Broken Wings, by TracyT
See disclaimer in Part 1
Sam was staring out the window of the transport plane, surrounded by the roar and vibration of the plane's engines, when a Styrofoam cup appeared in her line of vision. She looked up to see Daniel silently holding an offering of coffee, and took it from him with a small smile. "Thanks."
He took the seat next to her and put a hand on her arm. "Sam," he had to nearly shout to be heard. "Are you sure about this?"
"I thought you wanted me to come back."
"I, I do, it's just if you're not ready…"
Sam got a determined look on her face. "I have to see Jack. He took care of me all that time, I'm going to take care of him now."
Daniel looked at her silently, then nodded. "Okay. Just remember we're here for you. Whatever you need."
Sam covered Daniel's hand with her own. "Thanks, Daniel. I know you have my back."
Daniel smiled and took a sip of his coffee, then glanced at his watch. "Shouldn't be too much longer before we land."
"Daniel, tell me something."
Daniel looked indulgent. "Anything."
"What was the mission?"
Daniel sat up quickly, sloshing his coffee. He wiped at his shirt with a cocktail napkin. "Uh, anything but that."
"Why? What's so secret I can't know?"
Daniel stopped wiping and looked into Sam's eyes. Then he sighed. "Oookay. Jack will kill me, but you're bound to find out anyway." Sam gave him an encouraging look, and his eyes danced away from hers, fixating on the window. "It was Ba'al. Jack called me about a month back and asked me to let him know when we'd found Ba'al. Well, one of him, anyway. It's so hard to tell them all apart."
Sam pursed her lips tightly. "I knew it. I knew he was doing some damned 'way of the warrior' revenge thing for me."
Daniel smirked. "Is that at all like a 'damned Jaffa revenge thing?'"
Sam returned the smirk. "As it turns out, very similar.."
"Don't be too angry at him, Sam, he almost got himself killed."
"And that's what makes me so angry. I almost lost him because of this."
Daniel patted her hand. "Well, Dr. Lam says he's going to be fine, but he took a pretty good hit. If it's any consolation, he gave as good as he got."
"What do you mean?"
Daniel gave her a dry smile. "One Ba'al down, about a gajillion to go."
"You got him?" Sam was astounded.
Daniel shrugged. "For what it's worth. We don't know if this is the one who attacked you, or just one of the crowd, but yeah, we got him. Right before one of his Jaffa got Jack. I'm afraid Jack let himself get a little distracted this time, and he didn't see the Jaffa until it was too late."
"He and Ba'al decided to trade insults." Daniel waved a hand. "All very dramatic. The Ba'al in question decided to taunt Jack about what he, or one of his copies, had done to you, and Jack grabbed a staff weapon from a dead Jaffa and said, 'This is for Sam, expletive, expletive.' Then he shot him. It wasn't pretty. Then a very live Jaffa snuck in behind us and got Jack. Teal'c took him out."
"My God, Daniel, you all took such a risk. I could have lost all of you." She squeezed him arm tightly.
"Well, as luck would have it, we're fine. Well, all but Jack, that is. He's currently so grouchy half the nursing staff refuse to tend to him, and Dr. Lam has threatened him with either a large hypodermic needle or a daily enema--or both."
Sam grinned. "So, he's getting better, then?"
"Oh yeah, I'd say so."
It was strange being back in the mountain. As they reached the first check point, the SF's on duty came to attention and saluted her. "Welcome back, Major Carter. If I may say so, it's good to see you."
Sam returned the salute and smiled. "Thank you, airman. It's good to be back." And it was. She found she'd missed the sounds sights and smells of the place. Missed the familiar faces she saw as she headed for the infirmary with Daniel.
As they reached the infirmary level the doors slid open to reveal General Hammond, beaming at her. "Major Carter," he said softly and simply.
"General Hammond," without hesitation she gave him a hug, which he returned with interest.
"We've missed you around here, Major. Your father has been asking about you."
With a pang of guilt she thought of her dad. She hadn't even thought to contact him since all this began. "Is there a way I could talk to him while I'm here, sir?"
Hammond gave her a short nod. "I'll arrange it. Jacob would never forgive me if I didn't."
Sam felt relieved. "Thank you, sir."
"Don't mention it, Major. "I'll let you go see Colonel O'Neill now. I don't hear any commotion from that quarter, so he may be asleep." With a wink he put a hand on her shoulder briefly and headed back toward the control room.
Sam peered quietly around the curtain. Jack was indeed asleep. His shoulder was heavily bandaged, and an intravenous drip was attached to his arm. She gave Daniel a glance and he jerked his head toward Jack, indicating it was okay to go to him. She went to his side and gently brushed his hair back from his brow.
Without opening his eyes, Jack murmured, "Too many cinnamon rolls, too many curly fries. I would have been faster on my feet if I wasn't weighed down by junk food."
Sam grinned and gave him a peck on the forehead. He opened his eyes. "Which wouldn't have been a problem if you hadn't gone tilting at my windmills, you know." She said softly.
Jack frowned. "Daniel told you? Daniel!" Daniel held his hands up and started to back away. Sam intervened. "Don't blame Daniel. General Hammond would have told me if he hadn't. Someone would have told me, and I would have come looking for answers if Daniel hadn't come to get me."
Jack gave Daniel a look. "You went and GOT her? Have you heard of a telephone?"
Daniel shrugged. "I didn't think this was news that should come over the telephone, so I made a little trip." When Jack opened his mouth to reply, Daniel raised a hand and wiggled his fingers. "Well, I'll leave you two alone. Bye!" And he was gone.
"Coward!" Jack shouted.
Jack sighed and it seemed he braced himself before looking into her eyes. "You gonna yell at me?"
Sam huffed out a laugh. "I do not yell. Scold maybe, but not yell."
"Well, okay, then. As long as you don't yell." He reached over and covered her hand with his. "How you been, Sam?"
"Well, good, except for missing you. The place isn't the same without you. I'm not the same without you."
Jack leaned up and kissed her softly. "Well, thanks, that's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me, I think."
Sam stroked his hair back again. "It's true. Aggie and the dogs miss you, too."
"I'll be back as soon as Doc Lam springs me from here. Have I missed 'Grease' yet?"
"Yep. Three days ago."
"D'oh. Did you go?"
Sam shook her head. "Nope. Didn't feel like it if you weren't there."
Just then the curtain was pulled back and Dr. Lam appeared. "Major Carter." She smiled. "I thought it was unusually quiet over here." Jack grimaced. "I'm afraid you're visit is going to have to be a bit short tonight. I gave the Colonel a large dose of morphine just before you arrived, and it should be taking effect any time now."
Jack raised a hand. "Gettin' that floaty feeling already, doc."
Sam took Jack's hand in hers. "I'll just stay until he goes to sleep, okay?"
Dr. Lam nodded. "Fine. Anything to keep him quiet." With a pointed look at Jack she disappeared back behind the curtain.
Sam grinned at him. "I hear you're not being the most cooperative patient."
"Who? Me?" Jack's voice was just a bit slurred, and his eyelids were heavy. "I'm a cream puff around here."
Sam snorted. "That's not what the nurses say. They've all gone to General Hammond and demanded combat pay."
It was Jack's turn to snort, but he didn't respond, he just looked very drowsy. Sam got up and kissed him softly on the lips. "I love you, you know."
"Yeah," Jack's voice was faint. "Lubyoutoo," and then he was out.
Sam woke up in a panic. She'd dreamt of Ba'al again for the first time in a long time. Dreamt of being pinned to his spider web, and then she'd awakened in pure, suffocating darkness. She fumbled for the lamp beside the bed, but knocked the alarm clock and glass of water onto the floor before she managed to get it lit.
She was in her base quarters, and her heart was beating so hard it was as if it was trying to escape her chest. She was suffocating, couldn't think, and without thought she got up and stumbled for the door with only one goal in mind. She had to get to Jack.
Luckily she encountered no one on her way to the infirmary, but the nurse on duty rose from her desk as Sam entered in her pajamas. "Major Carter? Can I help you?" Sam ignored her and headed right for Jack's bed. She pulled back the curtain, and went to his side, but he was asleep. She wiped a tear away, and stood looking down at him, not wanting to disturb him, but needing him so badly it hurt.
A while later Sam awoke to someone stroking her hair. She'd pulled a chair up to Jack's bed and lay her head on his stomach. It was so comforting she must have fallen asleep soon after. She raised her head and looked into Jack's eyes.
"Bad dream?" His voice was husky. Sam nodded. Jack pulled back the covers to invite Sam to join him. "You'll be more comfortable here." Sam crawled in beside him and lay with her head on his chest on the uninjured side. She sighed. "I missed this."
Jack kissed the top of her head. "Me, too." He kissed the top of her head. "Thanks for taking the risk to come back here just to check on me. I know what it means to you."
"Always," Sam murmured.
In minutes they were both asleep again.
A little while later, General Hammond entered the infirmary at the duty nurse's request. She showed him the couple sleeping in the hospital bed with a look that said she demanded he do something. Hammond sighed and closed his eyes for a moment. "Leave them be for now. We'll deal with this in the morning." When the nurse looked dubious, he added, "That's an order, nurse."
Sam woke up to the sound of the day shift arriving for work. Jack was sleeping very soundly, so she carefully removed his arm from around her, and slowly got out of the bed. He didn't stir. She peeked around the curtain, glad that no one was in sight, and scurried back to her quarters, encountering only Walter, on his way in. The unflappable corporal, just saluted her with his coffee cup, told her it was good to see her again, and headed on down the hallway, for which Sam was unutterably grateful.
After she took her shower and dressed she went back to check on Jack, but he was still sleeping, so she wandered down to the lab. Dr. Lee and Dr. Felger were hard at work on something, and judging from their stubbly faces, they'd been at it all night. They greeted her warmly, though, and immediately wanted to show her the artifact SG-13 had brought back from P4X-555.
"It's, well, it's supposed to be a power source of some kind," Dr. Lee explained. "Or maybe a weapon, we're not sure.' He handed her what looked like a large, green crystal carved with some kind of ancient writing. "SG-13 says the natives claim it puts off a glow that mows down invading armies that threaten them, and during peaceful times they used it for heat and light for homes, but we can't get it to do a darn thing."
Sam examined it closely. "Why did the natives allow SG-13 to take this with them? Don't they need it?"
"Uh, it's sort of a spare." Felger said. "Apparently these crystals grow like, well, weeds in the caves on the planet. Only the natives know about it."
Sam turned it over. "Was it on any kind of a base when it was working?"
"Yes," Dr. Lee answered. "But we believe the base was largely ceremonial. Honoring the gods who provide the crystals, stuff like that."
"Hmmm, I don't know. Remember the Crystal Skull?"
"You mean the one that was like the one Daniel's grandfather found in Belize? The one Rothman thought was just a hunk of glass?" Felger snorted.
"Actually, in a way, I agree with Dr. Rothman's assessment."
Both Felger and Lee first looked astounded, then disgusted. "You think it's a paper weight?" Lee said.
Sam grinned. "Well, no, actually, I think it's a light bulb."
Both men snorted. "Get out," Felger chuckled.
"No, really. Think about it. You're an alien. You come to this planet and happen to find a light bulb burning in a floor stand. You're amazed. You don't have anything like this on your planet, so you want to take this wonderful light source home with you. Somehow you manage to get it unscrewed from the base…"
"Without burning your fingers," Felger interjected. Sam grinned.
"Right . Without burning your fingers, and you take it back to your planet. But once you get back, you can't get the darn thing to work. You put your best scientists on it, but the light bulb won't light. Why not?"
"Well, you'd need a power source for it that would….Oh. I get it." Lee plucked the crystal from Sam's hand and hurried off. Felger just stood there looking at her.
"I don't get it."
Sam cocked her head to the side. "Felger, no lamp, no light. You gotta plug it in." She saw the understanding break though. His face brightened. "Oh. Oh." He mumbled something incoherent and hurried off after Dr. Lee, a huge grin on his face.
Feeling suddenly very pleased with herself, Sam decided she would join Daniel and Teal'c for breakfast in the commissary.
A few days later Jack awoke to find Sam sitting in the chair next to his bed, totally unaware of him. She had a worried look on her face, and he could almost hear the wheels turning inside her head.
"Hey," he said softly. Sam immediately turned toward him.
"Hey yourself. Sleep well?"
"Yeah, but all that thinking woke me up."
Jack gestured toward her. "All those wheels and gears turning in your head made such a racket they woke me up. What's up?" His concern grew when she looked away from him. He grabbed her hand, garnering her attention again.
"C'mon, spill, what are you thinking so hard about?"
Sam sighed. "It's just…I'm not sure…"
"Sam, you're not going to lose me, lose what we had, if you decide you want to come back." Sam gave him a surprised look. "Are you amazed at my awesome psychic powers?" He grinned.
"How did you know?" She was clearly bewildered.
"Because, I've had the same thoughts and I'm way ahead of you."
"Yeah, I've been getting reports about you puttering around your lab, bossing the other scientists around, you know, just for fun."
Sam's mouth dropped open. "I do not."
"Okay, whatever you want to call it, but you're getting back into the swing of things again, am I right?"
Sam almost looked embarrassed. "Well, yeah."
"So, I'm going to have a talk with Hammond. What we have is too important to end, and I'm going to call in a few markers from saving the world a half dozen times or so and see what we can arrange, okay?"
Sam looked very relieved, then a shadow crossed her face again. Jack squeezed her hand. "What?"
"Do you…does Ba'al lose if I come back here?"
"Oh, Ba'al loses big-time if you come back, and he loses more if you and I continue our relationship. I'd say he'd be so far down he'd have to look up to see the gutter, you know?"
Sam squeezed Jack's hand back and grinned. "Okay, then." The smile faded from her face. Jack made a sound of frustration. "What now?"
"It's just…Aggie, Abner, the dogs, our little place." She looked distressed.
Jack's smile faded, too. "Yeah. I know. It was pretty great, wasn't it? I'll talk to Aggie. Maybe she'll let us come back now and then and stay in the guest house, you know, like a time-share or something. Would that let us have our cake and eat it, too?"
Sam smiled but it was a little sad. "Yeah, but it won't be the same."
"I know, but it will still be good, right?"
Sam kissed the back of Jack's hand and nodded.
A week and a half later Sam returned from her walk on the beach with the dogs. As she got to the top step she smiled. The sound of Deep Purple singing "Hush" was pounding out of the guest house, and she could just picture Jack keeping time on a pot or pan with his spoon.
Aggie was sitting in her glider smoking, and raised a hand to Sam. Sam walked over to her. "You and Jack all packed?"
"Almost. Jack's fixing our farewell dinner, and then we'll finish. Thanks for letting us leave a lot of the stuff in the house. Tell Ronny he's welcome to use any of it when he visits."
"No sense in you dragging it all back to Colorado, just to haul it all back when you come visit. And you will come visit, won't you?" Aggie looked almost pleadingly into Sam's eyes.
"Oh, of course we will. We're going to miss it here. Miss you and Abner and the dogs." Sam scooped Francesca up and gave her a hug. Francesca wiggled to get down, so Sam set her on the drive, where she trotted over to curl up at Aggie's feet. "You know if you need anything, you can call me or Jack at the number we gave you and we can be here in no time, right?"
Aggie got up and gave Sam a hug. "You and Jack are just like family, you know?" She sniffled as she pulled away. "You call me if you need anything, too, you hear?"
Sam sniffled, too. "You bet."
"Hey Aggie," It was Jack, coming toward them with a red oven mitt on one arm, a wooden spoon in the other. "You gonna join us for supper?"
"Well, I don't know. What's on?"
"Chicken Parmesan. One of my specialties."
"Ooh, one of my favorites. I'll wash up and be right there." Aggie hurried into the house.
Jack put an arm around Sam and led her back to the guest house. "Our last night here--for a while."
Sam put her head on his shoulder. "Yeah. I loved it here. And I love you." She kissed him quickly. "I can't tell you what this time here has meant to me. That you would come and save me like that."
"Sam, I love you, and you know my motto, I never leave anyone behind. Especially you."
Jack leaned down to kiss Sam, and they headed back into the house.