Disclaimer: Not mine. At all. Ah well...we can always daydream, right?

Rating: Teen. Rated teen for graphic gore and violence and some MAJOR character deaths.

Category: Horror/Angst

Time Frame: SE04 Episode Doppleganger

Summary: Ever wondered about Sam's nightmare during the episode Doppleganger? And what about how Dr. Kate Heightmeyer contracted the parasite that ended up killing her?

A/N: Ok, this is a little short and hastily written (as well as un-Beta'd), seeing how I'm currently working on another, MUCH longer, SG-1 fic. However, this little bugger dug in its little claws and just WOULDN'T leave me alone until I wrote it all out. Which is what I did today. Anyway, please review and tell me what you think...reviews are like chocolate: they make me happy, which makes the world happy.

Nightly Terrors – Prelude to Death

Sam killed the engine of her motorcycle, parking it on the edge of the dirt road. One foot rested on the ground, balancing herself and the machine as she pulled the helmet off of her head, resting it on the seat in front of her.

She slid off, ruffling a hand through her hair as she stretched. She looked up the long drive, her eyes resting on the cabin nestled amongst a grove of trees, the faint scent of the rippling waters of a pond wafting on the whispering breeze. With a grin, Sam grabbed the small pack strapped to the back of her motorcycle, beginning the long jog up to General O'Neill's cabin.

She, O'Neill, and the rest of SG-1 were spending one last weekend together before Sam moved to Atlantis to take command of the city. It was with a bittersweet joy that Sam was going, and her team had decided to have one last shebang as SG-1.

It was oddly quiet, Sam noticed as she reached the front porch, mounting the steps two at a time. A growing sense of dread began to settle in the pit of her stomach as she opened the screen, reaching for the handle to the front door.

As the oak door swung open, the first thing Sam could smell was blood. She immediately dropped her bag on the floor, pulling out the gun that she had holstered in the side pocket. She cocked the semi-automatic, switching off the safety, and began to make her way into the house.

The entryway was clear, but as she neared the living room, the smell of blood thickened, making it so that, whenever she would take a breath, it almost felt as if the vile liquid was coating her nostrils and tongue.

She slid open the door to the living room, and had to close her eyes for an instant so that she could get her nausea under control. When she opened them again, she took in the carnage with a soldier's eye, while underneath the mask, it felt like her heart was splintering.

Cameron lay nearest the door, seven bullet holes ripped through his chest. His eyes were still open, his mouth locked in an eternal snarl, his hands limply grasping the butt of his Beretta. A few feet beyond him lay Vala, her neck a single gaping wound that continued to bleed sluggishly even after her skin had lost its warmth. Her eyes were dulled, the long black hair that she had been so proud of in life was hanging in tangles wisps, the tips sticking together from the drying blood. Daniel lay on the other side of the couch, halfway to the gun case that was fastened above the fireplace. It looked as if he had been stabbed multiple times, his shirt torn to reveal shredded skin beneath. White bone shone eerily through the coats of red blood. His left arm lay limply off to the side, hanging only partially attached to his body. Teal'c's head was lying at the foot of the coffee table, the remainder of his severed corpse lying motionless on the other side of the room, his pouch ripped open.

Blood was smeared on the four walls, covering the floor in a slick carpet. The sofa was torn and shredded, the pictures that had hung on the wall shattered and smashed, all lying on the floor, the frames fragmented and the photographs within shredded. Sam stepped forward, not knowing if the threat was still in the area. She fought to control her emotions, which threatened to break out from behind the feet thick wall she had thrown up, attempting to keep herself under control.

And yet, she knew that she should be reacting more violently to this scene, should feel something more for her massacred teammates than numb shock. Shock – that was what it was. She was in shock. Her limbs began to tremble, the point of the gun wavering slightly.

A sudden noise at the backdoor brought her hands up swiftly, the barrel suddenly steady as anger and fear washed through her. Her finger tightened as she readied to slam it down onto the trigger, ready to send a bullet speeding through the brain of whomever, whatever had done this.

Her feet carried her softly to the hallway that connected the living room and the kitchen, where the back door led down to the pond behind the cabin. She was nearing the corner, about to slip around the edge and into the kitchen, when she heard a sudden shout, then the sound of something shattering.

She threw herself into the room, her finger curling around the trigger. And she stopped dead.

O'Neill was standing by the table, blood sheeting down from a jagged slash in his shoulder, a knife from the counter in his left hand. Glass lay in shards on the floor, one window behind the general shattered to pieces. Standing a few feet away from him, a gun pointed directly between the general's eyes, stood Sheppard.

His eyes flickered to Sam, who was standing, frozen in the doorway, her gun halfway between the two men. And then, with a sudden chill and the tingling stab at the base of her spine, Sam realized that this was not the Sheppard she had known – he was a Goa'uld. Sheppard's eyes glowed briefly as he turned his attention back to O'Neill.

With one, swift movement, Sam brought her gun around, firing at the Goa'uld standing a mere few feet in front of her. As the speeding bullet neared him, however, it ricocheted off, slamming into the wall a few inches from Sam's head, sending a shower of paint and chips of concrete raining down on her.

Sheppard smiled, nearly crowing in delight. The gun slipped from Sam's numb fingers, slamming into the ground and discharging at the sudden impact. It splintered the counter near the Goa'uld's feet, but did nothing more than send a few splinters of wood flying into the air.

The three of them stood there in those exact positions for what felt like an eternity. Jack glanced at Sam, the two of them sharing one of their silent communiqués. She blinked, acknowledging what he was about to do, also indicating what she was planning.

With a sudden move, O'Neill raised the knife, sending it hurtling through the air toward the Goa'uld. At that same time, Sam leaped forward, drawing her pocketknife and flicking the blade out, slashing for the Goa'uld's throat.

Sheppard turned, reacting faster than was possible, even for the laws of physics. He grabbed the knife out of the air, then turned, firing his weapon at the charging Sam.

A bullet ripped through her hand, embedding itself in the bone of her wrist. The knife fell out of her immobile hand, a choked off scream wrenching itself from her throat at the sudden explosion of pain. O'Neill started toward her, anger and pain written on his face.

The next thing Sam knew, the gun held by Sheppard was being lowered, the nuzzle almost lovingly caressing her neck. "This is one of the slowest ways to die, being shot through the neck," said the Goa'uld that had taken Sheppard as host, indicating being shot through the neck. "You either die from drowning in your own blood, blood loss, or from lack of air. Whichever comes first."

Jack stopped, his eyes full of fear and worry. "But," continued the Goa'uld, "I think I will kill the woman last. She will be…most enjoyable," he decided with a narrowing of his eyes. He suddenly turned the gun, slamming the butt of it into the base of Sam's neck, stunning her. She fell to the floor, her shoulder slamming into the ground, her head smacking the wooden tiles. She felt something tightening around her wrists and ankles, then she was being hauled back into a sitting position.

Then, all she could do was watch as Sheppard neared the immobile O'Neill, who was still staring at her with shock and worry. She tried to tell him to move, to leave; to get the hell out of there. But her tongue and body weren't cooperating, weren't keeping up with her mind, and O'Neill stayed frozen.

Sheppard drew a wickedly curved knife, stroking the blade thoughtfully. He stalked around O'Neill, then traced the tip of it around his torso, a thin line of blood trickling down his shirt where it sliced his skin.

O'Neill moved suddenly, turning to slam a fist into Sheppard. The Goa'uld grabbed his hand, snapping his wrist, then stabbed, burying the knife into his stomach, the tip protruding on the other side. With a savage smile, he ripped the blade upward, gutting the general. He wrenched the blade out of Jack's stomach, twisting him around to face Sam.

Blood poured from the gaping wound and Sam could see pieces of the shredded organs ripping as he staggered. Sheppard released Jack and he fell to his knees, the shove that came between his shoulder blades sending him crashing to the ground at Sam's feet.

She was shaking now, more than she ever had before in her life, silent tears tracking down her cheek. O'Neill managed to look up, his eyes meeting hers, their dark depths, in death, conveying everything he hadn't said in life.

The light in them died, a single word rolling off of his tongue with his dying breath: "Sam."

A scream tore itself from Sam, her soul shattering into a million pieces with the death of the man at her feet, his blood staining her jeans.

A second scream wrenched itself from Sam's throat as she sat bolt upright in bed. She was shaking, her entire body trembling as she fought to escape the strangling hold of the nightmare. The images of her dead and mutilated friends flickered through her mind again. They were quickly followed with the image of a shredded and torn Jack, his gaze clouded with pain and fear. A shuddering sob tore from her chest and she wrapped her arms around her torso.

The door to her chambers was forced open slightly, and a hand snaked in, triggering the automatic opening. Two figures rushed into the darkened room, the shorter of the two triggering the lights.

Dr. Kate Heightmeyer was at her side in an instant, her eyes worried as she surveyed the leader of Atlantis with a calming eye. Sam reacted instantly, throwing herself away from the woman as the images from her dream continued to haunt her.

"Colonel Carter," she said, reaching out. Sam's back was pressed against the wall, her limbs shaking as she began to methodically pull herself out of the tangling folds of the nightmare. She felt someone grip her fingers tightly, the woman's hands encircling a wrist.

"It's alright," soothed Kate, although visibly shaken by Sam's blatant terror. "It was just a nightmare."

Major Lorne appeared on her other side, kneeling by the edge of her bed. "Colonel Carter?" he asked.

Sam finally saw the two looking at her concernedly, finally ripping through the veil that had been hanging over her sight. She took a deep, shuddering breath before gripping Kate's fingers, thanking her silently.

"It was one of the nightmares, wasn't it?" Major Lorne asked, concern evident in his tone. Still trembling slightly, Sam nodded.

To her great relief, neither of them asked her what it was about, only nodding in understanding. Sam tightened her grip, looking directly at the brightly shining lights, fighting the haunting images that threatened to overwhelm her again.

"Thank you, you two," she told them, finally opening her eyes and smiling, her emotions once again reigned in. Major Lorne smiled hesitantly, nodding, Kate tightening her hold for an instant in affirmation.

"Go get some rest, both of you," Carter said, looking at them. "You're going to need it with everything going on," she added. Kate nodded, rising from her seat on the bed, looking back once more at the Colonel.

"If you need to talk, come see me tomorrow," she told Sam. Sam nodded, sitting cross legged on the mattress. Kate left, making her way to her quarters.

Major Lorne, however, stayed for a moment longer, looking intently at his Commanding Officer.

"You sure you're going to be okay Colonel?" he asked. She nodded, scrubbing her hands through her hair.

"I'll be fine. This isn't my first nightmare," she said sardonically.

Major Lorne stood as well, turning towards the door. "I'm glad it's you that's here, Colonel, not some bureaucratic Bigwig from Earth," he said suddenly and unexpectedly, giving her a small smile.

"Thank you for that," Sam said sincerely, surprised at his unexpected, yet pleasant, outburst.

Lorne nodded again before saying, "I don't know what it was you were seeing, but it sounded like one hell of a dream." He blushed slightly, and Sam gave him a quick grin, encouraging him to continue. "Dr. Heightmeyer and I were passing by when we heard you scream," he said. "So we kinda just let ourselves in."

"And thank you for that," Sam said once again. "And you were right, it was one helluva dream."

Major Lorne nodded once again, disappearing out of the door. Sam stared at the door for long after it closed behind him, reliving the scene that had been played out before her. She wrapped her arms around her stomach even tighter, closing her eyes and breathing deeply, using the same calming techniques that she had learned after awaking from Jolinar's memories.

She finally calmed enough to stand, walking to the dresser. She opened the drawer, pulling out the small photo album that lay nestled amongst the clothes folded neatly inside.

She took a deep breath, sitting down on the thin mattress, finally relaxing as she inspected the pictures in the album that General O'Neill, Cameron, Vala, Daniel, and Teal'c had put together for her as a farewell present. She promised herself, then, she would go see Kate the next morning.

Only she would never see Kate, alive, again.