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Fanfiction: Undomesticated Equines

Fandom: Stargate SG1
Series: Aftershocks
TAG to Episode: S2 Message in a Bottle
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: Mild Sam/Jack. Team friendship.
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.  Written for entertainment purposes only.

 

Undomesticated Equines


Janet Fraiser took a deep breath and stepped out of the private infirmary room to face the three members of SG1 hovering in the corridor. She rubbed tiredly at the pain throbbing in her temple, a reminder of her own lack of sleep.

‘Is Colonel O’Neill OK?’ Samantha Carter asked worriedly. An hour before the Colonel’s body had been taken over temporarily by an alien virus. They had all escorted their exhausted and shaky team leader to the infirmary to get checked out but Sam felt an element of personal responsibility for his condition; it had been her idea to let the virus take over him.

Janet smiled sympathetically at the tall blonde. ‘He’s fine, Captain. His body is clear of the virus but it did sustain a massive shock being so exposed to it and from the spike in his shoulder. He just needs to rest.’

Everybody winced. The moment when the metal orb containing the virus had sprung spikes, one of them lodging in the Colonel’s shoulder and pinning him to a wall would stay with them all for a long time.

‘Can we see him?’ Daniel Jackson asked plaintively folding his arms around his torso.

The doctor glanced at his wide, blue staring eyes and pale face; the mess of brown hair pinned back by his glasses. ‘For a few moments,’ she agreed, ‘but then I want you all to get some rest.’ She stepped aside and the archaeologist immediately dived through the open space into the room. Sam followed after him swiftly, leaving Teal’c to follow at a more sedate pace. The dark Jaffa bowed his shaved head at Janet as he passed. She followed him in and stood by the door. She had no intention of the team wearing out her patient.

‘Jack?’ Daniel’s eyes roamed over his friend in the infirmary bed. Jack looked surprisingly vulnerable stripped of his uniform and dressed in the medical gown.

The older man’s brown eyes flickered open. ‘Hey.’

‘How are you feeling, sir?’ Sam said, taking up a position on the opposite side of the bed from Daniel, her hand automatically landed on Jack’s arm to reassure herself with touch that he was still with them.

Jack’s head turned slightly to glance at her reassuringly. ‘I’m OK, Carter.’

‘Jack, I’m…’ Daniel caught himself and gestured to include Sam, ‘we’re so sorry.’

‘What for?’ Jack asked bemused.

‘Well, this.’ Daniel waved at hand at the hospital bed. ‘I thought the orb would be something incredible and…’

‘Daniel,’ Jack interrupted the younger man abruptly, ‘I made the call to bring the thing back here.’

‘On our advice.’ Daniel shot back.

‘He’s right, sir.’ Sam muttered quietly, looking down at the bright white sheet that covered her CO.

Jack exchanged a look with Teal’c. The two of them had talked about the rights and wrongs of the decision to bring the orb to the SGC during Jack’s time pinned to the wall by the spike.

‘Look, I’m not going to deny we screwed up.’ Jack said assertively. ‘We took a risk and it didn’t work out but we fixed it; that’s the important thing.’ He raised a hand from the bed and gestured wearily. ‘Bright side, we don’t have to go to P4G8…whatever.’

‘True.’ Daniel said brightening.

‘Indeed,’ added Teal’c.

A noise by the door had all of them looking in that direction and a moment later General Hammond entered the room to join his flagship team. Jack started to move further up the bed and the General stopped him with a raised hand.

‘That’s OK, son. Don’t get up on my account.’ Hammond took in the younger man’s wan face. ‘I just wanted to let you know the President sends his thanks and appreciation to you all at the way the crisis was resolved.’

‘Thank you, sir.’ Jack said. ‘But I didn’t really do anything. It was mostly these guys.’ He gestured at his team.

‘Actually, it was Sam.’ Daniel said firmly, his eyes moving to his female team-mate who had moved into a semblance of the at ease pose, her hands tucked behind her back.

Sam looked up surprised. ‘Me?’ She shook her head at Daniel. ‘You realised the organism was trying to communicate with us.’

‘And you realised it was trying to communicate through Jack.’ Daniel replied forcefully. ‘It was your idea to let it grow.’

Sam coloured. ‘Actually, shooting the orb was originally the Colonel’s idea.’

‘Yes but I thought it would kill it not make it grow.’ Jack’s eyes caught on hers. ‘You put it altogether in the end, Captain.’ He frowned at the flicker of disbelief in her eyes.

‘Yes, she did.’ Hammond said proudly before he looked back at Jack. ‘So how are you doing, Colonel?’

‘Fine, sir.’ Jack said cheerfully.

Janet stepped forward, her hands shoved deep into the pockets of her white coat. ‘He will be better after some rest.’ She said pointedly.

Hammond’s thin eyebrows rose slightly as her determined brown eyes caught his pale blue ones. He guessed that was his cue to leave. He looked over at Sam. ‘Captain, once you’re finished here we could do with your assistance on the gate diagnostic.’

‘Yes, sir.’ Sam said.

Hammond nodded. ‘I’ll leave you to it.’ He left as swiftly as he arrived and Janet breathed a sigh of relief that she hadn’t had to kick her superior officer out of the room with more force. She cleared her throat.

Jack took the hint. ‘You guys should go and get some rest too.’ He ordered. His eyes flickered to Daniel. ‘You look like crap.’

Daniel patted Jack’s arm. ‘Thanks, Jack.’ He said dryly. ‘Glad to see you’re feeling better.’ He stepped away from the bed and Teal’c stepped forward.

‘If you wish, O’Neill, I could remain here with you.’ Teal’c offered. He’d stood guard over his friend during the whole ordeal and he was strangely reluctant to relinquish his role.

‘I’m OK, Teal’c.’ Jack stretched out a hand and Teal’c clasped his forearm warmly as their gazes met and held. ‘Thank you.’

Teal’c inclined his head and he let go of Jack to leave.

‘We’ll see you later, sir.’ Sam said softly. She took a step back and went to follow her team-mates out under Janet’s watchful gaze. She was almost at the door when Jack cleared his throat.

‘Carter, can you stay a minute?’

Janet whirled around. ‘Colonel…’ she protested.

‘I just need a minute here, Doc.’ Jack said his brown eyes capturing hers with a pleading expression.

Janet looked from Jack to Sam and back again. ‘One minute.’ She said. They both nodded. The doctor sighed and left the room closing the door behind her.

Jack gestured for Sam to approach the bed. ‘You did a good job today, Carter.’ He took in the way she avoided his eyes. ‘But I’m kinda getting the impression you don’t think you did.’

Sam finally met his eyes. ‘I should have let Teal’c continue shooting the orb with the staff weapon after it first impacted you, sir.’

‘Actually, I was thinking I shouldn’t have given the order for him to shoot it in the first place.’ Jack said wryly.

‘Sir?’ Sam blurted out surprised.

Jack raised a hand from the bed and lowered it again. ‘I was the one who screwed up, Captain.’

‘But you brought the orb through on Daniel’s and my…’

‘Not about bringing the orb back.’ Jack interjected. ‘Although, that too, but I mean about shooting the orb.’ He sighed and held her quizzical gaze. ‘If I hadn’t ordered Teal’c to shoot the orb, the organism wouldn’t have grown as fast; you and Daniel would have had more time to put all the pieces together maybe even without worrying about the self-destruct going off.’

‘We might not have made as many discoveries as quickly though, sir.’ Sam said quietly.

‘So maybe everything worked out in the end.’ Jack pointed out briskly.

‘Maybe, sir.’ Sam admitted.

‘No maybes about it, Carter.’ He corrected her. ‘You saved all our lives today. Ah!’ He held up a finger. ‘No arguments, Captain.’

‘No, sir.’ Sam gave a weak smile and gestured at the door. ‘Well, I should probably…’

He nodded. ‘Have fun with the gate, Carter.’

‘Yes, sir.’ She made her way out and glanced back to see him snuggling into the pillows as he gave into his exhaustion at last. She closed the door gently. Somehow the act seemed to use the last of her energy and she slumped against the corridor wall, her churning emotions swimming to the surface.

‘Captain Carter?’ She heard Janet’s concerned voice behind her. ‘Are you alright?’

Sam swiped at her face before she pushed off the wall but she didn’t turn around to face her friend. ‘I’m fine.’

‘No, you’re not.’ Janet said, coming up alongside beside Sam. She slid an arm around Sam’s shoulder. ‘Come on.’

‘I can’t.’ Sam said, fresh tears appearing in her eyes. ‘I have to go check on the gate.’

‘It’ll wait five minutes.’ Janet said firmly. Even though Sam had a good half a foot on her she pushed the younger woman insistently down the corridor and into her office where she installed the Captain on a plastic chair. She disappeared to a coffee station and returned a minute later with a mug of the dark stewed brew. She handed it to Sam before she sat in her own chair.

Sam took one sip and her eyes widened. ‘Holy Hannah.’ She stared at the drink. ‘What is that?’

‘Sorry.’ Janet said insincerely. ‘We have it stronger than normal.’

Sam refrained from comment with difficulty. She changed the subject. ‘How’s Lieutenant Simmons?’

Janet gave her a knowing look. ‘He’s stable. A little embarrassed that he almost told you about his crush when he thought he was dying.’

‘If you want I can go in and see him before I head to the control room.’ Sam offered.

‘Nice try, Sam.’ Janet said dryly. She leaned forward. ‘You want to tell me why you’re upset.’

Sam tried to avoid the doctor’s dark earnest eyes but failed. She set the mug down and clasped her hands. ‘I killed him, Janet.’

Janet kept quiet and allowed the other woman to talk.

‘For a split-second there…’ Sam shook her head as she felt tears pressing against the back of her eyes again. She looked up at the ceiling refusing to let them fall. ‘I couldn’t feel his pulse and I just thought…I thought he was dead. That my stupid plan had killed him. That I’d killed him.’

‘Colonel O’Neill is going to be fine.’ Janet said softly. ‘And your stupid plan saved him; it saved this base and it saved the rest of the planet.’ She could see the denial in Sam’s eyes and she reached forward to take Sam’s hands in hers. ‘And I know the Colonel would say the same to you.’

It was Sam’s turn to fall silent.

‘Look, you’ve been working for God knows how many hours and most of that on an adrenaline-fuelled high. You’re not thinking straight about this.’ Janet said. ‘You need sleep.’

‘I have to help with the gate diagnostic.’ Sam said stubbornly.

‘I could make it an order.’ Janet commented, a hint of steel entering her voice.

‘I’ll sleep as soon as the gate diagnostic is done.’ Sam promised.

Janet nodded slowly. ‘OK. But immediately afterwards.’

‘I promise.’ Sam said. She took a deep breath and stood up. ‘Thanks for the coffee.’

o-O-o

Daniel lurked impatiently in the doorway of Hammond’s office. He’d heard Jack call back Sam and he had guessed at the reasons why; Sam had been pivotal in solving the problem with the orb but she didn’t seem to see it that way and he knew Sam probably wouldn’t see it that way despite Jack or anyone else telling her differently. He had a plan and all he needed was the General’s help. He shuffled his feet and swayed back and forth as he waited for Hammond to be done on the phone.

Hammond finally replaced the receiver into its cradle and waved Daniel inside the office. ‘Did you need something Doctor Jackson?’ He asked as the archaeologist entered and closed the door.

‘Yeah, I…uh…I wanted to talk to you about Sam.’ Daniel said hesitantly, crossing his arms.

The General’s eyebrows rose a little. ‘What about Captain Carter?’

‘I wanted to talk to you about her restriction to base.’ Daniel said clearly.

Hammond sighed. He’d been expecting the conversation for a while. He had seen how increasingly unhappy Daniel had become with the restrictions placed on his female team-mate after her time as a host to Jolinar. ‘Doctor Jackson…’

‘Please hear me out.’ Daniel said, talking over the older man and gesturing at him frantically.

Hammond sighed but nodded as he leaned back and folded his hands over his slightly paunchy stomach.

‘It’s been months since Sam was taken as a host by Jolinar,’ Daniel began, ‘and there have been no incidents since then that in any way suggest that she’s still inhabited by the Goa’uld symbiote. She’s just been Sam.’

‘Doctor…’

‘I know what you’re going to say,’ Daniel paced away from the desk and across the room agitated and oblivious to the sympathetic look on Hammond’s face, ‘that she remembered about the sarcophagus stuff from her repressed memories when we were on P3R636 but that was my fault. If I hadn’t left everyone in the mine for so long she wouldn’t have got so exhausted and she’s even offered to review those memories, no matter how painful to her, in order to provide any useful knowledge they contain.’ He whirled around to face the General. ‘And we’ve seen ourselves with Kendra that being able to use the Goa’uld technology after you’ve been a host is certainly possible so the fact that she can do that doesn’t mean anything.’

Hammond cleared his throat. ‘Doctor Jackson…’

‘Sir, Sam just saved this entire planet.’ Daniel waved his hand.

‘I know she did, son.’ Hammond tried to interrupt again but to no avail.

‘Sure we all contributed but if it hadn’t been for Sam making the connection to Jack we’d never have talked to the virus and worked out the compromise. Doesn’t that show…I don’t know…something?’ He turned suddenly and slapped his hands on the desk. He leaned over it, his blue eyes intent on General Hammond. ‘She doesn’t deserve to be restricted to base, General.’

‘I agree with you, Doctor Jackson.’

His words took Daniel by surprise and the archaeologist stared at him for almost a full minute. ‘You do?’ He straightened frowning. ‘I mean, you do?’

‘I do.’ Hammond reiterated. ‘Unfortunately my superiors do not.’

‘You’ve spoken with them?’ Daniel asked bemused.

‘Just now.’ Hammond waved at the phone. ‘I’m sorry but my hands are tied.’

Daniel thrust his hand through his hair. ‘There has to be something more we can do.’

Hammond gestured at him. ‘If you can think of a way, I’m all ears, Doctor.’

The younger man spun away from the desk and paced up and down the small office. He stopped suddenly and almost jumped as he turned back to Hammond. ‘The President.’

‘I’m sorry?’ Hammond asked confused.

‘It’s a chain of command, right?’ Daniel explained. ‘So if the top of the chain gives the order to have Sam released from her restriction then everyone below including the Joint Chiefs have to execute the order.’

Hammond tapped his desk thoughtfully. ‘You’re asking me to circumvent my superior officers, Doctor Jackson. That’s not a card you want to play too often in the military.’

‘I know that, General, but isn’t Sam worth it?’ Daniel asked passionately. ‘Doesn’t she deserve at least this for what she did today? Don’t we owe her something?’

Hammond wasn’t immune either to Daniel’s pleading look or to his own belief that the restriction had gone on long enough. ‘Leave it with me, Doctor Jackson.’

Daniel opened his mouth to argue further but a brief look at the General’s face had him reconsidering. He nodded and left the office without another word. He stopped in the briefing room and glanced back through the internal window; Hammond was reaching for the phone again but this time he was reaching for the red phone. Daniel punched the air satisfied.

He walked out and along the corridor towards the elevator. He selected the floor for the infirmary. He hoped that Janet wasn’t watching Jack’s room too closely; he figured he’d sneak in and sit with his friend for a while. He’d concentrated on deciphering the writing on the orb during Jack’s ordeal and while he knew his efforts had helped resolve it, he still felt like he should have been with Jack. He could make up for that now, he determined as he made his way down the corridor; he could rest just as easily in Jack’s room as he could in temporary quarters.

He opened the door and slid into the room, quickly and quietly shutting the door behind him. His blue eyes met Teal’c’s dark ones with momentary surprise followed by rueful acknowledgement.

‘I guess you had the same idea.’ Daniel murmured, keeping his voice low to avoid waking Jack who was asleep in the bed.

Teal’c bowed his head. He had waited patiently for Sam and Janet to leave the vicinity of the infirmary room before he had re-entered unable to shake the role of watching over his friend even though he was out of danger. He watched steadily from his place in the corner as Daniel made his way to a chair on the opposite side of the bed and settled in.

‘How is he?’ The archaeologist asked.

‘He is sleeping.’ Teal’c’s voice rumbled across the bed.

‘No.’ Jack said wryly, opening one eye to glare at the two men. ‘He’s not.’

Daniel flushed. ‘Sorry, Jack.’

‘’s OK.’ Jack murmured. ‘I couldn’t get to sleep anyway.’ He grimaced. Every time he had been on the verge, he had been filled with an irrational fear that the virus was still within him, lurking; just waiting to take over him again. Daniel frowned and Jack realised that it was likely the other man had deduced some of what he was feeling. He jumped in before the younger man could say anything. ‘Aren’t you supposed to be resting?’ He said brusquely.

Daniel crossed his arms tightly around his torso a little defensively. ‘I thought I could do that here.’ He muttered.

Jack sighed and looked over at Teal’c. The Jaffa raised an eyebrow challengingly. The military man turned his attention back to Daniel. ‘So what ya been doing?’

‘I went to talk with General Hammond about Sam.’ Daniel admitted.

Jack’s eyebrows lifted in unison with Teal’c’s. ‘And?’ he asked, pointing a finger at the younger man. ‘What’s your plan?’

‘My plan?’ Daniel blinked innocently.

‘Your plan.’ Jack repeated, his brown gaze never moving from Daniel.

‘I might have suggested that he ask the President to lift the restriction.’ Daniel confessed, lowering his tired eyes.

Jack considered Daniel’s suggestion. It would be a bold move for Hammond to go directly to the Commander in Chief but it could work especially on the back of Sam saving the world. ‘Nice.’

‘Really?’ Daniel’s eyes snapped back upwards to Jack’s.

‘Really.’ Jack couldn’t stop himself from reaching out and tousling Daniel’s hair. ‘You did good.’

‘It might not work.’ Daniel cautioned as he attempted to push his hair back into order.

‘Yeah.’ Jack sighed. ‘I guess we shouldn’t mention this to Sam just yet.’

‘To do so would be to offer false hope.’ Teal’c agreed.

The conversation moved onto inconsequential banter until the door handle started to turn and Jack raised a finger to his lips. They all held their breath expecting to see the diminutive doctor and all breathed a sigh of relief as Sam entered. She stopped in the doorway, startled to see them all.

Jack waved her inside hurriedly. He gestured at an empty chair. ‘Pull up a seat, Captain.’

‘I was just coming to see how you were, sir.’ Sam said as she walked over to his side.

‘Not sleeping.’ Jack confirmed dryly.

‘I can see that, sir.’ Sam’s lips twitched as she sat down and eased the chair closer to the bed. Her blue eyes met his empathetically and he had the sudden uneasy feeling that she knew exactly why he couldn’t sleep. But if anyone would, he considered, it would be Sam. Having the virus take over him for the few short minutes it had; hearing it speak with his voice; move his body…it was probably only a taste of what she had gone through with Jolinar. He found himself reaching for her hand and was surprised but pleased when she curled her fingers around his palm. They both smiled at one another oblivious to the knowing look exchanged by their team-mates.

‘How’s the gate?’ Jack asked softly.

‘Good, sir.’ Sam said.

‘Excellent.’ Jack murmured. His eyes took in the faint lines of fatigue and stress that lined her face before they skipped to Daniel. The archaeologist was managing to weave with tiredness while sat in the chair. ‘I guess it’s useless telling you guys to go rest.’ He mused out loud.

Sam and Daniel smiled at each other across the bed before they nodded in response to Jack’s question.

‘Wild horses, eh, Teal’c?’ Jack murmured.

Teal’c’s expression lightened and there was the faintest hint of a smile in his dark eyes. ‘Indeed, O’Neill.’

Daniel's eyes darted to the Jaffa and to Sam as he raised a tired smile. It really would take wild horses to drag them away from their team leader, he realised. He toed off his boots and stretched out his legs to rest his feet on the foot of the bed.

Jack let go of Sam’s hand reluctantly and reached behind him. He handed Sam a pillow and she settled back in her own chair, resting against it. Jack nodded at Teal’c. ‘Get the lights will ya?’

The room was plunged into darkness. Jack heard the rustle of clothes as they all relaxed and shifted positions; the change in breathing as they slipped into sleep. His team were with him and their presence gave him a sense of security that wrapped itself around him like a warm blanket. Tiredness stole over him swiftly and his eyes closed as he drifted into dreams of undomesticated equines.

fin.

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