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Fanfiction: Divided Union - Part I

Fandom: Stargate SG1
Series: Aftershocks
TAG to Episode: S4 Divide and Conquer
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: Team friendship.  Sam/Jack UST.  Martouf/Jolinar.  Character death.
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.  Written for entertainment purposes only.
 

 

Divided Union

Divided They Fall


Samantha Carter couldn’t move.

She was kneeling in front of the Stargate; a zat at her feet. Martouf’s head was in her lap; blood was seeping through the uniform onto her leg. One hand cradled his cheek and jaw; she could feel the rough stubble beneath her fingers and the lingering warmth of his life slowly fading; a life she had taken. The weight of his body was heavy; she could feel her legs cramping. She was aware everyone was looking at her; waiting.

She couldn’t move.

She felt rather than saw Jack O’Neill take the first step. She felt his hand on her shoulder providing her with warmth and she leaned into it.

‘Carter.’

The word was soft. Don’t, she thought panicked. She couldn’t bear it if he was kind to her; she knew she wouldn’t be able to hold it together. She felt the sob crawling up her throat and pushed it back. Her shocked eyes lifted to meet his.

‘We should…’ Jack stopped and wet his lips. ‘We should get him to the morgue.’

She nodded shakily. She knew that. She just couldn’t move.

‘Actually, it would be preferable if we could take Martouf straight back to Vorash.’ Anise said quickly. ‘We can start the examination. We will keep you informed of the results.’

‘Of course.’

Sam heard General Hammond’s quiet agreement and dimly registered he was issuing orders; to get a casket to transport the body, technicians to clean up the gate room, the briefing room to be prepared for the imminent summit. She didn’t care. Her hand continued to stroke Martouf’s face, his features relaxed in death without the agony of his final moments as he had tried to fight the za’tarc programming.

‘Major.’ Jack’s voice cut into the insulated fog that seemed to have surrounded her.

That was better, Sam thought absently. Her rank. Major. Less personal. Just a Colonel giving an order.

‘Let me assist you, Major Carter.’ Teal’c’s gentleness threatened her composure again as he knelt on her other side. Her Jaffa team-mate deftly took Martouf from her.

Some part of her protested; a sharp internal cry that made her flinch as she watched Teal’c place Martouf on the ground with a care that spoke of the Jaffa’s respect for him.

‘Come on, Sam.’ Daniel Jackson slid his arm around her waist and helped her up from the floor.

She swayed. ‘I’m OK.’ She pushed weakly against Daniel’s hand and she was relieved when it fell away.

‘Sam…’

‘I’m OK.’ Sam looked frantically past Daniel’s worried face as he exchanged a concerned look with the Colonel. She just had to get out of the room and all the people looking at her and she’d be fine. She took one stumbling step in the direction of the door.

‘Carter.’ Jack began.

Sam didn’t wait; she hurried out into the corridor. The long tunnel tilted and she grabbed the wall. Her mind filled with images of a life that wasn’t hers; her body trembled under a wave of emotion that wasn’t hers. It was all Jolinar’s. The symbiote she had unwillingly carried for a short time; the symbiote who had been Martouf’s soul mate. She closed her eyes against the pain that rushed through her.

Grief.

Sharp, all-encompassing grief.

Sam couldn’t breathe.

The edges of the tunnel went dark as it tilted again.

‘Damn it, Carter.’

Jack’s panicked voice was the last thing Sam heard as she gave up on consciousness.

o-O-o

Jack caught Sam as she slid down the wall. His arms were filled with her and he held her against him as though she was the most precious and fragile thing in the world. His brown eyes scanned her pale face anxiously.

‘Teal’c!’ He yelled for their team-mate and the Jaffa was suddenly there. He reached for Sam and the Colonel let him take her. Teal’c was stronger and there were a host of other reasons why it wasn’t good idea for him to hold her, Jack reminded himself.

‘Get her to the infirmary.’ Jack ordered, his eyes meeting Teal’c’s. The silent order to stay with her and keep her safe went unspoken but as Teal’c inclined his head, Jack knew it had been understood. He watched as the Jaffa disappeared down the corridor.

‘Shouldn’t we go with her?’

Daniel’s question had Jack turning to the archaeologist with a sharp shake of his head despite his own urge to follow after them.

‘You’re needed in the summit.’ Jack said briskly. He held up a hand to forestall the argument he could see forming in the younger man’s blue eyes. ‘We still have a job to do, Daniel.’

The archaeologist stared at Jack for a long moment before he finally nodded. ‘You’re right, I should attend the summit.’ He sighed.

Jack patted his shoulder. ‘I’m going to…’ he waved a hand at the gate room.

‘You’re going to…see to Martouf.’

‘He deserves that.’ Jack said quietly.

Daniel nodded. His blue eyes darted back down the corridor.

‘She’ll be OK.’ Jack wondered who he was trying to convince. ‘Teal’c’s with her.’

Daniel nodded again.

Jack left him in the corridor and headed back into the gate room. He weaved his way through the tangle of people back to the ramp. He hesitated a little at the sight of Anise by Martouf’s body. The Tok’ra was the last person he wanted to speak with; apart from an embarrassing incident where the host Freya had kissed him, the Tok’ra had been present when he had told the whole truth of what had happened on Apophis’s ship to prove he wasn’t a za’tarc. He wasn’t comfortable that someone he barely trusted had been privy to his innermost feelings. But he had a job to do and he steeled himself as he moved forward.

‘Anise.’ Jack greeted her cautiously.

‘Colonel O’Neill.’ Anise raised her head and he was shocked to see tears gleaming in her eyes.

‘I’m sorry.’ Jack said awkwardly, gesturing at her. ‘For your loss.’

‘Martouf and I rarely agreed on scientific matters,’ Anise confessed honestly, ‘but he was a good friend.’

‘Yeah.’ Jack murmured.

Anise straightened and seemed to gather her composure. ‘How is Major Carter?’

‘She’s…’ Jack sighed and shrugged. ‘He was a good friend to her too and,’ he pulled a face, ‘she has that whole Jolinar thing going on.’

Her eyes widened in sudden understanding.

‘When you get back to Vorash maybe you can contact Jacob and tell him to come home.’ Jack said quietly. ‘I think Carter’s going to need him and Selmak.’

‘I will convey your message to Jacob.’ Anise promised.

His gut settled as he registered her sincerity.

‘I know Martouf had already sent word of her first za’tarc test. And, Colonel,’ Anise continued, ‘I would like you to know that we will not share the details of your latest test other than the overall results with anyone.’

Jack was prevented from replying by a sound over his shoulder. He glanced back and saw the oblong casket being brought into the gate room. He was absurdly grateful for the distraction as he stepped out of the way so the Airmen could place it on the floor.

‘Easy.’ Jack instructed as they reached to place Martouf inside. He watched as the body was lifted gently into the container. The top was closed and sealed.

Anise moved aside as Per’sus stepped up and laid a hand atop the closed casket. ‘Your death will not be in vain, my friend.’ The Supreme High Councillor bowed his head and his Tok’ra guard followed suit.

Jack couldn’t help but be moved by their grief and dropped his own head in respect. He raised it to see that all the Airman and Secret Service in the gate room had followed his example. He cleared his throat and gestured up at the control room. The young technician acknowledged his signal. The Stargate began to spin; the chevrons locking in sequence as the wormhole engaged. Hammond re-entered the room – Jack hadn’t been aware that the General had left – and he noted the two SG teams on Hammond’s heels with bemusement.

Hammond motioned to Per’sus. ‘SG2 and SG12 will provide an honour guard back to Vorash.’

‘Thank you.’ Per’sus nodded and moved back to allow SG2 to step forward and pick up Martouf’s casket.

‘Attention!’ Jack called loudly. The gate room snapped into military order; a mark of respect for a fallen comrade. Jack watched silently as Martouf was carried away through the blue wormhole. Anise was the last one up the ramp and through the gate. The wormhole disappeared in a blink.

‘If you’d like to come this way, Per’sus.’ Hammond waved a hand at the door. ‘The President has arrived and is waiting for you in the briefing room.’

Per’sus nodded and followed Hammond out of the gate room.

Jack looked around; the scorch marks and holes punched into the walls, the blood splatter on the floor. He sighed as he saw Siler’s men getting ready to fix what had been broken. He knew the walls would be painted, the blood cleaned away. In a few hours there would be no sign that there had been a battle; no evidence that Martouf had given his life in the war with the Goa’uld or that the woman who had once been host to Martouf’s mate had been the one to take it. Jack rubbed his hand through his short grey hair furiously. There was nothing more that he could do.

He made his way back out of the gate room and headed to the infirmary. The elevator was blessedly empty and he leaned against the back wall tiredly, reaching to massage the back of his neck which was knotted with tension.

God, what a mess.

The whole thing.

Jack sighed. He’d had a bad feeling ever since the Tok’ra had told them about the za’tarc’s. He had been equally shocked and alarmed by the idea that he and Carter could be za’tarc’s; he hadn’t cared about himself but Sam…the thought that she might die like the ill-fated Major Graham or Lieutenant Astor…he shook himself and folded his arms over his chest. He hadn’t been able to live with that thought. If he was honest that had been the reason why he had offered to undergo the Tok’ra’s experimental treatment; anything to save Carter. And he knew she knew the reason why he had done it. He had heard it in her desperate call when he had been escorted from his room; when he had looked back and seen her looking at him, restrained by her guards from following him.

That look.

The same look as she had given him on that damn ship. The one that told him she loved him; that told him she didn’t want him to die for her. His had probably been the same too; the one that said he didn’t care if he died; that he loved her and she was all that mattered to him. Maybe that brief look in the corridor had been what had tipped Carter off to why the machine thought they were za’tarc’s. Thank God she had worked it out, Jack mused, even if it had meant being retested. Even if it had meant actually telling her the full depth of how he felt for the first time…

Before, he’d had some vague idea of that moment; some notion that there would firelight and candles, flowers; in one fantasy, there had been a ring. He had always thought the moment would be special and he had never considered it would happen in a sterile lab with them strapped to a chair and being forced to admit their feelings to establish they hadn’t been brainwashed. He hated the idea that she thought he’d only confessed his feelings for her because they’d had to; because it was the only way to prove they weren’t za’tarc’s. He wanted her to know he’d meant every word; that nobody had forced him to say what he had – that he would have said it anyway, just in a different place, at a different time. He covered his face with his hands.

It was part of the reason why he hadn’t said the words though. The phrase that ended with ‘you’, began with ‘I’ and had a four-letter word beginning with ‘l’ in the middle. He wanted to save those words for a time when it would be special and unforced, if he ever got the chance. Not to mention if he had used those words, it would definitely have put an end to their working together which was why he had settled for ambiguity. He had to protect Carter’s career and he had hoped his words had been vague enough to get around the regulations. He figured she had understood because she had followed his example when it had been her turn…

I didn’t want him to stay.’ Sam’s eyes remained on his with a plea for understanding. ‘I knew I was trapped and that it was over for me but I knew he could still make it out.’

He wouldn’t leave you.’ Anise’s quiet prompt.

No.’ Sam’s eyes held his. ‘He wouldn’t leave me.’

How did you feel?’ Anise asked.

Jack felt his heart pounding; his breath caught in his throat as he waited for her to reply.

Sam hesitated and he knew she was judging her response. ‘You think before someone does it that you’d be grateful, pleased that someone cares enough about you to stay but I…all I felt was hopeless.’ Her voice dropped to a whisper.

He held her eyes wanting so badly to tell her he understood.

Why?’ Anise prompted again when Sam fell silent.

Because I didn’t want him to die because of me, because,’ Sam took a deep breath, her eyes on him, ‘because I care about him too; a lot more than I’m supposed to.’

Anise’s eyes fell to the machine. ‘You are also not a za’tarc.’

Jack dropped his hands abruptly. At least they had the comfort that they had known before the words; the looks they’d shared had left little doubt. Hell, that’s why she’d put it together in the first place.

The elevator stopped and the doors slid open. He stepped out and marched down the corridor. No matter what had happened between him and Sam in their za’tarc confessions and how he felt, it didn’t matter. Sam was lying in the infirmary because she had collapsed after she had killed Martouf not because she had confessed to caring about her CO. The Tok’ra had been her friend but he knew it was more complicated than that; complicated by the symbiote she had once carried who had been Martouf’s mate; the memories and emotions from the symbiote she still carried. Complicated because Martouf had pleaded with her to end his life; complicated because she had done it, a split second before Jack could do it for her and save her the heartache.

He paused in the doorway of the infirmary room. Sam was lying in a bed on the far wall. There were a host of machine hooked up and monitoring her. The only other occupant in the room was Teal’c. The Jaffa stood guard beside her bed. Jack felt another frisson of discomfort. Teal’c had stood witness to their confessions too. Jack pushed it aside. It didn’t matter, he reminded himself; all that mattered was Sam and getting her through what had happened.

‘How is she?’ Jack asked quietly as he came to a halt by the Jaffa’s side.

‘Major Carter has not regained consciousness.’ Teal’c kept his voice low. He clasped his hands behind his back.

‘What’s the Doc say?’ Jack asked concerned as he unconsciously took a step toward the bed. His fingers brushed the edge of the blanket.

‘She says Major Carter needs rest.’ Janet Fraiser entered through the internal doorway. She joined them by the bed and took Sam’s pulse. She frowned and shook her head as she checked the monitor.

‘What’s wrong?’ Jack asked brusquely.

‘Her brainwaves are erratic.’ Janet said bluntly. She sighed. ‘I’m going to need to run more tests.’ She turned to move away and Jack reached out to stop her, his hand falling away before he made contact.

‘Doc.’

‘You know as much as I do, Colonel.’ Janet said quietly. ‘You’re going to need to wait outside.’

Jack clenched his jaw against the immediate protest but it must have gleamed from his eyes.

‘I’ll look after her.’ Janet promised; her face softening as she looked at him and he felt another frisson of discomfort. Another witness to his and Sam’s feelings. Still, he couldn’t argue with the resolute look on her face and with a final glance at Sam, he whirled and left the room. He went no further than the corridor.

Teal’c joined him. The Jaffa stood straight as Jack paced in front of the closed door as minute after minute passed. Eventually, Jack subsided, sinking into a sitting position by the door. He rested his hands loosely on top of his knees and let his head fall back against the cold wall.

‘I should have taken the shot.’ Jack muttered, staring up at the grey ceiling. He should have killed Martouf before Sam had.

Teal’c raised an eyebrow. ‘You could not.’

‘I could.’

Teal’c simply stared at him. ‘A bullet may not have stopped him, O’Neill.’

‘She…’ Jack sighed. ‘It’s just…she shouldn’t have to go through this, Teal’c.’

‘I am in agreement with you, O’Neill.’ Teal’c said clearly. For a second, his own grief shone out of his dark eyes. His lover, Sho’nac, had been murdered a few weeks before and the Jaffa was still in mourning.

Jack let out a slow breath. He gathered his courage. ‘Teal’c, about what you heard today…’

‘Do not be concerned.’ Teal’c advised him swiftly.

Jack stared at him. ‘You knew.’ He realised with a sinking heart and rising panic.

Teal’c inclined his head.

‘Great.’ Jack banged his head as it fell back again. ‘Does everyone know?’

‘I do not believe so.’ Teal’c reassured him. ‘You have successfully hidden your true feelings in this matter from those outside of SG1.’

But Daniel knew, Jack surmised. He found himself unsurprised. SG1 spent a lot of time together. It was no wonder that their two team-mates had realised how he and Sam felt about each other.

‘We would never…’ Jack began.

‘We understand, O’Neill.’ Teal’c interjected.

Footsteps had Jack clambering to his feet as Daniel joined them.

‘Is Sam alright?’ Daniel asked hurriedly.

Jack found himself unable to respond; his throat closed up with worry.

‘Major Carter has yet to regain consciousness.’ Teal’c said calmly. ‘Doctor Fraiser is running tests.’

Daniel looked at Jack. ‘You OK?’

Jack shrugged. ‘I’m not the one unconscious.’ He muttered, defensive given his newfound knowledge of the younger man’s awareness of his feelings for Sam.

‘Jack.’

‘Daniel.’ Jack held up a finger in warning. ‘Don’t. Not…’ he sighed and dragged a hand through his hair as he turned away. ‘Not now.’ He waved his hand at him. ‘How’s the summit going?’

‘They’ve signed the treaty.’ Daniel informed him. The archaeologist wrapped his arms around his torso, pulling the sharp suit he wore awry. ‘The President and Per’sus are having drinks.’

‘Good for them.’ Jack quipped but the humour failed to reach his eyes.

The door behind them opened and they all spun to face Janet as she came out.

Jack’s heart began to pound as he took in the look in her dark eyes. For the second time in as many minutes, he found he couldn’t speak.

‘What’s wrong?’ Daniel asked immediately stepping in to fill the void.

Janet opened her mouth and closed it again. She shook her head, the tendrils of hair that had escaped her chignon, floating around her face. ‘You’d better come in.’

The three SG1 team-mates exchanged an anxious look.

Jack hurried in after the doctor with Daniel and Teal’c close behind him. His heartbeat began to regain its usual rhythm as he caught sight of Sam moving in the bed but as he got closer he saw the restraints that tied her to it.

‘Doc?’ Jack asked hesitantly.

‘Hasak! Kim on kree!’ Sam snarled ferociously.

‘OK,’ Jack stared at her, ‘that doesn’t sound like Carter.’

‘That’s because it’s not.’ Janet said with an edge of disbelief.

Jack’s eyebrows rose sharply even as he refused to listen to the inner voice telling him what had happened. ‘Then who is it?’

Sam’s blue eyes snapped to his and he almost stepped back as she glowered at him furiously. ‘I have already told you. My name is Jolinar. Jolinar of Malkshur.’

o-O-o

Janet’s eyes ran over the assembled men in her office. All of them looked worried even Teal’c. The Jaffa wore an expression of deep concern; his eyebrows lowered over his dark eyes. The archaeologist standing next to him was pale; his blue eyes pained behind his glasses. The General’s face beside him was red in comparison but the pain was the same; Janet had pulled him out of the summit reception to brief him on the situation with Sam. Her gaze fell last on the Colonel; the silver-haired man glared back at her. She cleared her throat. ‘It’s what called a psychotic break.’

‘No kidding.’ Jack folded his arms over his chest as he scowled. ‘She thinks she’s Jolinar!’

‘How is she?’ Hammond asked.

‘Sedated for the time being.’ Janet sighed. ‘She was getting too agitated.’ Her patient had been furious at being held captive.

‘Doctor, is there any possibility that this is the symbiote somehow?’ Hammond asked forcefully, expressing his main worry bluntly.

‘No, sir. The physical remnant of the symbiote was completely absorbed by Major Carter over two years ago.’ Janet reassured him. ‘But we know Jolinar left all her memories buried in the Major’s subconscious. Now those memories have sometimes surfaced, usually in the form of flashbacks, particularly after she has used a Tok’ra memory device.’

‘So?’ asked Jack impatiently.

‘So, the za’tarc machine works with a modified version of the memory device. Right?’ Daniel answered in slow realisation.

‘Right.’ Janet answered. Her back straightened as she met the Colonel’s unhappy gaze before she shifted to look at Hammond. ‘I think it’s possible, sir, that the memory device lowers the mental barrier usually in place between the conscious and subconscious mind.’ She frowned as she turned it over in her head.

‘Which would explain why Sam has more flashbacks following their use.’ Daniel offered.

‘As fascinating as all this is, how does it help Carter?’ Jack snapped. He shifted restlessly looking from Daniel to the diminutive doctor and back.

‘I don’t know.’ Janet admitted. She clutched her clipboard closer as though it were a personal shield. ‘I don’t think the za’tarc machine with the modified memory device was solely responsible. Jolinar’s memories and emotions have also surfaced in times of extreme stress.’

‘And?’ Jack said sceptically.

‘Of course.’ Daniel nodded quickly. ‘When Martouf died, it’s probable that Sam would have felt something of Jolinar’s old emotional tie to him.’

‘Add to that her own distress that she was the one who killed him…’ Janet mused out loud. She sighed. ‘The combination of the trauma might explain why her mind shut down.’

‘It doesn’t explain why she thinks she’s Jolinar.’ Jack remarked sharply.

‘I agree with the Colonel.’ Hammond admitted.

‘Well, think about it,’ Daniel jumped in before Janet could reply. ‘Sam’s emotionally wrought; she’s just killed Martouf even though it was the right thing to do; she’s feeling her own guilt, distress and on top of that because the mental barriers were weakened by the use of the memory device, she’s suddenly fully feeling Jolinar’s, I don’t know, grief, maybe?’

‘She suffers an emotional overload which causes her to lose consciousness.’ Janet continued nodding. ‘I think that’s possible.’

‘Only when she does wake up, the barriers aren’t there any more; she has both hers and Jolinar’s memories.’ Daniel concluded. ‘She doesn’t know who she is so latches onto the personality of the oldest memories?’

‘Maybe a part of her doesn’t want to be her right now, either.’ Janet sighed again. ‘It makes sense.’

‘And again,’ Jack said sharply, ‘how does this help Carter?’

There was an ominous silence.

‘It’s possible that Major Carter may recover on her own.’ Janet suggested. ‘It’s possible she may wake up and be…’

‘Normal?’ Jack supplied.

‘And if she doesn’t?’ Hammond prompted.

‘Maybe the Tok’ra can help.’ Daniel suggested, hunching his shoulders. ‘If the memory device is the trigger then maybe they know a way of forcing Jolinar’s memories back into the subconscious.’

Jack sighed heavily and bent his head, unwilling to listen to the idea that the Tok’ra could help.

‘The summit is almost over.’ Hammond said into the silence. ‘I’ll talk to Per’sus at the first opportunity.’

‘And if the Tok’ra don’t help?’ Jack asked, looking up at his commanding officer.

‘I can talk to Doctor Mackenzie.’ Janet said. ‘This isn’t dissimilar to multiple personality disorder. There may be a psychological technique we can use to reintegrate her personality.’

‘Agreed.’ Hammond gave a brief nod and excused himself from the room.

Jack pushed off the desk and made as though to leave the room.

‘Colonel.’ Janet halted him. She looked at him determinedly, pushing her tiredness aside. ‘We need to talk.’

He grimaced but nodded, running a hand through his short hair. He gestured at Daniel and Teal’c. ‘Why don’t you go and sit with…with her?’

Daniel and Teal’c exchanged a worried look but they left, closing the office door behind him.

Jack altered his position; feet were planted a foot apart, hands behind his back. His military pose was rigid; his dark eyes glistened. ‘You wanted to talk to me, Doc?’

‘I need to discuss the za’tarc testing, sir.’ Janet wet her lips, the edge of her clipboard biting into her fingers. The obstinate look on the Colonel’s face suggested he wasn’t going to assist her. She sighed. ‘General Hammond has asked me for a report, sir.’ It was the only warning she could give him.

‘You do what you have to, Doc.’ He spoke so softly that it surprised her.

Janet blinked at him as he turned to leave. ‘Sir?’

‘I’m going to sit with Carter.’ Jack said. He glanced over his shoulder. ‘Unless you have a problem with that?’

‘No, sir.’ Janet shook her head. ‘Sir?’ She saw the flash of annoyance as she stopped him again. ‘For what it’s worth, I’m sorry.’

Jack smiled humourlessly. He opened the door and walked out without replying. Janet let out the slow breath she hadn’t even realised she had been holding.

o-O-o

Daniel barely glanced up as Jack approached the bed. He wasn’t surprised when the military man snagged a chair and pulled it alongside his own. Teal’c sat across the bed from them on a stool.

‘How is she?’ Jack asked quietly, his brown gaze roaming over her prone form and lingering on the restraints that tied her to the bed.

‘Still sleeping.’ Daniel remarked. His stomach was churning uneasily. Their first run-in with Jolinar had been traumatic for all of them; he wasn’t certain any of them could take another.

‘We can handle this.’ Jack said confidently.

Daniel’s eyes snapped to Jack’s wonderingly. Had the other man read his mind?

‘She’s not actually Jolinar this time.’ Jack explained, seeing the quizzical look on Daniel’s face.

‘Right.’ Daniel murmured in disbelief. ‘She only thinks she is.’

‘Colonel O’Neill is correct, Daniel Jackson.’ Teal’c said.

Daniel kept quiet; he didn’t think it was going to be that easy. He looked over at Jack. The military man looked tired; the events of the day had evidently taken the toll. Daniel dropped his gaze. Teal’c hadn’t offered to share the detail of Sam and Jack’s retesting and Daniel hadn’t asked but Daniel figured it had to have uncovered something Jack and Sam hadn’t wanted to share about their experience on the ship; something personal and he was betting it was how they felt about each other.

He wondered if knowing would change their decision to ignore their attraction. He knew it wasn’t simple for them; they were at war with the Goa’uld and both military officers had sworn an oath to protect their country first above all else, including their own happiness. Then there were the military regulations. It was possible that the Air Force would step in and break up the team anyway if they had confessed to loving each other regardless of any decision Jack and Sam made. He rubbed his forehead at his own conflicting emotions. He wanted Jack and Sam to be happy, he really did but he couldn’t help but fear the changes ahead if SG1 was disbanded. He immediately felt a wave of guilt as his eyes landed back on Sam.

His gaze flickered back to Jack whose eyes were pinned to Sam. He guessed their confessions, whatever they were, weren’t the primary concern given the events that had transpired in their wake; the revelation of Martouf as the za’tarc; Sam taking the fatal shot; her distress and breakdown. He sighed heavily. He’d liked Martouf and his symbiote, Lantash, and he was saddened by the loss of the Tok’ra. There had been too many losses of late, he mused.

Sam stirred.

Jack snapped to attention and stood up. Daniel got out of his seat to join him by the bed as Teal’c moved subtly closer.

Her eyes opened slowly and she slowly blinked as the world came into focus. She tugged on her restraints and grimaced.

‘Hey.’ Jack said cautiously.

Sam’s head turned to him carefully. ‘Release me.’

Daniel felt the punch of disappointment to his gut and wondered how Jack felt.

‘We can’t do that.’ Jack held up a finger to prevent her from talking. ‘You’re not Jolinar.’

Sam looked at him blankly.

‘There’s been…’ Jack struggled to explain it. He sighed. ‘An accident.’ He nudged Daniel.

‘Right.’ Daniel muttered. He crossed his arms over his chest as he looked into Sam’s eyes. ‘What’s the last thing you remember?’

She frowned. ‘The Ashrak…’ She said slowly. ‘He was killing me.’

‘That was over two years ago.’ Daniel said. He pointed at Jack’s hair. ‘You remember his hair wasn’t like that.’

Jack shot him a look. ‘Neither was yours.’

‘My point,’ Daniel said without acknowledging Jack’s statement and keeping his attention on Sam, ‘is that if you were Jolinar shouldn’t you remember that?’

‘Perhaps I have been unconscious during the time that has passed.’ Sam suggested forcefully.

Teal’c straightened and captured her attention. ‘What of your host?’

‘That’s right.’ Daniel nodded in agreement, understanding Teal’c’s train of thought. ‘Surely if you were really Jolinar, you would sense the host?’

A tiny crease appeared between her eyebrows.

Daniel sensed she was beginning to think about their comments. ‘Jolinar died two years ago after the Ashrak attack; she gave her life to save her host; you. Since then we’ve allied with the Tok’ra.’

‘I am Jolinar.’ Sam insisted but her voice wasn’t steady.

‘No.’ Jack shook his head. ‘You’re not. You’re Major Samantha Carter.’

‘The host…’ She continued weakly.

‘We think you’ve suffered some kind of mental…meltdown.’ Daniel said quietly. ‘Jolinar’s memories were left in your subconscious following her death. We think a combination of using a Tok’ra memory device recently and an emotional trauma have allowed them to overwhelm your own.’

‘What trauma?’ Sam asked bluntly.

Daniel looked at Jack who shrugged.

The archaeologist took a deep breath. ‘You were forced to kill Martouf to prevent him from attempting to assassinate our President. He had been brainwashed by the Goa’uld.’

‘No.’ Sam shook her head violently. ‘It isn’t true!’ Her voice rose. ‘It isn’t true.’

‘You should have Sam’s memories as well as your own.’ Daniel said calmly as her struggles against the restraints continued. ‘You should be able to check.’

‘I…’ Sam’s eyes suddenly jerked away from them to the door.

The rest of SG1 turned to look.

Per’sus stood in the doorway with Hammond.

Sam sagged in relief and disbelief. ‘Per’sus?’

‘It is I.’ Per’sus strode into the infirmary room and Daniel moved aside to allow the Tok’ra to stand next to the bed.

Jack held his ground. ‘Can you help her?’

‘Per’sus,’ Sam looked at the High Councillor pleadingly, ‘they say I’m dead.’

‘It’s true.’ Per’sus said slowly. ‘Jolinar died two years ago.’

‘But…’ Sam swallowed convulsively and Daniel could see the glimmer of panic flit through her blue eyes.

‘You are Samantha Carter.’ Per’sus said gently.

‘And Martouf?’ Sam’s eyes bore into his. ‘Is that also true?’

He nodded. ‘Martouf is dead.’

‘By my hand?’ Sam checked.

Per’sus nodded again.

Her eyes closed and she turned her face away from them. ‘Leave me.’ She commanded gruffly.

Daniel felt his chest tighten as tears escaped down her cheeks silently and soaked into the pillow.

‘Perhaps we should discuss this elsewhere.’ Per’sus said formally.

Jack gestured at Teal’c to stay with Sam as he and Daniel followed Per’sus and Hammond out into the corridor and back to the doctor’s office where Janet was waiting for them with Doctor Mackenzie.

‘Can you help?’ Janet asked swiftly.

Per’sus nodded slowly. ‘I believe so.’

Hammond gave a sigh of relief. ‘That’s good news.’

Jack looked at Per’sus suspiciously. ‘Sorry to butt in here but exactly how can you help her?’

Per’sus met Jack’s gaze boldly. ‘We have a symbiote in need of a host who…’

‘Of course you do.’ Jack interrupted angrily. His brown eyes blazed with banked fury as he crossed his arms.

Hammond’s thin eyebrows rose. ‘You’re suggesting…’

‘If Major Carter is implanted with the symbiote, he will be able to undo what has been done.’ Per’sus said forcefully. ‘He can reinstate the boundaries between Jolinar and Samantha.’

‘And then the symbiote would leave Sam?’ Daniel asked hopefully.

Per’sus took a deep breath. ‘I do not believe he would be able to do so. The blending would have to be total in order for it to work.’

‘Sir…’ Jack began passionately, turning to Hammond.

Hammond held up a hand as though asking Jack for patience. He turned to the Tok’ra Supreme High Councillor. ‘Is there no other way?’

‘I do not know of another way.’ Per’sus said formally.

‘Doctor, you said we might have a treatment?’ Hammond looked at Janet hopefully.

Janet indicated for her colleague to speak and Mackenzie cleared his throat.

‘There is the possibility with therapy we may be able to treat Major Carter.’

‘But?’ Daniel prompted, sensing the doctors’ unease. ‘I mean, there is a but isn’t there?’

‘There’s no guarantee of success.’ Janet stated quietly. ‘The treatment may work or it may leave Major Carter with both personalities or…’

‘She could stay like she is now.’ Daniel finished with a sigh.

‘That is not going to happen.’ Jack stated forcefully. Daniel wondered if he was the only one who heard the edge of panic in the other man’s voice.

‘Then we are agreed the symbiote is the way forward.’ Per’sus said.

‘No,’ Jack shot back before anyone else could respond; he glared at the Supreme High Councillor, ‘we are not agreed.’

Per’sus stiffened. ‘Our alliance will not last long if you do not trust us.’

Hammond stopped Jack from answering with a sharp look at the Colonel. ‘This isn’t a question of trust, Per’sus. You’re asking us to make a decision for Major Carter which has serious implications for her that we’re not certain she would agree to if she was herself.’

‘She offered her father as a host.’ Per’sus pointed out. ‘Surely you do not think she would refuse?’

‘That was a totally different situation.’ Jack retorted.

‘Jack’s right.’ Daniel said, supporting his friend. ‘Her father was dying; a symbiote was his only option.’

‘I think we’re going to need some time to consider this.’ Hammond said to Per’sus.

The base alarms sounded.

‘Now what?’ Jack muttered as they all turned to head to the control room, leaving the doctors in the office. The wormhole activated just as they came to a halt behind the technicians.

Daniel stared out at the blue puddle with a frown.

‘Receiving Tok’ra IDC, sir.’ The technician reported.

Hammond nodded. ‘Open the iris.’ He motioned for Jack to lead the way down to the gate room. Daniel followed slowly. He had just reached the bottom of the ramp when a figure stepped through.

Daniel gave a sigh of relief; it was Jacob Carter.

Continued in Part II.

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