Disclaimer: I own absolutely nothing. This is for fun, no money was made, etc.
Author's note: This is a little different for me, a rare personal indulgence. I'm at home with a painful knee injury, off work for a month and bored to death. On the upside, I have watched 3 seasons of Stargate in a week. The episode "Off the Grid" particularly made me smile, because it gave me the opportunity to mess with Mitchell's head some. It would be a horrible place to be, but a lot of fun to write. Forgive my sadistic indulgence and overlook if I made him a little out of character. This was written for the sole purpose of making me feel better, and maybe there's someone out there having a bad day that would enjoy this. If you like it, please review. If you don't like it, just chalk it up to too much Tylenol 3.
This was just great. Abso-friggin'-lutely perfect…
Cam Mitchell had long ago accepted that there were consequences for his brash, reckless, impetuous nature. He had learned that he would occasionally have to suffer those consequences and hadn't tried to shirk the responsibility for them since he was ten years old. And he was willing to do just that, accept the responsibility for his crazy stunt and endure whatever punishment was necessary to make amends. But to sit here, tied to this bench watching as his team was beaten because he had pissed off some low-level alien-heroin-corn dealer was more than he could take.
He could only struggle uselessly at his bonds and watched as they worked his people over. He might have been the new guy, but still… This was his crew, the team he had hero-worshipped for so long, the promise of joining them being the only thing keeping him alive in the long days after Antarctica. He already felt so close to them, and now they were in pain because he did something stupid. He wondered if it was some instinctual thing or if he was really that easy to read, because these bastards knew exactly how to hurt him. For every blow landing on him, three or more connected with Jackson's stomach or Sam's face, or Teal'c's chest. Each. They wanted him to watch, to feel every strike, every barely contained sound of pain.
Not that his team wasn't doing awesome. They hadn't flinched, hadn't broken. He almost grinned. This was SG-1, the A-team, and he, Cam Mitchell, was leading them. In a moment that, from the outside would make any commander proud. His crew being tortured and showing no signs of breaking. But that was where it ended. The idea of his team standing up under torture was a lot more appealing than watching the blood drip down Sam's face, or watching Jackson work his jaw back into place simply by moving it after a particularly vicious backhand had knocked his head to the side so far his neck had popped. The sound had seemed deafening in close proximity to Cam's ear and he was sure the archeologist's neck had snapped. But other than Sam's occasional attempts at reason, and Jackson making sarcastic comments that showed he had definitely spent too much time around Jack O'Neill, they kept silent. Cam was proud. But it was also ripping into his guts the way no physical blow could do. He had done this. It was his fault. He might as well be throwing the punches himself.
"For what it's worth, guys, I'm sorry I dragged you into this." He didn't deserve their forgiveness, didn't really even want that absolution, but they needed to know that he was sorry.
"Don't worry," Jackson quipped back, way too lightly for the situation. "It happens all the time."
Yes. It happened all the time. This was SG-1! They were always the ones captured, zatted, tortured with ribbon devices, acid, psychotropic drugs that make them relive their worst memories, and other assorted things he couldn't begin to imagine, things that made his ordeal in Antarctica seem like a fraternity initiation. He had read mission reports and sat in his hospital bed and simply shuddered at all of it. Compared to that a simple beating had to be a welcome break. Cam should have been able to take some comfort in that, at least.
But he couldn't. It didn't matter that they had been through worse, because he hadn't been there. He couldn't have helped. He didn't cause it. The reality was this: This was SG-1, the most valued team on Earth. Daniel Jackson, the world's most brilliant linguist and the man who single-handedly opened the Stargate. Samantha Carter, and equally brilliant astrophysicist and the main reason the 'gate was still able to function considering the number of morons like him that fiddled with it every day. Teal'c, the one who freed all Jaffa, it seemed out of sheer force of will. And him, Lieutenant Colonel Mitchell, entrusted to protect them. And apparently he was doing a bang-up job of it…
A strangled wheeze escaped from Jackson as their assailant drilled an uppercut directly to his solar plexus, and it took him almost six seconds to breathe again. It took Cam just as long. He met his teammate's eyes and allowed every bit of misery he kept hidden when facing forward to be seen, allowing Jackson to see just how sorry he really was. Cool blue eyes met his back, understanding.
Sam's head cracked into the side of his as the punch to her jaw rocked her world. She pulled her gaze away from him quickly, undoubtedly trying to keep him from seeing the pain on her face, and that stung some. A lot, actually.
Teal'c remained stoic and soundless, but after hours of this, he was beginning to show signs of wear. His head dropped some, staring at the ground instead of trying to bore his hatred into their enemies. He was rolling with punches now instead of trying to remain a solid wall.
Cam however wasn't faring so well. This was bad, this was his one weakness. He could stand up to anything, take any kind of pain you threw at him with a wince and a bad joke. He could handle a beating, even one lasting several hours like this one, if he was left to take it himself. But watching others, his team, his friends take the punishment for his rash act was more than he could take.
But there was nothing he could do. Even if he had information they wanted, he couldn't just give it up because some space-thugs found a chink in his armor. He couldn't fight; his wrists were coated with blood from struggling against the ropes holding him and they were as thick as three of his fingers. There would be no breaking loose. A fist to the gut drove all the air from his lungs but that did nothing compared to the wave of agony Sam's low (almost inaudible) moan sent through him. Something had to give, and soon. He couldn't take much more of this, and he wasn't sure his people could either.
He almost managed to tune out for a moment, when he heard the worlds that chilled him to his very soul. "Save Mr. Shaft for last. I want him to watch the other die first!" No. Absolutely not. He could barely take seeing them in pain, watching them all three die… There was nothing worse you could do to a military officer. Making him watch while you kill everyone in his unit with him last… It was like something from a bad movie, the kind that would give him nightmares that he would invariably blame on eating pizza too late. Well, bad movies at least had bad dialogue to borrow from…
"The other three had nothing to do with this! I'm the leader of the coalition, and they-" Words failed him when there sere suddenly several guns pointed at his team. This was it. He had failed. He had failed SG-1, he had failed Stargate command, he had failed General O'Neill and General Landry, he had pretty much failed the universe as a whole. He squeezed his eyes shut, unwilling to watch. "Wait, I-!"
Then he staggered as his feet hit solid ground and he was no longer on a bench. Opening his eyes, Cam was shocked to see the inside of a ship around them. Sam, Daniel, and Teal'c were beside him, equally stunned, when a man in SGC uniform stepped forward. "SG-1, welcome aboard the Odyssey."
Cam's knees went weak with relief and he almost collapsed. As relief flooded him, he had two choices. He could feel tears of relief welling up, so he had to do something else fast, something to distract him. Grinning, he saw just the target and elbowed Jackson in the side (gently, aware the man probably had rib fractures). "How do you like that timing, Jackson?"
Another relieved grin met his. "That's good timing!"