to ensure that he did not actually die.
When the room was quiet – only Daniel's coughing drifted softly through the closed door, it was immediately apparent to Janet that her sleeping companion was now awake. "Colonel? Can you hear me?"
"Doc." Jack croaked.
If he's not dead – or dying – I don't want to know what happened to Sam, Daniel and Teal'c.
"We think they went back to wherever they came from. They're not here anymore – that's for sure."
"'K. Sa- Carter? Teal'c? Daniel?"
"Afternoon sleepy head...sir." Sam said cheekily, grinning from ear to ear, "We're all fine colonel...Well...actually Daniel is choking with laughter out in the corridor and Teal'c's with him." Sam added. She leaned closer to Jack and whispered, "He's probably performing the Heimlich manoeuvre on Daniel right now." Jack smiled faintly at her comment – his ribs unwilling to allow any sort of strenuous breathing just yet. He was about to ask where he was – he was cold, having only the lower half of his body covered by a thin sheet to allow easy access to his chest if he needed defibrillating or a chest drain - when it occurred to him that there was an incessantly, annoying beeping sound in the room and the uncomfortable feeling of a catheter.
Oh boy! This is definitely the infirmary.
"What happened to Apophis?" He asked.
"Janet stabbed him in the neck and the Jaffa took off. They went back through the gate and took Apophis with them."
"Unfortunately, I took a staff blast in the back but it was enough for him to release his hold on you Colonel O'Neill." Janet explained.
"You...? I mean..." Jack stuttered – his mouth was as dry as a desert. Sam reached over and fed him an ice-cube. "...Thanks...Janet." He managed after melting the ice. Both Sam and Janet were shocked by O'Neill's response. "Are you sure you're alright sir?" The minutes of silence which followed Sam's comment allowed Jack to catalogue his injuries. Sam watched her commanding officer as he contemplated. She had found herself doing this more and more often, recently – they shared a tent off-world and SG-1 held a bedside vigil every time one of them was in the infirmary for serious reasons. She enjoyed it – it was relaxing.
Head-to-foot what've I got myself in to now? Concussion again, a broken nose.
Jack shifted slightly in the bed – he was lying almost flat with only one pillow under his head – and winced as dull pain drifted in to his drug-addled brain, glad of the dimmed light to cover his reaction.
Crap, that shoulder's definitely been dislocated – at least once tod---
"How long was I out Captain?" Jack asked suddenly, breaking from his analysis.
"Well I woke up two days ago. I had surgery on my back to remove some of the fabric melted in to it a few days before that – to prevent it getting infected and causing possible paralysis, apparently. The day before that, they were stabilising us. It must be about a week then colonel."
"Oh." Jack fell silent again and closed his eyes, intending to continue assessing his injuries but was immediately asleep. Sam was shocked by her friend's bluntness about her injuries but then she was a doctor. She watched Jack's awkward breathing and inwardly cringed each time it caught - his chest bandaged as it was. Daniel reappeared at the door, his cheeks still reddened, "Teal'c went to the commissary to get something to eat." Seeing Jack was unconscious again, he glanced to Janet, "Shall I call the doctor?"
"No Daniel, it's alright. He'll be like this for a while. Anyway, I can get the doctor from here." Janet chuckled, raising the call button to illustrate her point.
Jack woke up slowly, taking in his surroundings. Jack raised his head off the pillow slightly to get a better look at his injuries; his right arm was in a thick white cast half way up his upper arm and hoisted above his chest to stop it lying on his ribs; there was a white protrusion from the end of the cast where his fingers should have been; at his knees, there was a bump in the sheet covering his legs.
Hmm broken fingers. Crap. Must've twisted it. Jeez I'm gonna need a whole lot of physio.
Jack sighed loudly. His breathing hitched when there was a rustling sound from the next cubicle and the curtain was yanked open. "Well colonel, how are we today?" The doctor on shift asked as he swept up to Jack's bed and seized his wrist roughly. If he had not felt so exhausted and fuzzy from the drugs (and been able to sit up) Jack would have punched the rude man squarely on the nose. Instead he was forced to endure the doctor's unpleasant, and sometimes painful, examination and endless questioning.
Where's ol' Doc Frasier?
Jack used his peripheral vision to scour the room – not trusting this other doctor not to stick him with needles the moment he turned away – and found Janet sleeping peacefully on her side in the next bed. Jack cursed himself – how could he forget that this woman, who had done so much for him recently, had fatally wounded Apophis and taken a staff blast just to save his life.
Eventually the grumpy doctor had finished poking, prodding and pissing Col. O'Neill off and left him alone with only slightly upped morphine and the head of the bed raised a few inches. "Napoleonic power monger." Jack grumbled as loudly as he could after the doctor. "Glad to hear you've got your sense of humour back colonel." Janet smirked. Jack shifted to face her more easily,
"You're welcome colonel. Glad to hear I'm not the only "Napoleonic power monger" around!"
"Yeah..." Jack's eyelids drooped and suddenly he could no longer stay awake. He drifted into an uneventful sleep.
"So when shall we tell him?"
"Tell me what Daniel?" Jack asked innocently, despite having listened to the entire conversation while feigning sleep. "Daniel Jackson wishes to know when we shall tell you what ensued while you were under Apophis' mind control and what occurred after your ensuing unconsciousness." Teal'c explained. The room's occupants took it in turns to relate their part of the story; General Hammond first; then Sam, Daniel, Teal'c and Sergeant Siler – he was being treated for another injury from some task or experiment.
The damage to Apophis' host was almost certainly fatal and, without a sarcophagus to heal, the damage to the symbiote was equally so. The Jaffa knew this. They ignored their captives and the advancing group of SGC personnel lead by Hammond. They fled into the tunnel, taking the big general by surprise, towards the Stargate. General Hammond waved the soldiers to follow them, before rushing to SG-1. The nurses that had been in the group with the base commander hurried along behind him to the pocket of USAF employees who either lay or kneeled on the tarmac, still too shocked by Janet's kamikaze attack to move or even speak.
"Captain Carter? Are you alright?" General Hammond asked. Sam was staring at Janet's smouldering back. Hammond gently lifted her to her feet, "Captain?" At the sound of her name, Sam jolted. She was instantly beside Colonel O'Neill. His hair was sleeked with sweat and blood which ran down onto his face. Jack's eyes were shut and there was no motion in his chest, as Sam groped for a pulse in his neck. "Oh God, colonel, please, wake up!" Sam felt tears forming in her eyes but forced herself to focus – there was no pulse, no faint, irregular pulse. Nothing.
Please, Jack! Come on! Apophis is gone!
Her brain finally kicked into gear, as Teal'c joined her by Colonel O'Neill's side. "Captain Carter, how may I assist?" The concern was apparent in the, usually impassive, rebel Jaffa's voice.
"Erm...He's not breathing Teal'c." She waved a hand absentmindedly towards the cuts criss-crossing Jack's body. "He looks to be losing a lot of blood. Put pressure on the wounds, while I start CPR." She instructed, her Air Force training kicking in. Teal'c merely nodded grimly in concurrence; duly pressing his large hands over the most severe of O'Neill's bleeding injuries. Sam cautiously placed her hands on Colonel O'Neill's chest, not knowing quite why she took so much care when O'Neill was dead, technically.
I hope this doesn't break any ribs.
She realised how completely irrelevant that thought was, when she glanced the unusual lumps raised on Jack's torso – he had already broken several of them. Sam took a deep breath, reminded herself of her task and then started.
With each compression, Sam hissed out the number she was on.
She took another breath, pinched Jack's nose close (quite difficult to do with it being so badly broken), tilted his head back gently and checked there was nothing obstructing the airway. She leant down and breathed for Jack, twice, not caring that his blood was being transferred to her.
This is certainly not something I envisaged when I signed up.
Sam sat back on her heels and felt for a pulse again. Nothing. She felt despair rising in her chest but forced it away and began the unenviable task again. Teal'c, who had been avoiding Sam's gaze, looked up and was surprised to find fresh tears welling in her eyes. He raised one eyebrow and then went back to maintaining pressure over O'Neill's wounds.
The army of Jaffa fled through the maze of tunnels and arrived at the 'gate room. Hot on their heels were the uninjured members of the pursuing party but even they could not have prevented the Jaffa's escape – the Jaffa were desperate to get their injured "god" back to a sarcophagus, having not brought one with them. There was a brief firefight, in which no-one was injured, that was over almost as soon as the final chevron engaged and the sound of the "Kawoosh" as the Stargate opened resounded through the corridors. Although the red flashing beacons still lit the grey halls, the wailing siren had long since been turned off. Finally, when Siler had navigated his way to the control switch, the halls ceased to alternate annoyingly between gray and red. A cheer went up, praising Siler for his swift thinking.
The security teams remained on guard at the 'gate, the rest split into different teams: some gathered food and water from the commissary and distributed fairly it between the other personnel; some staggered into the infirmary, found a bed to lie on and fell asleep – or unconscious, waiting for nurses and doctors to help them; the scientists returned to their labs and ran soothing diagnostics on all their equipment. A few stole those gurneys, monitors attached, not being slept on and made their way to the surface with plenty of medical supplies – they were the ones who knew that - if they ever needed it - Colonel O'Neill and the rest of SG-1 would be more than likely to do the same for the other teams.
Daniel was still kneeling, trying to block out the nauseous sights that surrounded him, when Sam finished the second cycle of CPR. He could only kneel, dumbstruck and sickened, his eyes flitting between the dying and unconscious Janet and the body that Sam was currently trying desperately to resuscitate.
Oh God, Janet!
Daniel couldn't help but stare at the horrific, smouldering mess of her burnt back. Immediately, he wished to tear his eyes from such a sight but couldn't. The sight alone sent shivers down his spine and set his stomach writhing.
Deep breaths...Deep breaths.
He forced himself to turn away from one friend only to look upon another, refusing to come back to life – even with Sam's help.
Crap Jack, you look a mess...maybe I should help.
And yet Daniel could not shake himself from the trance. "Daniel! Don't just sit there!" Sam yelled whilst compressing Jack's chest. When he failed to respond, Sam screamed at him, "DANIEL! MOVE, GO HELP JANET!"
"What?!" Daniel finally grasped what was happening and leapt from his feet, rushing over to her, "What can I do?" As Sam looked up at him, Daniel, for the first time, noticed the tears streaming down her pale face. Sam could barely control her anger at her friend's inactivity, as she shooed Daniel away from Jack, "Go help Janet!" Daniel was taken aback by the aggression in Sam's voice and that it was directed at him and momentarily stood over Colonel O'Neill, reeling. He stumbled towards the fog of nurses who had engulfed Janet, still feeling sick. Daniel discovered that the nurses also did not appreciate his presence and went to stand at the side to watch.
General Hammond had also had much the same experiences as Dr. Jackson. Seeing the young man standing with his arms wrapped around himself as he, despondently, watched the attempts to sustain the lives of his friends, Hammond walked over and put a weathered hand on the man's shoulder, "Jack's a stubborn man – the most stubborn man I've ever met, in fact – he'll pull through, son." Daniel had a hard time believing the general's comforting words (General Hammond did not believe them himself) but they gave him hope, nonetheless. As if to offer reassurance to the two men, the sound of gurneys being wheeled across the tarmac interrupted their worried silence.
Jack and Janet were wheeled urgently down to the infirmary where they were mobbed by a crowd of doctors, nurses and concerned onlookers. Sam, Daniel, Teal'c and General Hammond watched intensely as the medics set about trying to maintain Janet's life and restart Colonel O'Neill's. They could not tear their eyes away as Jack was shocked by the defibrillator repeated. Nor as a chest drain was inserted to re-inflate his collapsed lung. Nor could they look away as a plastic tube was shoved forcefully down his throat. Equally they could not look away as doctors began peeling melted fabric from Janet's back – until a thoughtful nurse closed the curtain, blocking their view. Daniel went out to vomit in the corridor; Sam felt much the same way although her military training helped subdue the nausea (slightly). Teal'c stood stoically next to General Hammond as Jack's heart was finally restarted – the emotions he felt were solely visible to those who knew him best...and one of them was lying on the gurney in front of him.
"Wow Carter! You really gave me the kiss of life?" Jack beamed, staring at Sam with his big brown eyes as her checks flushed deep red. "Indeed she did Colonel O'Neill." The group laughed at Teal'c's comment – it was obvious from Sam's reaction.
"Doc! When can I get out of here? I'm bored outta my skull, for cryin' out loud!" Jack complained to Janet for the hundredth time even though she was not even treating him. "Colonel O'Neill...Shut up!" She laughed at Jack's startled reaction and turned to Sam, "I never knew he was so annoying for other patients – I thought it only annoyed my nurses and me!"
"Insubordination! I want charges brought up!" Jack exclaimed jokingly. His outcry caused him to spasm into painful coughing fits as his shallow breathing desperately tried to replace the air lost. When he had finished, Sam was standing next to his bed, loosely holding his good hand. He pulled her towards him and whispered in her ear, "Thanks Sam."
"It was a pleasure Jack. Just...don't do it again." She leaned away from Jack and smiled. Jack smiled happily back – pulling at the many stitches in his face but he didn't care. He kept smiling until eventually he fell asleep and his features smoothed. Sam sat next to his bed and held his hand – the others left them in peace.
Thanks for reading. Please tell me what you think.