in the Sand
Author: ocean gazer: email@example.com
Date: 5 Nov., 2K
Rating: R ish for violence and mature themes
Category: serious angst
Archive: yes, if Iíve already given permission
(otherwise, just ask)
Summary: after a traumatic event, Sam and Janet have
feelings to sort out
Disclaimer: I wish I owned Ďem, but I donít. The
characters belong to some perfectly nice folks at MGM, Showtime,
Gekko, etc. Iím just stealing them to work out my own demons
and will return them as good as new. I do this for love, not
money; I invite any of the aforementioned owners to steal
WARNING: Refs to character
assault and character rape, though nothing too explicit. Minor,
minor, minor religious ref. If you are looking for sex or for a
traditional happy ending, do not bother reading this story.
Notes: I have no idea any longer if this story has meritÖ
it simply has demanded to be written. My apologies if it sucks.
Criticism welcome as long as it isnít flames; comments in
general are helpful. I owe thanks to rutherford and Phil for
conversations that helped me with some of the ideas; however all
faults are entirely mine.
| Part 1 | Part
"Hey Doc!" Janet heard a note
of desperation in OíNeillís voice, and looked up quizzically as he
burst through the door to her research lab. He skidded to a halt in
front of her and she raised an eyebrow. "Sorry to barge in here
like this, but Iíve got a bit of an emergency on my hands and need
Janet shook her head in confusion.
"Colonel, if you have an emergency, there is a full medical staff
in the infirmary. I am off active duty for the next few days in order to
get caught up on my backlog of research projects."
OíNeill waved her protest away.
"Look, I need you. Itís about Carter and I donít think
sheís gonna let just anyone get near her right now. Plus, I kind of
want to keep this off the record for the moment, until I figure out whatís
going on and what to do about it."
Janetís heart leapt into her throat at
the mention of Samís name and she was on her feet without conscious
thought. She hated it when anyone was hurt or in danger, but she
particularly hated it when the person in question was a friend.
"Whatís the problem, Sir?"
He glared at the wall behind her head.
"The problem is that I donít know what the problem is."
"Well that certainly clarifies
things," she shot at him, knowing that sarcasm would steady him
better than anything else she could think of. Upon closer scrutiny, she
recognized that he was not nervous or scared, as she had first assumed
by the tone of his voice. The Colonel was enraged, and barely containing
His eyes were smoldering as he stared at
her. "Well, I know part of the problem. You know who Mike Jacobs
is?" Janet nodded in disgust and saw an answering grimace on OíNeillís
Major Jacobs was the kind of man who made
assholes look good in comparison. Every woman on base avoided him like
the plague, given his overtly sexist attitudes. Most of the men avoided
him as well, if for no other reason than his arrogance and his mercenary
mentality. And no one could figure out how he had stayed in the military
for so long.
OíNeill continued, "Part of the
problem is that when Tealíc and I went looking for Carter--since she
was half an hour late in meeting us--Jacobs was with her. I donít know
how the hell he found her; she was in that out-of-the-way, soundproofed
lab you guys have for your science experiments. He was beating the crap
out of her and it took both Tealíc and I to get him off of her. She
had already broken some of his fingers and it didnít slow him down
any. Iíd swear he was too drunk to feel any pain, but he doesnít
smell like heís been drinking."
Alarmed, Janet grabbed her medical bag
and led the way out of the room. OíNeill caught up to her and
continued his story. "Carter wonít say anything about it. All is
she says is that nothing happened."
Janet stopped in surprise and the Colonel
nodded. "That doesnít make any sense," Janet said. "Sam
doesnít talk much about anything personal, but something like this is
different. I would have expected her to be putting Jacobs on report
"Yeah, you and me both," OíNeill
growled as he led the way down to the lab.
Janet could almost see the red flare of
anger as an aura around his head. She took a moment to wonder why his
feelings were so strong: though she knew he had been attracted to Sam in
the past, she also knew (thanks to OíNeillís effusive reaction to
morphine) that his feelings had mellowed into the intense friendship
that comes with being teammates in a dangerous line of work.
Then Janet took a moment to wonder
precisely why OíNeillís current depth of emotion was causing
a surge of jealousy to rise in her own chest. It wasnít like she and
Sam were anything more than friends.
"I hate bullies," OíNeill
stated flatly, as if he had read Janetís mind and was answering the
first part of her question. "I hate people who think their size and
strength give them the power to do anything to anybody."
Janet patted his arm, in a clumsy gesture
of sympathy, and then abruptly they reached their destination. Janet
couldnít resist a shocked gasp as she took in the scene. Tealíc was
sitting on Jacobs, who was struggling to get out from under the Jaffa.
Jacobs looked bad, with rising bruises on his face and small cuts lacing
his arms. But Sam looked worseóher face bruised and scraped, blood
streaming down from two nasty lacerations across her forehead.
As Janet stared at her friend, she fought
to steady her breathing and snap herself into doctor mode. She noted
almost absently that Samís clothes had been ripped in several places.
Sam sat stone-like on a tabletop, and
didnít look up as Janet approached for a cursory exam. OíNeillís
voice was dangerously calm as he asked, "So, Carter, what happened
Sam regarded the floor with casual
interest, but Janet had a hand on Samís arm and could feel the tension
flooding the other woman. "Nothing, Sir," Sam said quietly.
From under Tealíc, Jacobs called out,
"Like she said, Colonel, thereís no problem."
Janet looked up and saw OíNeillís
face set more firmly into a mask of disgust. Janet left Samís side and
went over to OíNeill. "Sir," she whispered, "let me get
Jacobs patched up and then you and Tealíc can take him somewhere else
while I see to Sam. I donít know that sheíll tell me what happened,
but I think Iíll have a better chance than anyone else." He
nodded and she moved over to Jacobs.
Tealíc climbed off of the man, but kept
a firm grip on him as he forced Jacobs to sit on the floor.
Moving quickly, professionally, and none
too gently, Janet did a brief exam, first examining the manís bruises
and then applying alcohol to the cuts on his arms.
"Dammit, Doc, that hurts!"
OíNeill muttered something that Janet
was just as happy to not have heard.
Her voice crisp, she instructed her
patient to "stop squirming and it wonít hurt as much." She
then turned her attention to the manís left hand. Three of his fingers
were broken and Janet winced at the thought that even the pain of his
hand had not slowed Jacobs down. OíNeill gave her an approving glance
as she set the bones in one finger, wringing a cry from Jacobs.
Janet turned her attention briefly to
Sam, to see what her reaction to his expression of pain would be. If
anything, the sound seemed to have caused Sam to go even more rigid with
tension, though she continued to stare at the floor with a carefully
Janet hurried through setting his other
two fingers, and then Tealíc and OíNeill stood Jacobs between them.
"Ok, Jacobs," OíNeill said, as if heíd finally made up his
mind about the situation, "weíre gonna go have a little talk
before I drag your ass to Hammondís office."
Janet gaped in shock as Jacobs snarled
something nearly unintelligible, with only the phrase "that fucking
bitch ruining my career" distinguishable. With a violent burst of
energy, he threw Tealíc sideways and shoved OíNeill backwards. Both
men landed hard on the ground, and judging by their expressionsóthey
couldnít believe Jacobsí strength.
Jacobs shoved past Janet, knocking her
down as well, and then launched himself at Carter. Sam stared, frozen,
at the man approaching her, and Janet found herself thinking of a deer
caught in headlights. Janet heard the sound of a hand striking flesh,
saw Sam knocked off the table into a heap on the floor, and watched in
horror as Jacobs kicked Sam violently in the ribs.
Tealíc and OíNeill both regained
their feet and nearly had a hold of Jacobs, when the man convulsed and
collapsed, landing on top of Carter.
With no trace of concern for the
unconscious man, Tealíc pulled Jacobs off of Carter and shoved him
aside. Janet struggled to her feet and took the manís pulse. It was
racing and erratic, and spasms racked his body. "Get a medical team
down here now!" Janet commanded Tealíc, who sprinted out
of the room with more speed than she would have expected from a man his
size. She fumbled for a syringe and injected the contents into Jacobs,
noting that his convulsions slowed a little.
Then, she turned her attention to Sam,
who remained in a heap and whose eyes were suspiciously glassy. OíNeill
stood uncomfortable and helpless, and Janet told him to take Jacobsí
pulse, just so heíd have something to do.
She placed a gentle hand on Samís
shoulder, and squeezed very lightly. "Itís going to be okay,
Sam gave the barest of nods in response,
and Janet turned back to the emergency happening in front of her. Tealíc
ushered the medical team in and she gave them a brief over-view of the
scene and the drug she had administered.
The medics hauled Jacobs out on a
stretcher and Matthews, the doctor on duty, met Janetís eyes. "Iím
no expert in illicit drugs," he said, "but Iíll bet a yearís
salary that his toxicology screen will show lots of them." She
nodded her agreement, and then he gestured to Carter and asked, "Do
you want me to send someone to help you here, or are you coming down to
Janet shook her head. "Weíll come
down to the infirmary in a little while. But I donít need any help;
right now I think the fewer people around, the better." He nodded
and ran after his newest charge.
OíNeill gestured Tealíc to a guardian
position at the lab door, as Janet reached out to help Sam into a
sitting position. OíNeill squatted down in front of the women, so that
he was at eye-level. "Look, Carter," he began uncertainly,
"I think I know why you didnít want to tell me what
Janet had one arm around Samís back,
and she felt the womanís body go rigid with tension again at the
OíNeill didnít seem to notice as he
continued, "Given how Jacobs was acting, I can understand that you
would be worried about him taking revenge on you later for putting him
on report. But I guarantee that he will not be at the SGC any longer to
even have a chance at coming after you."
Janet didnít claim to be a mind reader,
but she was fairly sure that the thought of Jacobs taking revenge was
not the main reason for Samís reticence. The emotions Janet was
picking up from her friend seemed to be only distantly related to the
actual physical assaultóthough Janet had no idea why she was so
certain of that.
OíNeill glanced at Sam and said,
"I donít want to ask this, Carter, but do you have any idea why
Jacobs came after you?" Sam swallowed hard and shook her head
Janet could tell Sam was lying with the
gesture, and she jumped in to keep OíNeill from figuring that out.
(Normally Janet wouldnít have helped cover up a lie, but something
about the fear in Samís demeanor overrode Janetís conscience.)
"Sir, with someone like Jacobs, does there have to be a reason? I
mean, you know as well as I do that he is a nasty manómaybe Sam was
just the first victim he came across when he decided to go out and beat
up on someone."
She could feel a small part of the
tension drain from Samís body as the Colonel nodded thoughtfully at
her words. "Youíve got a good point there, Doc." He paused
for a moment. "I think Tealíc and I will head down to the
infirmary and then report to General Hammond. Iíll let him know that
youíll report to him as soon as Carter is a little more ready for a
Sam lifted her head and Janet could feel
her struggle to keep her voice steady. "Thank you, Sir. I meanÖfor
OíNeill started to reach out and pat
her shoulder, and then thought better of it. "Itíll be ok,
Carter," he said, with unusual warmth, and then he and Tealíc
left the women alone.
Janet helped Sam get off the floor and
sit on the tabletop, and then she reached for her medical bag. Sam
stared listlessly at the wall while Janet cleaned the lacerations on her
forehead and probed delicately at the bruised face. But when Janet
reached out to touch Samís ripped shirt the blonde jerked back as if
sheíd been struck.
"Sam, I know this is hard for you.
But I need to check you out, to know how badly youíve been hurt."
Janet stood very still, watching a tremor work its way down Carterís
spine. She kept her voice soft and soothing as she continued, "If
youíd be more comfortable, someone else can examine youóthat wouldnít
Sam kept her eyes averted, but gave a
single, emphatic, shake of the head.
Janet studied the other woman for a long
moment and when she thought it was safe, she reached out again. She felt
a surge of gratitude that Sam didnít pull away, and then a surge of
concern because Carter was once again rigid with tension.
Gently, moving slowly, Janet stripped Sam
out of her shirt. She couldnít restrain a gasp at the livid bruises
painting Samís exposed flesh. Her arms, her stomach, and her chest all
bore numerous purpling marks.
There was something vaguely troubling
about the pattern of the marks across Samís stomach, and Janet knit
her brows as she examined the bruises. She leaned in for a closer look,
gently unfastening Samís pants and easing them down Samís hips, and
then Janet took a sharp breath as she realized just what she was seeing.
Janet felt a wave of nausea flood her
body. "Did Major Jacobs attempt to rape you?"
Samís eyes screwed shut and she hung
her head. Janet stood in front of Carter, unexpectedly furious with the
other woman. "Why the hell didnít you tell Colonel OíNeill? Itís
bad enough that he thinks youíre covering up a simple unprovoked
assault. Sam, this is serious stuff. Why the hell are you trying to
protect an asshole like Jacobs?"
Sam opened her eyes and looked up at
Janet. Janet winced at the bitterness reflected. Samís words came in a
rush, as though she said more than she intended. "Maybe itís me
that Iím trying to protect."
Completely puzzled by the revelation,
Janet rested her hand gently on Samís leg, just above her knee. Her
anger faded and her voice reverberated with warmth. "Sam, please
talk to me. Tell me whatís going on."
Carter bit her lip in indecision and her
breathing quickened. Janet could tell from the womanís reaction that
Sam wanted to talk to someone, that Sam desperately needed someone she
could trust. She could also tell that Sam wasnít sure that someone was
"Címon, Sam," Janet pleaded,
"Iím your friend. Thereís nothing you can say to me that will
Sam closed her eyes again and Janet heard
the curious bitterness reflected in her tone. "Youíd be
Janet continued to stand with her hand on
Samís leg, projecting reassurance as hard as she could. Just when she
had decided Sam had turned mute, the blond spoke in a thin whisper, each
word battling its way out of her mouth. "Yes, Jacobs did try to
rape me. And yes, I know why he attacked me."
Janet burned with the desire to ask
questions, but she feared the slightest sound would send Sam scuttling
back into her shell. Instead she waited, spellbound, while Sam fought a
battle against her silent fears.
Samís eyes popped open, fixed on an
empty point in space, her voice still barely reaching Janetís ear,
each word measured. "I never told him, I swear I didnít. But
somehow he found out about meÖfound out I amÖamÖgay.
"I donít know howÖor whoÖI
mean, itís not something I talk about. Ever. I wouldnít even confirm
it when he accused meÖbut he saidÖhe said that since I didnít deny
it, it was the same as if Iíd told him." Her voice trailed off
for a moment. "He kept after me, kept saying all I needed was a
goodÖfuÖfuckÖfrom a real man. I wanted to report him, butÖ"
Janet spoke quietly, suddenly
understanding Samís reticence, filling in the blank. "But with
this policy of ĎDonít ask, donít tell,í how could you report him
without getting yourself in trouble as well?"
Sam nodded, her hands unconsciously
curling into fists. "I thought Iíd scared him off the other day;
I told him if he bothered me again, I would tell General Hammond,
consequences be damned. I guess it just made him mad."
She took a deep breath, and Janet could
see how her body trembled with repressed emotion. Janet moved closer to
her friend. "God, Sam, I am so sorry." She wrapped her arms
around Sam, half expecting Sam to pull away. To her relief and surprise,
Sam rested her head on Janetís shoulder, and her arms tightened around
The two hung in the embrace for what
could have been decades. Janet could think of nothing, save the hurt
woman in her arms, amazed and honored that Sam had actually opened up to
After a while, Sam loosened her grip and
pulled away to look up at Janet. "Iím sorry," she began,
"I didnít meanÖ" Janet cut her off with a light finger on
"You have nothing to apologize for,
Samantha Carter. The only person who should be apologizing is
Jacobs." Janet weighed each word carefully as she spoke, wanting to
make sure Sam felt her sincerity. "Weíre friends, and I meant it
when I said that nothing you could tell me would change that. Iím
honored that you opened up to me, and that you told me what
Sam hung her head, and spoke quietly, as
if she hated having the words come out of her mouth, but needed to say
them anyway. "I meant about the being gay thing. I shouldnít haveÖ"
Once again, Janet laid a soft,
interrupting touch on Carterís mouth. She cupped Samís chin very
gently, mindful of the bruises, and coaxed Samís head up to meet her
gaze. "I know what you meant, and you still donít have anything
to be sorry about. Itís not an issue for me. It doesnít change the
fact that youíre my friend."
She saw the relief flood Samís eyes,
and Janet pulled her into another hug, feeling the tension draining from
the womanís body.
This time it was Janet who broke the
embrace, saying, "As much as I hate to spoil the moment, I imagine
Colonel OíNeill is waiting impatiently for me to bring you down to the
infirmary. Besides, we really need to get you ice-packs for a couple of
Sam took a quick breath, nodding her
head. A trace of fear played under her words as she slid awkwardly off
the table. "I donít want this conversation to go on report."
Janet raised an eyebrow. "As far as
Iím concerned, Major Jacobs attacked you for no apparent reason. You
are in a state of shock, which is why you wouldnít talk to Colonel OíNeill
when he asked you what happened. And if Jacobs tells a different story,
well, as we all know, the man is a liar."
She paused for a moment. "Besides,
this is a confidential conversation between a doctor and a
She helped Sam pull her shirt back on as
she talked, and was caught by surprise as Sam grabbed her hand.
"Janet, IÖI really feel better,
now that you know. Thanks forÖfor being here for me."
The warmth those simple stuttered words
raised in Janetís heart caught her off-guard. She smiled at her
friend, using humor to keep from drowning in the intense blue gaze.
"Well, you know, itís the least I can do for a woman who runs
around routinely saving the universe and stuff."
Sam favored her with a soft laugh, and
Janet grabbed up her medical bag and slid her free arm around Samís
waist. "Lean on me, Sam. Youíve taken some hard blows, and I donít
want you fainting on me on the way to the infirmary. That would make me
look like a pretty incompetent doctor."
Sam grumbled a little, but acquiesced,
and the two made their way out of the room. Janet noted that Sam was
leaning heavily against her, her face lined with exhaustion.
OíNeill looked up when they entered the
infirmary, and Janet was struck by the grimness in his eyes. She looked
around as she helped Sam into an empty bed, surprised to see that OíNeill
"Whereís Dr. Matthews? And what
happened to Jacobs?"
OíNeill opened his mouth to answer, but
the arrival of General Hammond and Tealíc closed it again. Instead, it
was the General who spoke. "Doctor Matthews felt that the Majorís
condition was too serious for us here; he accompanied Jacobs to the
hospital. Given the amount of drugs in his system and our limited
resources for such occurrences here, I allowed the Major to be
transferred, though I am uncomfortable having him off base while this
incident is under investigation."
Janet stared at the General, incredulous.
"They canít possibly have gotten the toxicology screen back so
He agreed, saying, "They didnít.
But one of your nurses has ER experience. He worked in a hospital that
dealt with a lot of drug cases, and he is positive that Major Jacobs is
high as the proverbial kite."
A muffled sound showed OíNeillís
amusement with the Generalís choice of phrases. Janet felt the tug of
a smile on her own lips, so she turned to Sam to hide the reaction.
Hammond spared OíNeill a long-suffering
glance before walking over to stand beside Carter. OíNeill and Tealíc
also moved in closer to the wounded woman.
While they flanked her on one side, Janet
moved around the bed to stand on the other side. Sam looked
uncomfortable with the ring of faces surrounding her, and Janet reached
out to press her fingers against Samís wrist. She hoped fervently that
no one would ask what Samís pulse was, since she didnít have the
slightest idea; her touch was intended solely to reassure the other
The General spoke in a lower voice than
his usual boom. "I realize this is not a pleasant experience to
recount, but I need to know what happened."
Janet jumped in before Sam could answer.
"This needs to be brief, Sir. Sheís still in a state of shock.
Thatís why she wouldnít say anything to Colonel OíNeill
Hammond looked irritated as he met Janetís
eyes. "Iím aware of that, Doctor," he said curtly.
Sam cleared her throat self-consciously,
drawing all the attention back on herself. She gave a very brief account
of what happened, following Janetís earlier lead that Jacobs had
attacked her without provocation. Lowering her head, Carter admitted
that Jacobs had tried to rape her.
OíNeill slammed a fist against his own
leg and muttered something to Tealíc that Janet couldnít hear.
Apparently, General Hammond heard it
because he shot an icy glance at him. "Do you have something to
add?" Hammond challenged. OíNeillís response was a quick shake
of the head.
Janet watched as Sam sank back against
the pillow, and she caught the Generalís attention. "Sir, I
really think it would be best if we continued this some other time. Samís
been through a lot and really needs some rest."
A very young nurse chose that moment to
burst through the door with a ringing cell phone, causing everyone but
Tealíc to start in alarm. Faced with annoyed faces, the nurse
stuttered, "It belongs to Dr. Matthews, the phone, I mean, and I
donít know what I should do about it, I mean, what would I say?"
"The usual option would be to answer
it and say ĎHelloí," shot OíNeill as Janet walked over to the
nurse, grabbed the phone, and answered it in a quiet voice.
She waved the nurse out of the room and
turned her back on her companions, though she was aware of their curious
"Well?" queried OíNeill, as
Janet shut the phone off without saying good-bye. She turned to once
again face the others.
"Well, that was Dr. Matthews. He
called to tell us that Major Jacobs is dead. They are still waiting for
the toxicology confirmation and will have to do an autopsy, but the
doctors are certain it was a self-administered drug overdose."
For a long moment, no one moved. Janet
wasnít even sure anyone was breathing, aware only of an oppressive
Oddly enough, it was Tealíc who broke
the silence. "It appears matters have resolved themselves without
the necessity of our intervention," he stated to OíNeill. The
Colonel nodded and General Hammond turned to the two men, aggravation
written across his face.
While the General gave them his lecture
on going through channels, Janet returned to Samís side, her fingers
once again seeking out the womanís wrist. Sam looked up at Janet, her
expression unreadable. Janet could see the pallor of Samís face even
through the bruises, and cleared her throat to catch the Generalís
He broke off mid-lecture and turned to
Janet. "Given the new circumstances, I donít think we need to
continue this at the moment. Major Carterís unofficial statement will
be sufficient for now, especially since Iíll pretty much have my hands
full dealing with the hospitalís report on Jacobs. Will she be
released from the infirmary by tomorrow?"
Janet nodded and said, "Iíll
probably release her tonight; despite her injuries, there will be no
real reason to keep her captive down here after I finish my
treatment." Janet shot a fond smile at Sam. "I donít know
why, but everyone seems to hate spending time in the infirmary."
Samís expression didnít change, but
she cocked her head ever so slightly to the side in acknowledgement, and
Janet felt herself warmed by the gesture.
His voice softened as he addressed
Carter. "Weíll get your formal report tomorrow, and have your
psychological evaluation. And then I am putting you on official leave
for the next two weeks. Get yourself away from the base, and take some
time to rest, and try and put this incident behind you."
Carter took a shaky breath and Janet
could feel, through her touch on Samís wrist, that the other woman was
less than pleased with the proclamation. Sam spoke steadily, though
Janet could see what a struggle she had to keep her voice even.
"Sir, I really think I need to work. I need something to keep
The Generalís tone rang firm, but Janet
noted that his gaze was kind. "Major Carter," Hammond said,
"I understand that feeling, but I donít really have any limited
duty assignments that would keep a mind of your caliber occupied."
Sam chewed her lip and seemed to find her
lap to be of intense interest.
Janet glanced at Sam and suddenly
inspiration knocked her over the head. Janet would have completely
agreed with the leave time, had the patient been anyone other than Sam.
But Janet knew very well that simply sending Sam home would not achieve
the effect the General intended. She caught Hammondís gaze, and spoke
quickly, even though she knew his last statement had been intended as a
"Sir, if everything checks out with
the psych evaluation, why not let Sam help me with my research projects?
Iím off active duty for a few days to try and get my backlog under
control, and her help would be invaluable. Medically speaking, I can
keep an eye on her more easily if sheís here. And it would only be for
five days, because then I am taking a weekís leaveÖ"
She let her voice trail off and turned
her gaze back to Sam, who looked up to meet her eyes. Janet could easily
read the glimmer of hope in the blue gaze as the General considered the
idea. Sam surreptitiously turned her wrist in Janetís loose grasp and
pressed her long fingers against Janetís in a silent "thank
Hammond frowned as he considered her
words. "Are you sure thatís a good idea, Doctor?" he
Janet met his frown with one of her own,
annoyed that the General had questioned her expertise. Her tone was
hardened steel. "Sir, I know better than anyone the injuries Major
Carter has sustained. Iím also not proposing that she do anything more
complicated than sit at a desk and confirm research findings, which is
probably more rest than she would get if she were at home. I realize
this is not usual protocol, but I am of the opinion that it is in the
best interest of my patient."
Hammond met Fraiserís eyes, and he
offered a brief nod. "If itís what you think is best, Doctor,
then Iíll let you be responsible for her care. She can help with the
research projects, but I donít want her around the SGC without your
presence. Sheíll simply have to take time away while you are on
Janet felt the sudden urge to ask when
her job description had been updated to read "24/7 babysitter"
(as well as the urge to ask why they were discussing Sam as if she was
not even in the room), but then she noticed OíNeill mimicking the
Generalís manner behind his back.
At the sight, her annoyance faded, chased
away by a sudden urge to giggle. "Thank you, Sir," she said
simply, afraid that her amusement could not remain contained if she said
anything more complicated.
She glanced back at Sam and was pleased
to see the ghost of a smile flit across the bruised face as Sam caught a
glimpse of OíNeillís antics. The blonde woman wrenched her attention
back to the General. "Thank you, Sir," she echoed Janet.
The General moved forward and patted
Carterís shoulder kindly. "Get some rest, Major. Iím sorry this
unfortunate incident ever happened. Weíll talk more tomorrow."
She nodded and he left the room, calling out to OíNeill and Tealíc
to report to his office as soon as was convenient.
OíNeill moved close in to the bed, Tealíc
shadowing him. "Well, I suppose Iíd better go see what General
Janet gave a short laugh. "He
probably wants to lecture you about doing public impersonations of
OíNeill gave a one-shouldered shrug.
"Look, Carter," he began, "get yourself better. Weíll
do our best to keep this thing behind closed doors."
Carter looked up at the Colonel.
"Thank you, Sir," she said quietly. "I really appreciate
everything youíve done for me. I owe you big time."
Janet watched, grinning wickedly, as OíNeill
squirmed under Carterís sincere gaze; OíNeill hated displays of
affection and sympathy and, well, emotion in general.
"No you donít, Major," he
said quickly. "Hell, Carter, Iím just trying to catch up for all
the times youíve saved all our butts. You know, all that science
mumbo-jumbo stuff you pull out of your asÖI meanÖyour hat. Well,
anyway, if it wasnít for you, I think the Doc is the only one who
would be here, so itís just strictly a returning the favor sort of
Janet bit her lip, trying hard not to
laugh aloud as Tealíc jumped in to save OíNeill from the
embarrassing pit he was digging deeper with each word.
Tealíc said, "I think that Major
Carter has sufficient grasp of what you are attempting to say. General
Hammond is awaiting our arrival."
OíNeill flushed and turned quickly
away, as Tealíc offered a brief phrase of comfort to Carter. The Jaffa
put a hand on the Colonelís back and propelled him out of the room.
The moment they left, Janet could no
longer restrain herself. She collapsed against the side bar of Samís
bed, laughing hysterically. Tears streamed down her face and she was
only vaguely aware of Sam patting her back lightly. She managed to pull
herself together, recalling Samís condition to the front of her mind.
She stood and wiped hastily at her eyes with the sleeve of her shirt.
Janet looked down at Sam, relieved to see
that a tiny smile creased Samís mouth. Still giddy with laughter,
Janet said the first thing that came to mind. "God, itís good to
see you smile. Youíve given me a hell of a scare."
Sam exhaled quickly, and the smile faded
into a grimace. Janet sobered immediately at the change in mood as Sam
whispered, "You and me both." She screwed her eyes shut as if
the images of the attack were dancing around in the empty infirmary air.
"I thoughtÖI thoughtÖ"
Janet reached out lightly and stroked a
comforting path through Samís hair. She took it as a good sign when
Sam didnít pull away, and when Sam took a long, deep breath. Janet
said softly, "I know." In truth, she wasnít sure she did
know, but she felt like the phrase needed to be spoken. "Iím just
glad youíre safe," she continued.
Samís eyes popped open at that. The
smile came back to dust her lips and Janet felt a warm rush of
tenderness. She pushed that feeling to one side and with a last caress
of Samís hair, reverted back to doctor mode. She busied herself with
icepacks and then examined the lacerations cutting across Samís
forehead. Janet tensed as she saw Sam wince under her ministrations, but
Sam made no sound.
Janet gently probed the cuts, and then
told Sam, "Iím afraid these wounds need stitches." Sam
nodded her understanding. Janet lowered her voice to say, "I know
you really donít want to talk about this, but I need to know what he
cut you with, so that I know what exactly Iím dealing with here."
Sam examined the far wall with studious
care, but answered in a fairly steady voice. "He broke a specimen
jar against the wall and used one of the pieces on me before I got it
away from him."
Now it was Janetís turn to wince, her
imagination supplying more images than she cared to contemplate. Sam
must have noticed her reaction; the Major laid one hand on the doctorís
Janet, caught off-guard, locked her gaze
with Samís. She was surprised to see the depths of concern in Samís
eyes, and the one corner of her mind that was still operating rationally
found it interesting that their roles in the current drama had
Sam spoke quietly. "Are you okay,
Janet?" It seemed to Janet that Sam wanted to say more, but didnít
have the right words.
Janet shook off her own reaction and
covered Samís reassuring hand with her own. "This isnít exactly
how I wanted to spend the evening. But I think, under the circumstances,
that Iím doing a lot better than you are."
Sam nodded briefly, accepting the
statement as what Janet intendedóa reprieve from reliving the emotions
of the evening in too much detail. Both women seemed somehow aware that
there was a whole untouched conversation ready to break forth that
neither had the energy to begin, let alone finish.
Without another word, Janet gave Sam a
surface anesthetic and proceeded to stitch up the ugly lacerations.
Right as she finished, Dr. Matthews stepped through the doorway, a lot
more jovial than Janet would have expected under the circumstances.
She raised an eyebrow and he winked at
her. "Well, it appears that my initial diagnosis was correct.
Jacobs had a lot of illicit drugs in his body. Frankly, the hospital doc
is surprised he managed to run around as long as he did. And Iím sure
you will both be pleased to know that everything is being handled off
Janet gave a simple nod in response. He
raised an eyebrow at her silence, and then did a visual exam of Carter.
He turned again to Fraiser. "Thanks for patching up my
patient," he said.
Janet laughed briefly at that.
"Sorry, Matthews. Sheís my patient now. You got to have
He shuddered in mock horror, not
bothering to hide the contempt he had felt for the man. Janet took a
moment to wonder if anyone would mourn the dead Major. She glanced at
Sam, whose face indicated she was wondering the same thing.
Before either woman could get swept up in
that train of thought, Matthews intervened, albeit unknowingly.
"So, is your patient staying the night, or can I release her into
your care? Given those lacerations, I donít want her staying by
herself for at least 24 hours."
Janet glanced at Sam, as if for an
opinion. Sam licked her lips self-consciously. "I can just stay
here. I donít want to be any bother," she started.
That statement made up Janetís mind.
"You can release her into my care." She saw Samís mouth open
to protest, and spoke quickly. "Sam, honestly, you wonít be any
bother, and I think youíd be a lot more comfortable at my house than
here. And General Hammond already has assigned you to my care."
Samís lips curved into a faint smile
and Janet pressed her advantage. "Besides, Cassie is spending the
next three weeks at the summer camp run by her school, so I need someone
to look after." At that statement, a full smile lit Samís face,
and Janet smiled in response.
Janet agreed with Matthews that Sam
shouldnít be alone, though her reasons had nothing to do with the
physical injuries. Her sole concern was Samís emotional state. And she
was pleased to note that the normally stoic Sam didnít seem to want to
be alone either.
Matthews, whose sensitive personality
ranked right up there with Colonel OíNeillís, was oblivious to any
undercurrent of emotion. He gave Carter another brief visual survey,
told Janet to keep Carter from doing anything strenuous, and then
sauntered off to search for his young, wayward nurse.
The two women simply stared at each other
for a moment, then Janet came around to help Sam out of bed. Sam clung
awkwardly to Janetís arm and said, "I feel like Iím made out of
Janet said helpfully, "Well, enjoy
it while you can, since by tomorrow youíll be stiff as a board."
Samís answering look had four letter
words written all over it.
* * * * * *
An hour later, the two were curled on
Janetís couch. Sam lay on her side, eyes fixed on the fire crackling
merrily in the fireplace. It seemed an odd time to have a fire, since it
was nearly July, but Janet had decided she wanted the comfort of the
flames. And now, watching Samís eyes filled with flickering light,
Janet was glad sheíd followed her impulse.
Janet took another sip of wine and then
turned her attention back to the macaroni and cheese she was eating. She
had made it for Sam, hoping to get some food into her. Sam had managed
only about three bites before setting the bowl aside. Janet didnít
push the issue, knowing Sam was still in shock.
Hell, Iím still in shock, Janet
thought, taking another sip of wine, noting absently that red wine went
rather well with macaroni, using the latter observation as proof of the
She finished her meal, lying back against
the arm of the couch, stretching her legs out and settling them on top
of Samís curled legs. The blond jumped in shock at the touch, as if
she had forgotten her companion entirely, then relaxed as she realized
the touch came from Janet. Neither woman spoke.
Samís whole awareness seemed captivated
by the fire. Janet found herself captivated by Sam. She studied the
other woman, as if seeing her for the first time. In a way, she felt she
was, given the new information she had learned from Sam earlier.
It wasnít that Janet suddenly saw Sam
in a different light because she was gay. It was just that a lot of
things seemed to make complete sense to Janet for the first time.
There was the way Sam held everyone at
arms length, even though Janet knew she cared deeply for those around
her. There was the way she avoided any mention of relationships and
family, the way she skipped past any questions about her personal life.
Janet knew some of that behavior was simply Sam being a work-obsessed
scientist, but now she could see that there was another reason for it.
Janet realized, of course, that she was simply speculating, but she knew
Sam better than most people and her new observations made perfect sense.
Janet broke away from her rambling
thoughts when she noticed what felt like a mini-earthquake under her
legs. She sat up as she realized Samís whole body was shaking: whether
with emotion or with cold, Janet couldnít tell.
Janet reached out a tentative hand to
rest on one of Samís legs. The other woman jerked her attention away
from the fire, glazed blue eyes staring guilelessly up at Janet.
"Are you cold, Sam?" Janet
asked simply, her hand patting a soft rhythm against Samís thigh.
The blonde shook her head, her body still
shivering. She managed to stutter, "JustÖoverwhelmed. Too many
Janet suddenly knew, with a certainty
that left her willing to believe in psychic ability, that this was not
the first time Sam had been attacked for the simple reason that she
loved women instead of men. She stared into the open blue eyes, reading
the layers of hurt that normally stayed hidden, seeing the twin flashes
of fear and shame.
Janet kept her voice low and soft.
"How many times has this happened, Sam?"
Another tremor shook Samís body, and
she looked back to the flames, as if for guidance. "This is theÖthe
second time Iíve beenÖassaultedÖbecause of being gay."
Despite her own foresight, Janet felt the
pangs of shock radiating through her body. And suddenly, she had
to knowóneeded to knowówhat had happened the other time. She
wondered why the need for knowledge was so intense, but tucked the
question away since no answer was forthcoming.
She still had her hand on Samís leg in
a soft caress, and she asked quietly, "Was the other assault this
The tiniest of laughs reached her ear. A
long moment later, Sam answered, her eyes suddenly bright with the tears
sheíd been holding in all day. "It was worse."
And before her brain could even tell her
it was a bad idea, Janet blurted out, "You were raped the other
time, werenít you?"
And then the flood of tears hit Sam; she
broke into painful sobs, but still managed to nod in response to the
Janet felt her own tears welling up: she
felt a sense of guilt for forcing the issue, but a sense of relief that
Sam seemed to be releasing a few of her demons.
Not knowing what else to do, Janet
reached out, and pulled Sam into a sitting position, and folded her in a
tight embrace. She was surprised at how readily Sam clung to her. And,
truth be told, she was amazed at being allowed to see Sam in such a
They held onto each other as if they were
the only tangible things in the universe, and Janet found herself crying
just as hard as Sam, feeling a sense of grief that anyone had to endure
that kind of pain, feeling a sense of anguish that anyone would be
attacked simply because of who they loved.
When Samís sobs tapered down to small
hiccups, Janet pulled back to stare deep into the tear stained face. The
sight of the red eyes and the purple bruises tore at Janetís heart.
"Iím sorry, Sam," Janet muttered. "I didnít mean to
Sam swallowed hard. "Iíve never
talked about this beforeÖ"
She laid her head on Janetís shoulder
and Janet reached up to stroke Samís hair. "I canít even begin
to imagine what itís been like for you, Sam. Simply being attacked is
bad enough, but not feeling able to talk about what happened or whyÖ"
Janet could hear the anger flaring in her
own voice as her words skidded to a halt, not sure what else to say.
She opted to stay silent, and then Sam
offered unexpectedly, "I never had anyone I felt I could trust,
She snuggled tighter against Janet and
the doctor felt the weight of guilt lift from her heart. Janet knew she
had pushed harder than she should have, but she felt reassured that Sam
had confided in her because she wanted to and not simply because she had
For a long while, neither Janet nor Sam
spoke, they just held each other and watched the fire die down to
embers. Finally, Janet was struck by a sudden sense of fatigue. "I
think maybe we ought to head to bed. Tomorrow is going to be hell if we
donít at least try to get some sleep."
She felt the motion as Sam nodded her
There was a slight tension in Samís
voice as she asked, "Could I sleep with you tonight? IÖwellÖif
you donít wantÖ" Her words trailed off, as if she suddenly
thought better of asking to share a bed with Janet after confiding in
Janet that she was gay.
Janet felt a rush of sorrow as she
recognized the reason for Samís discomfort, a rush of sorrow that
because of that one little piece of knowledge, they were closer friends
who suddenly had an awkward bridge between them.
She knew Sam well enough to know Sam
would be tentative around her for a while, not wanting to offend her in
any way. Sam might argue a lot and state her opinions clearly in her
role as a soldier, but Janet had seen the sensitive side of the woman,
and knew that Sam had an empathic streak a mile wide.
"To be honest, Sam, I was going to
ask if you would mind sleeping with me. Itís been a fairly traumatic
day all the way around, and I would feel a lot better just having you
next to me."
Janet wrestled herself off the couch and
held out a hand to help Sam up, noting the relief flickering in the blue
eyes. She slid her arm around Samís waist, and was gratified when Sam
let herself lean against her.
They made their way to the bedroom and
Janet helped Sam get ready for bed. Once the blonde was tucked snugly
under the blankets, and settled as comfortably as her injuries would
allow, Janet went through her own preparations. She slid smoothly under
the covers, and rolled onto her side to take a last look at Sam.
Sam had fallen asleep already, her face
relaxing in slumber. Janet studied her for a long time, amazed at the
sudden realization of just how attractive Sam was, bruises and all. She
took a moment to ponder that, reaching out to brush a feather of hair
off Samís forehead.
It wasnít that she just suddenly
noticed her friendís physical beautyóeven a life lived in fatigues
and battle gear couldnít hide Samís looks. Janet came to the
somewhat startling conclusion that it was the sense of vulnerability and
trust that she was attracted to. The two women had entered a very
intimate space in the course of a single day, and Janet found that her
feelings had intensified to the point that she could almost imagine
herself falling in love with the woman lying next to her.
"Geez, Fraiser, get a grip,"
she whispered to herself. "Youíre still in shock. Thereís
nothing between you and Sam other than friendship."
Giving herself a mental shake, Janet
turned to her other side and turned off the light on the night table.
She leaned back over and pressed a small kiss to Samís temple.
"Sweet dreams, Sam."
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