Broken 13 & 14

by Sharim

~13~

He watched silently as they tended the body, playing around with their little doohickeys to make sure that Daniel was definitely dead. To make sure the Goa'uld inside Daniel was definitely.

He dry-retched as they talked; coldly and detachedly. They hadn't known Daniel. They hadn't known the kind of person he had been. If they had...

Jack kicked the wall. Hard. The dull clank echoed around the room, and they turned to look at him, startled by his violence.

"Jack... you should probably get some rest." A hand was place on his shoulder. A caring hand. Jacob's hand. The father of the woman he hadn't been able to help still cared about him. He didn't deserve this. "Jack?"

He sighed, and slowly turned to look at Jacob.

How could Jacob possibly understand? How could Jacob possibly even guess at what they had been through?

'Daniel! NO! Daniel, don't let him do this, please!'

'The host is no more. Your pleas will have part...'

'Daniel... Daniel, NO! TEAL'C!'

'Sir, do something!'

'I'm trying... DANIEL!! DAMN YOU, NO!'

"Come on, Jack." Jacob's eyes were tired, Jack realised dully. Silently he turned and allowed Jacob to lead him out of the room and into another one.

On the bed in the far corner, he could make out an unmoving form. Carter. It could only be her, everyone else was accounted for. But, instead of feeling the uneasiness, the shame and the guilt, he only felt an overwhelming rush of despair.

He hadn't been able to help her when she needed it most. He was no use to her anymore.

"Sleep, Jack."

Carter didn't move, she didn't indicate that she knew he was in the room. He knew she was aware though, she was too good a soldier to have slept through their entry and Jacob's talking.

Mutely he allowed Jacob to lead him to the second bed and sat down on it slowly.

"Good night."

He watched as Jacob exited, closing the door with a slight hiss behind his stunted form.

The sheets were rough and cold. They were clean.

He lay down, not even removing his shoes, and looked up at the roof, ignoring the pain in his chest. Maybe, if he was lucky, Jacob would do something with that nifty healing device.

Across the room, he heard Carter shifting on the bed. "I... I'm sorry. Sir," she whispered.

He jerked upright, watching her with wide eyes. She was lying on her side, her hands clasped beneath her head as she watched him through tired, blue eyes.

"For... for what?" He croaked out.

"Killing him," she whispered, pulling her hands out from underneath her head and sitting upright. She didn't remove her eyes from him though, staring intently into his own as they battled the silence.

"You... you didn't have a choice, Carter," he said gruffly, also sitting up awkwardly.

She looked down then, studying the unmoving hands clasped in her lap. He looked at them also.

Long ago, before they'd gotten captured, he'd loved looking at her hands. Everything she did, from drinking coffee to writing to working on a doohickey... even just when she was explaining something to him... they'd always moved gracefully and gently, always betraying the femininity she often tried to hide behind her military uniform.

They were hands that had saved the world countless times. They were hands that had pushed back strands of hair from Cassie's forehead when she was scared. They were hands that had held his own, encouraging him to fight and get better.

And they were hands that had killed Daniel.

As the realisation struck him, it also seemed to strike her, and she struggled off the bed suddenly, drawing in sharp, ragged breaths as she tried to run.

"Carter!" He called, flying off the bed to help her. His ribs protested sorely, and he remembered that they were probably broken. But that didn't stop him from rushing after her, and skidding to a halt beside her when she staggered to a stop in the hallway and clutched at a wall for support.

As his hands closed over her arm, she threw up, her body shuddering violently. He held her while she threw up, steadying her and keeping her upright until there was nothing left inside her. But her body kept retching and she kept crying, choking sobs that churned him up so badly inside that *he* felt like crying.

He was crying, he realised dimly.

"I'm sorry," he mumbled, turning her around to face him and wiping her mouth with the tattered sleeve of his BDU. "I'm so sorry, Carter. I'm sorry."

"I know," She gasped, pressing her body close against his. "I know."

And he held her tightly while she cried, brushing the hair back from her face and dropping feather light kisses on her temple.

"I love you," he whispered.

She didn't answer, but she didn't move out of his hold. They stood like that for some time, her fingers digging into his back and her head buried against his neck as though she never wanted to move.

He honestly didn't mind.

Eventually, when their legs were shaking and their strength too far gone for them to stand any longer, they moved silently back to the room.

He felt a pang of guilt for leaving the mess in the hallway, but as Sam curled up in a ball next to him, her hand lightly resting on his injured ribs, he pushed the feeling away and closed his eyes.

* * *

MISSION REPORT

MISSION:                GENDA

MISSION OBJECTIVES:

                        1) Assist Tok'ra

                        2) Procure prototypes

                        3) Terminate Goa'uld

                        4) Destroy Facility

MISSION DEPARTURE:      1054 hours 2/18/06

SG TEAM:                NO ASSIGNED TEAM.

PERSONS PRESENT:        COLONEL JONATHAN 'JACK' O'NEILL

                        MAJOR SAMANTHA CARTER

STATUS:                 MISSION COMPLETED

COMMENTS:               During mission, DR. DANIEL JACKSON, was

                          found to have been implanted with a 

                          Goa'uld. His death was an unfortunate

                          casualty. No sign of Teal'c was found.

                          Facility was completed destroyed.

                          Prototypes of four (4) weapons were      

                          procured.

* * *

They hadn't said a word. Not to each other and not to any of the people they'd been exposed to since they'd returned.

Now they were sleeping, both sedated.

Janet watched them, their faces strangely expressionless in the induced slumber.

"How are they doing?"

She turned to the Tok'ra next to her, consulting her papers before answering.

"The Colonel had several fractured ribs, but you took pretty good care of those on board the ship. Sam didn't have any injuries."

Jacob nodded, watching them.

"She killed him, you know," he said eventually, his eyes never leaving Sam.

"I know," Janet whispered.

"He would have killed the Colonel. I didn't think she'd save... she hated him."

Janet shook her head, a smile on her face. "I don't think so. I don't think they could hate each other if they tried."

Jacob smiled in return, resignation on his features. "They tried hard enough."

"They failed, obviously."

They fell into silence again.

"Will Daniel be given a proper burial?" He asked eventually.

"I hope so." Janet sighed, her shoulders slumping. "They... they're examining him first, doing the usual observations on the Goa'uld physiology and-"

"I know," Jacob said shortly.

"But... they should be satisfied in a few days. Then... then he'll probably get the burial."

They watched as Sam shifted in her sleep, a frown momentarily flitting across her face before she relaxed again.

"We didn't find any sign of Teal'c."

"I doubt he's alive," Janet said softly. Jacob glanced at her, startled. She caught the glance, and sighed before continuing. "They would never have allowed one of their own to stay imprisoned in that place if they were free."

"But Daniel-"

"Daniel hurt them," Janet said gently. "Not necessarily Daniel... but it was Daniel's body. You... you told me the basics of what you've gathered happened. About the Colonel being forced to watch while-"

"Yes," Jacob snapped, reluctant to think about what Janet was saying.

"They must have thought there was no possible way of saving him," she finished off.

"But..." Jacob protested.

"Their morale was - still is - lower than it's ever been. They ran out of luck, Jacob. They got caught. They paid for it. They didn't think they'd ever get out of it. They did get out, and they were grateful. They didn't want to push their luck."

"Whatever happened to no one gets left behind?" Jacob nearly yelled.

"I don't know. Daniel... Daniel was effectively dead because of the Goa'uld in him."

"And Teal'c?"

"We can only guess," Janet said eventually.

Jacob watched as the two soldiers lay sleeping, and desperately fought against the disappointment inside him. They'd left Daniel behind. How could they do that to one of their own?

* * *

MISSION REPORT

MISSION:            P32 901

MISSION OBJECTIVES:

                    1) Evaluate Planet

                    2) Meet with Natives

                    3) Negotiate possible treaties

MISSION DEPARTURE:  0900 hours 7/7/04

SG TEAM:            SG-1

PERSONS PRESENT:    COLONEL JONATHAN 'JACK' O'NEILL

                    MAJOR SAMANTHA CARTER

                    DR. DANIEL JACKSON

                    TEAL'C

STATUS:             INCOMPLETE

COMMENTS:           Upon arrival inhabitants were friendly. The

                      Nylans were a hospitable, though primitive

                    people, willing to share what they had. No

                    evidence of recent contact with the Goa'uld.

 

                    During the course of the first evening

                      Goa'uld motherships arrived. Jaffa were

                    present in great numbers. A strategic

                    decision to evacuate was made. A judgment and

                      command error by myself (Colonel Jonathan

                    'Jack' O'Neill) resulted in the capture of

                    SG-1.

 

                    SG-1 was then shipped to a prison Facility

                      known as 'Genda'. Dr. Jackson was infested by

                    a Goa'uld. The Goa'uld Nel'maka'at was

                    responsible for the death of Teal'c. Major

                    Samantha Carter was severely abused (sexually,

                    physically and mentally).I (Colonel Jonathan

                    'Jack' O'Neill) was physically and mentally

                    abused.

~14~

"Hi." Her voice startled him, she could see it in the way he spun around and faced her, ready for a show down.

"Hi," he returned awkwardly, thrusting his hands into his pockets.

She licked her lips, her eyes resting on the smooth gravestone. "I... I thought I might find you here."

He didn't say anything; he just turned back to the gravestone and studied it. She moved forward, until she was standing next to him, her elbow brushing against his arm.

"We left him behind, Sam," he whispered hoarsely.

Unbidden her hand crept into his, her fingers squeezing his gently.

"And... and we didn't even want to go back."

She didn't say anything. She couldn't say anything. It was the truth, and they both knew it.

"I... I wanted to go back. In a way," she admitted.

He nodded, understanding.

"But at the same time... I kept remembering... I kept remembering what he - what *it* - said." She shuddered.

His hand squeezed hers, holding on tightly. "I kept remembering what it did," he said softly.

She froze, her fingers stiffening in his.

"And... and I didn't want to go back because... because I was scared of letting it beat me again."

She looked at him, hesitation and wariness in her eyes. She was ready to run, but his fingers trapping hers kept her securely at his side.

"You..."

"I couldn't help you, Sam," he whispered, turning to her. "I made a bad call, and it got us in trouble. You all paid big time for my bad mood."

She licked her lips, shivering in the cool air. "I..." And she stopped. She couldn't say anything to that either.

They stood in silence, both looking down at the grave.

"He said he forgave you," she said eventually, her voice uncertain.

Jack sighed. Forgiven.

"I don't think I could ever forgive myself," he admitted.

She studied the freshly carved letters on the stone. "No, I didn't think you'd be able to," she agreed softly.

"Can you?"

"What, forgive you?" She didn't look at him; instead she looked down at their interlinked fingers. "Yes."

His fingers tightened on hers briefly, before relaxing to fall away.

"But I doubt I can forgive myself."

He faced her, surprised. "You didn't do anything."

"I know. That's why... I should have done something help him. Or-"

"No," he said firmly, turning to her and cradling her cheek in one hand.

She leant into his hold, raising her free hand up to his and holding his hand against her face. "I... I wanted you to help me. I wanted you to save me," she whispered.

His hand shook against her cheek.

"I wanted you to save all of us," she continued.

"I couldn't."

"No. You couldn't save Teal'c. You couldn't save Daniel." She hesitated.

"I couldn't save you either."

"But that doesn't matter," she said firmly, raising her eyes to meet his. "It doesn't matter that you couldn't save us. We couldn't save ourselves either. We couldn't save you..."

"But it's my responsibility-"

"Bullshit, Jack," she snapped, her eyes flashing. "You had a duty to us, to lead us. And you led us. Duty fulfilled. The rest, the caring, the friendship... that was an extra you gave us. You gave us *everything*, Jack. You risked yourself to get us off that planet, but they were stronger than us and that's all that got us caught. Not bad leadership, not you."

He pulled away from her, his eyes masked and distant.

"I couldn't save Teal'c either. I *killed* Daniel, damn it. So don't you go playing the martyr and taking all the blame."

He turned to her, anger blazing in his eyes.

"You want to fight about this? You want to fight about who gets the most blame?"

"No." She shook her head, backing down. "I'm not. I'm just... I'm trying to get past the guilt and blame."

"It doesn't seem like that to me."

"Because you're not listening."

He almost howled in frustration. "Then what are you saying?"

She paused, calming herself. "Do... do you remember what Teal'c said... before.. he... before-"

"Before Daniel killed him."

"Nel'maka'at. It wasn't Daniel."

"I know." Jack winced. No, it hadn't been Daniel. But...

"He... he said he died free."

"He's always saying that. Only, he didn't usually *die*."

She couldn't stop the smile on her face. "He was freer then than we are now."

Jack looked at her, an eyebrow raised. "We were in *prison*, Carter..."

"I know. But... but he knew it wasn't our fault. He kept telling us that."

"What are you trying to say?"

"I don't know. That... that maybe Janet and McKenzie are right. That maybe we're putting too much blame on ourselves for what happened."

"We left them behind, Major."

"It's Lieutenant Colonel now," she said absently. "And no, we didn't leave them behind."

"We didn't?"

"Teal'c... Teal'c was already dead, Sir. We both know that."

"But Daniel wasn't-"

"No, he wasn't. But realistically, even if we had gone back, what chance was there of us getting him."

"It doesn't matter what chance it was, we never took the chance is what matters."

Sam sighed in frustration.

"He... he forgave us, Jack," Sam whispered to his back, wrapping her arms around herself. "How... how can you expect me to forgive myself and move on if you won't forgive me?"

"I have forgiven you," he said shortly.

"But you blame yourself."

He nodded.

She closed her eyes. "Jack, I don't blame you. I did at first, but... but I was scared. And I had to blame someone. Daniel forgave you, Sir. We *did* go back for him, no matter how reluctantly. We *were* given a choice. Either give the Tok'ra the help they needed before hand, or go with them. We *both* went with."

Jack swallowed, his eyes burning as they rested on the gravestone.

"It... it took too long," he whispered eventually, his shoulders slumping.

Sam swallowed. "No, Sir. You technically should never have been allowed back-"

"Because of my knees," he said spitefully.

"Yes. But... I was on duty for almost four months before..."

"It's not your fault, Carter."

She appeared in front of him, tears in her eyes. "I know that. It's still hard... but it's what I'm trying to show you."

He studied her, the way her lip quivered and her hands were clenched into tight fists.

"They're both dead, Sir. And we feel guilty because we both got out alive-" She broke down, choking back a sob. "But... but what makes me feel even more guilty is that-"

"Don't," he begged, holding his hands up as if to stop her.

"Is that I'm happy it's *you* that survived with me. *That's* what makes me feel guilty... because I'm so happy it wasn't you that was a Goa'uld and that hurt me like that... that it wasn't you that killed Teal'c... That you're still alive with me."

His hands fell to his sides, his fists clenched. "Why?" His voice was strangled.

"Because... because of what you said on the Cargo Ship when we came back... that... that you loved me." She choked over the words.

His arms were around her in a second, clutching her tightly against himself. "I know."

"And I feel bad, I feel disgusting for feeling *happy* about something like that, but I do feel it," she whispered.

"What?"

"Happy that you're alive. So that I can tell you I love you too."

He shuddered against her, and she felt the wet heat of his silent tears against her ears.

The sun had set, but they were still standing there, arms wrapped around each other, refusing to let go.

* * *

TO:             General George Hammond, USAF

FROM:           Colonel Jonathan 'Jack' O'Neill

RE:             Retirement

 

Hey George,

Retirement's great. Fishing's going swell - I even bought myself a dog. I got my official papers in the mail today. Just wanted to say thanks for the ride - it's been a wild one (and no, I wasn't quoting you there).

Well... I guess this is it. I'll be up at my cabin for at least another month, but when I come home I'll expect you over for a BBQ!

Jack

P.S. If Janet asks, Carter's fine, and you probably won't see her for a month either.

* * *

The end

Completed: 4 June 2002

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