The Secret Lives of Pandas

Chapter One

It was raining, it rained here a lot, every day, around the same time of day. Jack hadn't decided yet if the rain was a good thing or not. Death would come a lot quicker if it wasn't for the rain. Again he didn't know if that was a good thing or not. Listening to the daily rain starting he looked down at the delicate woman in his lap. He had never thought of her as 'delicate' before, if anything he had always felt she was tougher than he was in just about any walk of life. Right now, however, she wasn't just delicate: she was fragile. Anytime Jack was forced to move he did so in slow motion to keep from breaking her any further. Along with the physical injures, she was also battling an infection that was ravaging her whole body.

I should kill her, it would be so easy.

Jack had this thought more and more often as the days passed by. As Sam grew weaker he knew that he wouldn't even have to do something as violent as breaking her neck. He could just hold his hand tightly over her mouth for a few minutes and it would be over...for her at least. Jack tried to rationalize that at this point she wouldn't even notice the suffocation, any struggle would be purely from her nervous system automatically reacting. However, whenever he got the courage to try she always seemed to know and would look up at him and tried to smile. Suddenly ending her life wasn't as easy as it seemed in his head. She had her eyes closed now, but failing once again at putting her out of his misery Jack just softly traced his fingertips across Sam's stained cheek.

It took a few moments for Sam to surface at his touch. Fluttering her eyes open she looked around vacantly until she focused on Jack looking down at her. For a brief moment the strong woman he knew was back. Sam's eyes glittered with recognition and even if her lips didn't have the energy to move her aqua eyes still managed to smile.

Jack bit down on his tongue to keep himself from spilling tears. He had been forcing a positive outlook the entire time for both of their sakes. If he admitted in anyway that they were going to die far from home it would break them both. Despite the feverish heat that radiated from Sam's body, and the sweat that dripped from her skin she suddenly shivered.


Sam nodded.

"Might I suggest the sparkling rain water? It one of the most popular items on our menu, collected fresh daily."

Sam chuckled silently giving Jack the strength to smile as well. Reaching through the near by bars Jack took a hold of the small metal dish that had been sitting out in the afternoon rain. They had a roof over their heads, but three sides of their small prison were exposed to the open air. The final wall was solid rock with a small, and very locked, metal door. Jack was leaning against the solid wall in the back corner where it met with the row of thick bars. Sam was laying with her head in his lap parallel to the wall to keep her as shielded from the elements as possible.

In order to drink anything Sam was going to have to sit up, and as it was she had already fallen back asleep. After a moment of indecision Jack drank half of the water he had collected himself. After making sure Sam was sleeping he picked up a small piece of glass that was laying on the stone floor next to him. The glass wasn't large enough or sharp enough to do any real damage. However with effort he could slice open the skin on the underside of his forearm. Jack's arms were now criss crossed with old and fresh cut marks. He decided to open an old one rather than add to the collection today. When the crimson flow started he tilted his arm down so that the blood ran off his little finger and into the half full bowl of water.

Jack's thin blood had trouble clotting allowing him to let it drip into the container for nearly half an hour. The result was a transparent red soup. When the bleeding did come to a slow stop Jack licked the remaining blood off his own hand. Giving Sam a gentle nudge he brought her back to their grim reality. Not really focused but willing to follow his cues she struggled to sit up, relying heavily on Jack's assistance. He got her upright enough to be able to drink without drowning. With her eyes closed from exhaustion Sam didn't see the sickly hue of the drink being offered. Jack brought the bowl to her lips and tiled her head back. Sam swallowed convulsively and choked against the concoction. She hated the taste, she hated the reasons for the metallic sting even more.

"Please...stop..." Sam whimpered.

"Just drink it, the damage is already done." Jack replied sadly. "No sense in wasting it now."

Finishing the gory meal Sam gasped for breath. She ground her teeth together to keep from being sick. Jack settled her back down and tried to help her get back to sleep, however, the blood always seemed to bring her around and she refused to slip back into unconsciousness. Jack moved her so that she was laying parallel to the bars and pulled her left arm out of her light weight SG-1 jacket.

It was still raining and Jack helped Sam thread her arm out of the bars so that the water would strike her salty skin. Reaching through the bars himself he gently massaged off the dirt and sweat in the cooling clean rain. Coming to her hand he rubbed little circles in her palms with his thumbs. Sam moaned quietly, enjoying the soothing contact and the clean feeling.

Repositioning Sam so that he could place her other arm out into the storm Jack repeated the treatment. He'd taken his own jacket off long ago, not needing it on the hot humid planet. He'd placed it out in the rain when the clouds had first gathered so that now it was as clean as it was going to be. Pulling the soaking cloth into the bars he used it to clean Sam's face and neck. It wasn't as good as a shower, but it made her feel worlds better.

"Thank you." Sam whispered.

"We'll get you into a hot bath and a soft bed soon."

Sam smiled and nodded even though she knew it was a lie. Jack put the jacket back out into the rain so he could use it to clean himself later. Making Sam as comfortable as possible Jack put his hand on her stomach so that she could reach up and hold on to it. He ran the index finger of his free hand down the bridge of her nose, barely making contact with the skin. The soft touch never failed to relax her. Sam settled in and sighed in what was almost contentment. Listening to the rain beating on the top of the enclosure Jack found an odd kind of peace.

There was no one here to torture them, no one who wanted any information or ransom. There were no smug Goa'uld System Lords gloating over their capture or ranting on about how pathetic they were. No one had mistaken them for gods or demons for that matter. They had been asked no questions, they had given no lies.

The real problem was the simple fact that there was no one here.

Jack stared out of the bars across the way to another suffering soul. The large canine like creature was pacing back and forth by his bars, his exposed ribs caused his sides to have a ridged appearance. The spine of the beast made his back to look like he had spikes beneath his greasy fur. Beside the dog's cage was a horse with scales instead of fur that had already succumb and was rotting in the dirt. It had been secured to a post with a heavy chain that gave it about ten feet to move in any direction when it still lived. All of the grass around him had long since eaten away. Jack didn't bother looking around at the rest, they were all in a similar state. The air used to be alive with the sounds of the others, but for the most part things were quiet now. Abandoned by their captors the stench of decay permeated the humid air.

Abandoned by their care takers and unable to escape their cages they were all slowly starving to death.