Title: The Face of an Angel
Author: Jackie O'Neill Nut
Category: hurt/comfort/drama/angst ... erm?
Pairings: not really ... sort of ... but Sam and Jack centric
Spoilers: Unnatural Selection, New Order
Season: season 8
Sequel/Series Info: None
Content Level: 13+
Content Warnings: violence, language – my usual stuff
Summary: The temptation of another trip through the gate for our
General Jack is waaay too strong ... ever really wished you
could turn the clock back???
Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1, its characters
and all related entities are property of Stargate SG-1 Productions (II)
Inc., MGM Worldwide Television Productions Inc., Double Secret Productions,
Gekko Film Corp and Showtime Networks Inc / The SciFi Channel. No copyright
infringement is intended.
File Size (kb): 136 kb or 40 ish pages
Archive: Jackfic of course
This was written for the Jackfic-a-thon challenge – I’ve put the challenge at the end – I hope I fulfilled it.
To Neet, a marvellous beta, a patient
ear and great orbs – ooops don’t kill me! Thank
you once again – take a bow ! and
To all of Jackfic, thanks for being there, and to a great list Mom, thank you for everything ... can you spot Arnise and Hoo and Neet???(answers on a postcard to Santa Claus please!) To Hoo and Neet for all their hard work – thank you!
Please read on
“Not now Daniel, please,” said Jack, frowning as his hand swept across his desk and met with yet another pile of papers.
“Um, Jack, I know you’re busy, but the Esinra really won’t take no for an answer.”
“Really? You actually simply said ‘no’!” Jack raised his right eyebrow slightly in disbelief as he resumed scratching the papers in front of him with his pen.
Daniel sighed and sat down heavily in the chair opposite his friend. He knew he’d have a fight on his hands, having been mentally dismissed by the ever busy General.
“Jaack,” he began.
“Daniel,” responded the General, his tone light, yet still not looking at him.
Daniel pulled himself closer to the desk.
“Look, how about if I go to the
Jack’s hand stopped in mid signature. “Go talk ... as in go talk on their planet?”
“Um, yes, of course. They won’t come here and this seems the only way forward ... of course I don’t actually understand why they are insisting on you.” Daniel pretended to be oblivious of the bait he had just thrown to the General, the General who was getting antsy and thoroughly bored behind his desk.
“When do we leave?”
Daniel did a double-take at this sudden turn of events.
“Well, we can leave first thing in the morning.”
“And you’ll do the
“I said I would.”
“Just making sure, Daniel.”
“The Asgard won’t be coming back for a while. They’ve set everything up, just needs you to do your ... ahem usual.”
“Cool, almost forgot what the gate looks like.”
“Jack, you see it everyday,” said Daniel with a grin, deliberately being obtuse.
“Ack!” exclaimed Jack, holding out a hand in submission. “Go do ... well whatever, I’ll sort out cover here and we can go play softly softly with the aliens.”
Daniel grinned as he rose, the thought of Jack ever doing anything remotely softly softly was amusing. “See you at the briefing then? O’seven hundred?”
Jack nodded and continued to work through his papers, lost in the sea of never ending ink ...”
Eleven hundred hours the next day found Daniel and Jack sitting inside the huge over decorated palace decreed by the Esinra as a suitable negotiating place.
SG teams four and five, were divided between the gate and the palace, keeping an eye out for any possible trouble.
The Esinra had argued amongst themselves for over three hours. The translators had long ago given up translating and Daniel was hard pressed trying to keep up with the little he had learned. General Jack O’Neill had long since just given up!
“See Daniel, I knew coming here was a mistake. I can’t lock them up here.”
“Hush, they’ll hear you. Some of them do understand,” Daniel whispered fiercely.
Jack drummed his fingers idly on the table, before looking around the room again, seeking something to take his interest. He cursed his ready acceptance of this meeting in order to just get his ass through the gate again ... next time he would hold out a bit longer ... perhaps.
‘Boring,’ taunted his inner voice. “Ahem, where’s the facilities?” he asked aloud.
“The Oho are back through the hall and up the stairs,” answered Daniel without taking his eyes off the leaders.
“The facilities ... Oho ...” responded Daniel, functioning on auto-pilot as his concentration was still on the leaders.
“Mmm... Oh Oh ... Okaaay, won’t be long.”
Jack made his way out of the room, managing to avoid the questioning looks briefly slung his way. He followed Daniel’s directions and soon found what he was seeking.
Sighing with reluctance to rejoin the babble back in the hall he decided a brief sojourn further along the corridor wouldn’t hurt. He took his time peering into odd rooms as he went, noticing that the opulence of the palace decreased the further he moved along.
A particularly stunning view of the hills caught his eye and he stood in rapt attention for a moment or two, before reluctantly stepping back and turning to re-trace his steps. He flinched as he turned, surprised at the sudden presence of a figure standing close to him.
“Jeez Carter, you shouldn’t sneak up on me like that ... is something up? I thought you were with SG2 on ... whatever?”
“Sorry Sir,” said Sam Carter with an apologetic smile.
“You could have given an old guy a heart attack like that ... what’s happened?”
“You’re needed back at the SGC Sir. There’s an urgent matter that can’t wait. The Tok’ra have contacted us and they need assistance with Ettenyl.
“The Goa’uld who’s ...
Jack raised a hand, frowning. “Uh that Goa’uld who’s gone up the promotion ladder since we kicked Anubis’s ass?”
Jack didn’t wait for the agreement from Carter, he sighed and turned to go back towards the delegates’ hall.
“Oh dear, just as I was enjoying myself,” he said with a grin as he half turned towards the Colonel. Sam Carter smiled in return and dropped back a step to let the General proceed through the doorway.
The floor that leapt up and hit Jack O’Neill hard on his knees hurt; hurt almost as badly as the blow that rendered him senseless...
Jack’s senses slowly began to ascend back to a more familiar plain of existence ... the world of pain. His head felt like it had been thrust into a block of concrete, sparks of pain spreading along his face and neck as he concentrated on trying to discern if anyone was nearby, watching him. There was only silence around him and he shifted slightly, trying to dispel some of the numbness from his heavy limbs. He realised he wasn’t tied down at all, but was far from comfortable on the cold surface... floor… slab? Certainly it was no nice soft bed ... not even a hard infirmary bed, one which he would have surely welcomed as an alternative at the moment...
Risking the threat of further pain, he peered from beneath his lashes. The grayness surrounding him told him nothing, but the absence of direct light was welcoming to his senses, if nothing else.
“Okaaay,” he whispered to himself, “this was so not part of the plan.”
He eased himself up and peered around the bland room he found himself in. His brain came up with the fact that Carter was nowhere to be seen and yet she had been with him just before he was struck down.
As he sat up, the pain from his head threatened to overwhelm him and he stilled for a moment, breathing deeply to regain his balance and hold back the nausea that threatened to rise.
“Knew I should have stayed home today,” he cursed quietly and got himself to a standing position, leaning heavily against the hard stone slab that had served as a bed.
He realised that not only his vest, but his jacket and all his equipment had been removed, leaving him dressed only in his t-shirt and pants.
“Well, still got my boots,” he gave a wry grin and moved unsteadily towards where he thought a door should be.
The thought that not only had he been captured, but Carter as well, gave him an added incentive and he painstakingly checked around the room. Eventually he had to admit defeat and sank down against a wall to rest; the intensity of his throbbing headache threatening to send him once again into unconsciousness.
Jack started, his head jerking up at the familiar voice.
“Crap Carter, I thought I’d warned you about that ... where the hell did you come from? Are you okay?” he added.
As he tried to push himself up from the floor, Carter moved closer to him and held out her hand, grasping his to help him upright.
“Where are we?” Jack eyed her briefly, letting go of her hand, before looking around to try to spot where she had literally sprung from.
“We’re under the hall,” she responded briefly.
“Under? How? What’s going on?”
Sam smiled at him, but the smile didn’t reach her eyes.
“Carter?” asked Jack. He knew something was ‘off’ ... his senses were rockin ’n’ rolling, but he still knew ‘off’ when it came up and hit him.
“Why Carter?” questioned Sam suddenly, moving away from him, yet still watching him.
“You heard me, ‘Colonel’, Why Carter? Why not Sam?”
“Colonel?” muttered Jack. “Carter, did you get a bump on the head? Let me check you ...” He stepped closer to Carter, putting out his hand towards her, only to find his wrist grasped tightly, and somewhat painfully.
“Crap Carter, what the hell are ....” his words died in his throat as he gazed into the familiar blue eyes... the emptiness shook him.
He pulled his wrist free and he stared into the face of the woman he knew so well. “What have they done to you?”
“Done? They’ve done nothing ...” she taunted and stepped away, walking around him, her body side on to his as she paced around him.
“Carter,” he put a hand out, his puzzlement clear on his face.
“Always Carter... Jack.”
As his eyebrows rose with disbelief at her manner her face broke into a smile. “What’s the matter Jack, you always used to tell me to call you Jack!”
Jack shook his head. He knew that they’d done something to Carter ... drugged? Brainwashed? He grabbed at her arm to still her and pulled her closer.
“Carter, come on ... snap out of it ... you ...” He didn’t complete his words before her fist came up, and with a blow that would have had Teal’c envious, he was knocked off his feet.
Stunned by her attack he rolled as he hit the floor and came up against the wall, hauling himself upright with determination, shaking off the blackness that threatened.
“Christ Carter,” he growled. Keeping a wary eye on her, he stepped to the side as she drew nearer.
Seeing his withdrawal she gave a small laugh, a hollow laugh that made Jack go cold. He tried to reason with his fears – she certainly didn’t sound like a Goa’uld ... but then again, it didn’t mean she wasn’t one...
“Where’s Daniel?” he asked, changing tact.
“Safe? Safe as in not here or safe as in you’re not going to harm him safe?”
Carter took a deep breath then shrugged and smiled. She stepped closer to him.
“Carter, come on, you can fight this,” he urged.
“Perhaps I don’t want to.”
Jack closed his eyes for a brief moment. “Then you just can’t be Carter, she wouldn’t give up.”
“Maybe I’m tired of fighting it,” taunted the woman and she drew close to him.
“Carter, come on shake it off,” he pleaded, his hands rising, grasping her firmly by her shoulders.
Instead of fighting him as he expected, she moved closer, her body almost touching his. He swallowed harshly, steeling himself to look into the lifeless eyes.
“Sam,” she breathed.
“Okaay ... Sam ... look, you gotta dig deep inside, remember who you are ... fight it ... whatever *it* is.”
“I think I need help,” She fixed him with her gaze and tilted her head and before he realized what she was about, she was kissing him.
He tried to pull back, but her strength surprised him as she clung to him.
“Uh ... am...” He twisted and pulled back again, only to find himself against the wall. He pushed against her shoulders as hard as he could, startled to find that the kiss was anything but how he remembered kissing Carter to be.
“Argh,” he cried as she bit down.
She moved away from him, his blood on her lips, her face lit with intensity ... intensity of what Jack was at a loss to describe ... certainly not love...
“What the hell ...” he snarled.
He swiped at the blood that seeped from the gash she had torn from his lips and watched as she delicately tasted the blood that had smeared on hers, her tongue darting out, her eyes frighteningly empty still.
“Who are you?” he asked.
She laughed again. “You know me Jack, I’m your Major ... Major Sam Carter, reporting for duty ... Jack,” she snapped back.
“Major?” he asked. “A bit out of the loop huh?” he frowned.
Her look of puzzlement rewarded him.
“I am she,” she announced and stood still, cocking her head slightly, watching him.
“I don’t know who you are, but you can stop the show now.”
Sam’s lips drew back, showing her teeth, a growl of annoyance coming from them.
“You don’t believe me?” she asked. A small tremble evident in her voice as it dropped in tone, her words sounding sincere.
“How can I convince you?” she murmured softly, her eyelids lowered, regarding him through her long lashes, emitting an air of shyness.
“Cut the crap.” He pushed at her while side stepping, his back still to the wall, the blood from his mouth trickling down his chin.
She moved to stand in front of him. Her eyes closed.
“Help me Jack ... I’m here ... help me,” she whispered.
Jack froze. His instinct was telling him to get the hell away, but his heart and soul were screaming to help her ... anything!
Her eyes opened suddenly, the blue pinning him, cutting him in two with its hardness. She threw her head back and laughed, her arm suddenly letting fly and she backhanded him. His head connected with the hard stone wall and he slid down, blackness enveloping him.
The blackness lifted and he almost felt like he was floating. His eyes were closed ... or were they? There was no sound to indicate what was happening ... nothing, despite how hard he listened ... the floating sensation deepened ... his limbs unresponsive...
“He cannot hear us.”
“You are enjoying this.”
“Yes – yes I am ... I am remembering ...”
“Does he know?”
“No – only that I am not.”
“Daaaaaaaad!” wailed the young voice.
Jack’s mind tensed, his body couldn’t.
“Cha...” he whispered, licking at his dry, sore lips and tried again to speak.
“Charlie?” he cried out hoarsely.
“Daddy ... where are you?”
“Oh God ... no!” he spat vehemently, trying to clear his mind. It was *not* his dead son’s voice he was hearing ... it was not!
“See how he calls to him.”
“He is vulnerable.”
The floating ceased. He felt as though he had landed hard, and his limbs began to respond. The soothing coolness of something against his face made him open his eyes.
“Sir,” the soft voice pleaded.
He focussed on Carter and flinched, trying to draw his head away from her touch.
She looked at him puzzled, her expression conveying hurt.
He rolled to his side, ignoring the blossoming pain in his skull.
She made no attempt to crowd him. The cloth in her hand lowered as she continued to regard him with a puzzled expression.
“You hit your head,” she said quietly.
“Um, yeah, that’s a given,” he peered at her, trying to see her eyes properly in the dim light.
“Sir, are you okay?”
“Where are we?”
“I don’t know. Last thing I remember is talking to you and then something or someone knocked us out.”
Jack raised his hand, pressing his fingers to his lips cautiously, wincing a little as they stung.
“Looks like you hit your face too.”
“Ya think?” he asked.
“What?” she cocked her head as he continued to stare. “You’re looking at me as though you’re seeing a ghost.”
Jack gave himself a mental shake. A nightmare? Was it all a nightmare? He glanced around the room, dark and miserable, stone ... nope – he hadn’t imagined that!
He heard the footsteps coming towards the door – hey door? That wasn’t there before ... no it was a dream....
The door swung open and the tall, dark haired figure of a stranger, entered.
Jack pushed himself upright. “Who the hell are you?”
“Silence!” snapped the figure, the voice deep. “I will ask the questions.”
Jack groaned. “That is so clichéd,” he complained.
The man stepped towards Carter and lashed out, downing her with one blow.
Jack launched himself at the figure, only to be flung back like a rag doll, the strength of the man surprising him.
“For your insolence,” snarled the man as he stooped over Carter.
Before Jack could comprehend just what was going to happen, the man took hold of her head and with a quick wrench of her neck snapped the life from her.
“Nooooo!” cried Jack, his voice dry and breath heaving. He fought his way to his feet, only to come down on his knees beside Carter’s body as the assailant stepped back.
Jack’s fingers clenched helplessly as the horror of what he had just witnessed speared tendrils of pain and ice through his heart. He was too shocked, too desolate to do anything but stare down at her body. Her eyes were closed, her lips slightly parted as though taking a breath.
The rage building inside almost choked him as it rose. With a speed that belied his grief and discomfort, he launched himself at the figure, desperate to hurt, to revenge her death, uncaring of himself...
The dark figure was knocked back a little by the ferociousness of the attack before recovering and with a feral grin, he dealt the General a crushing blow to his ribs and then head, rendering him unconscious.
The figure stood over the prone body. He had enjoyed seeing the suffering, the pain...
“Can we do that again?”
“Oh yes ... he has to know suffering.”
“Yes, he will.”
“Hey wake up.”
Jack groaned and lifted his head. “Sam?” he whispered, trying to work out just what was happening to him.
“Youbetchya, come on, wakey wakey.”
He lifted his head up from its resting place on his folded arms, opening his eyes slowly.
“What?” he mumbled, trying to raise his head further and turn to the voice.
Sam laughed, but not unkindly. “You really shouldn’t have driven all night, you’re getting too old for that Jack.”
His eyes seemed to focus suddenly on the figure standing a little way away from him ... a very pregnant figure.
“Uh, Carter?” He winced as he jerked himself upright, pushing the chair he was sitting on out from the table.
“Excuse me,” said another voice from behind him. “Shanahan now ... remember Jack?”
Jack’s vision cleared as he watched Pete Shanahan cross the room to stand behind Sam at the stove. He put his arms around her and encased her heavy belly lovingly.
“Not long to go now. We can’t wait.”
Watching Pete Shanahan put his arms around Sam Carter, a very pregnant Sam Carter, slowed the blood in his veins, but at least she was alive...
“You okay Jack?” Pete asked, appearing to be watching closely at the reaction he’d caused. “You’re looking a little pale, old man.”
“When?” queried Jack slowly, his mind, confused, sluggish...
“Due next week, but could be anytime,” replied Sam. She walked over to the table and began pouring coffee into the clean mugs standing there.
Jack watched the dark liquid, the steam rising from the mugs as they were filled, the aroma filling the air. With a slightly shaking hand he reached out and nursed the coffee silently for a moment before taking a tentative sip. He couldn’t help the frown that adorned his features.
“Yeah, she still can’t make coffee,” laughed Pete, taking a chair from beneath the table opposite Jack and sitting down.
“Are you okay?” asked Sam, her voice showing concern.
“Um, yeah. Sorry ... kinda confused ...” Jack’s thoughts began racing. He began to mentally shake the black cobwebs that were heavily draped in his mind, draped and blanketing rational thoughts ... he shook and swiped at the cobwebs, hauling coherence from the darkest corner.
He regarded the figure opposite him then shook his head slowly, coming to a rapid conclusion...
“You’re not here.”
“Excuse me?” asked Sam, moving to stand next to Pete.
“This,” said Jack, waving his hand around to indicate the room. “It’s an illusion ... nightmare ... hallucination ... whatever you want to call it ...”
“Hey, just because you’re bitter - Sam chose me, it doesn’t give you the right to come here and ...”
“She didn’t choose you.”
“Jack ... look, Pete’s right ... I think ...”
“What? That I’d better leave?” Jack snorted. “Yeah okay ... leaving right now.”
Jack stood, albeit unsteadily and pushed the chair back. “I’m walkin’ right out of here now.” His gait was unsteady but he moved across the kitchen, stumbling against the cupboards on the way.
“Jack... don’t leave like this,” cried Sam. “I know you were hurt when I married Pete but ...”
“Married?” Jack scorned, “no way ... you’re .... you’re ...” Jack staggered against the doorway, the room closing in on him as dizziness assailed him. His knees began to fold beneath him. He swung around, falling against the wall, sliding down as his legs could no longer hold him.
“What, Jack?” asked Sam.
“You’re dead ... dead ...” His vision tunnelled in, the grayness becoming black ... the buzzing in his ears drowned everything else and he lapsed into unconsciousness.
“He doesn’t believe.”
“No ... yes, some of it perhaps.”
“No not enough.”
Daniel glanced impatiently at his watch. Where the hell had Jack gone? The leaders had been asking for him for the last hour or so and Daniel could only stall for so long...
Eventually the assembly adjourned for a rest period and refreshments and Daniel heaved a sigh of relief. He hurried out of the hall and cursed under his breath as he looked around for the missing General.
He was weighing up just how long since Jack had left the hall and a flicker of anxiety began to spread its tendrils inside of him. He took the steps two at a time as he began to perform a one-man sweep of the way to the facilities. Finding no sign of the General, Daniel checked in with the SG teams, quickly ascertaining that none of them had had any contact with Jack. The anxiety began to flare into alarm.
He began to radio his report ... as he began to speak into the radio a hand gripped his shoulder startling him and he swung around quickly to face whoever it was...
“Uh ... no ...” mumbled the General. He could hear a familiar voice again. He wasn’t going to fall for their tricks any more ... let them have their fun ... he wasn’t going to play!
“Come on Jack, what’s up with you?”
Jack opened one eye warily. He wasn’t going to bite ... no way!
“Jack, you’d better wake up, the Esinra are waiting for you.”
“Go to hell.”
“Go to hell whoever you are.”
“Christ Jack, I don’t know what the hell you’ve been drinking, come on ...”
Jack peered up at the figure beside him. Daniel was looking down at him, frowning, a slight look of disgust on his face.
Jack squeezed his eyes shut, willing the apparition to go away and leave him the hell alone ... he opened his eyes again to find the apparition apparently hadn’t bent to his will.
“Jack so help me I’ll ...”
“What Daniel? You’ll do what? Kick me? Whup my ass? What Daniel? For Christ’s sake what?”
Daniel Jackson stood over Jack O’Neill, for once lost for words.
“No ...” he said eventually, “I guess I’ll just go down and tell the Esinra that you’re sick.”
“Saamm’s ... not here.”
“She’s back at the ... Jack are you really sick?”
The concern in his friend’s voice brought Jack from the defensive fugue he had immersed himself in.
“Oh that’s good Daniel ... or whoever you are... definitely an Oscar building up there ...”
“Jack, are you feverish?”
A cool hand was laid on his forehead before he could object.
“You don’t feel feverish. I’d better get some ...”
Jack sat up quickly. He’d had enough. “You better had Daniel ... go ... or on second thoughts, maybe I could just go ... let’s go see what’s behind door number three huh?”
Jack pushed himself up from the bed with determination and crossed the room to the door. He pulled on the handle, but it only rattled and remained shut.
“Now that’s a surprise huh?” Jack laughed ... jeez but he was losin’ it.
He slumped against the wall at the side of the door.
“Now what, Doctor Jackson?”
“It can’t be locked, I just came in.” Daniel moved to try the door and his face showed his disbelief as he rattled the door determinedly. “It’s locked.”
“Yeah, I got that idea already.”
Daniel knocked on the door. “Hey anyone there ... let us out.”
“Give it up, the Oscar is yours already. You’re good.”
“Hey Jack, look I don’t know what’s going on, but ...” Daniel put his hands out, touching the other man on the shoulders.
Jack shook him off, shuddering at the touch. “Don’t. Get your filthy hands off me!”
Daniel looked shocked at that and reaching out towards him once more. Jack saw red and let fly with a fist that staggered Daniel backwards, but not down. Jack followed through with another punch and this time he was rewarded by Daniel hitting the floor.
The rage he felt from the seemingly endless mind games released itself and he found himself straddling Daniel’s chest, punching wildly, fist against skin, repeatedly until the body slumped beneath him.
Jack drew a ragged breath as he watched the bloodied face of Daniel sink away from him, becoming still on the hard floor.
“Was that good? Did you enjoy that?”
“What?” Jack’s head came up to see the dark figure once more standing beside him.
“You’ve killed your friend ... how does it feel?”
Jack look back to the prone body beneath him, Daniel’s feature slack, lifeless.
Jack rolled away from the body, his stomach heaving. “Another trick? Where’s Carter? Did you really kill her? Was she ever here?”
“Questions, questions ... shame you didn’t ask more before you killed him...”
“What the hell do you want?” growled Jack.
“Nothing – I want nothing except ...”
“Except your agony. I want you to feel what it’s like to lose everything, to have nothing.”
“You’re a bit late there. I already know what that’s like.” Jack scooted back, bringing himself against a wall. Leaning back, he drew his knees up. He caught sight of his hands, the blood on his raw knuckles. “You can spirit it away now.”
“Spirit? I’m not a spirit.”
“Whatever ...” Jack waved one of his hands towards the body on the floor. He felt the tremors building and he tucked his hands around his knees, holding tightly.
“Maybe I will leave your friend here for you to express your remorse.”
“It’s not real.”
“How do you know it’s not real?”
“I do ...” insisted Jack. He winced as he bit the inside of his mouth hard, trying to keep himself going. His whole body felt such a mass of pain and utter weariness that it seemed like it was going to just shut itself down.
The dark figure laughed.
“Go to hell!” spat Jack.
“If I’m not real why are you talking to me?” goaded the man.
“I didn’t say you weren’t real, I said *it’s* not real. What do you want?”
“You will know soon enough O’Neill, soon enough.”
The black figure moved away and seemed to melt in to the dark walls.
Jack’s head sank onto his knees and despite his best intentions, the blackness swallowed him...
“Shush, it’s okay.”
Jack winced as the cool hand brushed his face. He fought past the cobwebs and opened his eyes.
“You’re not real, you are not here,” he said quietly.
“Don’t!” he spat and rolled to move away from her. The movement sent him falling from the narrow bed onto the hard floor.
The fall stunned him for a moment; he clutched his chest, trying to draw a decent breath.
“Let me help you.”
“No!” He scrambled desperately to his knees and used the bed to get himself up, surprised at just how weak he felt.
As the figure stepped closer, a hand palm upward to appease him, he flinched and stepped back, forcing himself to remain upright.
“You are not here!”
She stepped closer to him but Jack held his ground. She stepped again and her body was close to his, her hand coming up to stroke his face, her lips parted slightly.
She hand ran over his face lightly, her touch soothing, almost a caress, her other hand coming up to rest on his shoulder.
“How can I convince you ... Jack?” she whispered.
Almost mesmerized by her, Jack stayed still, hardly daring to breathe.
“What do I have to do?” she looked into his eyes longingly and her hand brushed against his forehead before drawing back slightly, her finger tips against his brow ...
“Maybe this can convince you ...”
The agony he felt as her fingers pierced his skin was nothing ... nothing to the betrayal he felt as she invaded his mind...
The room swung away from him ... the walls peeling away, the bright light hovering inside his head burst and suddenly he was outside ... outside facing the woman who had assaulted his mind.
“It’s better out here, isn’t it?” she asked and indicated the wonderful vision of fields and hills that surrounded them, a view that seemed familiar to him.
Jack stood stunned. He knew now just what this thing was that faced him.
“You’re a damn Replicator!” he swore.
“Now, now,” she chastised him gently and put her hand out to him. He swore softly and flinched back.
“Jack, Jack, what are you afraid of? Not me, surely?”
“Carter was never here, was she? You’re a trick? She’s safe.”
“Ah ah, are you sure about that?”
“What do you want?”
“Want? I don’t want anything.” She laughed and moved away from him. “Tell me about here, Jack,” she indicated the view. “This is yours, from your mind.”
“Go to hell,” he said scathingly and turned his back on her. He began to inhale and tried to close down his mind, blank down his thoughts.
“It won’t work Jack, not on me ... I know you too well.”
“You’re a machine!” he spat, not turning around.
“No Jack, I am alive. I have feelings, emotions, just like you. I can love and I can hate, just like you do.”
“Where’s the others? Fifth?” he asked turning slightly.
Her face hardened a fraction. “Oh, Jack, believe me, you shouldn’t have asked that ...”
Jack felt himself being swung around and he saw the dark hair and eyes appear before him, the hand on his shoulder tightening. The pain from the grip made him grimace, trying not to cry out.
“Murderer, you murdered so many ... so many,” whispered the dark haired vision, its face changing and merging into the face he remembered from what seemed like long ago.
The fingers extended towards him, once more invading him, the pain incredible, white hot agony flashed through his skull ... his eyes rolled up, his body went limp and he sank into oblivion.
His head buzzed, pain welled around, but he ignored it, curiosity forcing him to open his eyes. He’d felt the cool wetness of the cloth that soothed across his head, now there was the urge to see who or what was there...
“Thank goodness, Sir, I thought you’d never wake, you hit your head pretty hard.”
He flinched as he saw the blonde hair and blue eyes of Samantha Carter ... or was it the Replicator?
He quickly glanced around the room. This time he was on a bed, not the softest he’d ever been laid on, but it was a proper bed, linen and all. The drapes at the window hid the outside, but the decorations in the room smacked of the rooms he’d seen earlier on his way to the hall.
“Uh ... Carter?” he asked weakly, his attention going back to her.
“Are you okay, Sir? Daniel wants to send for a doctor, but I thought we’d give you a little time to come around.”
“Daniel?” he murmured, his hand going up to feel his head warily.
“You don’t remember? You came to the negotiations with the Esinra with Daniel. You wandered off Sir, and must have fallen. We found you at the bottom of the staircase.”
“Staircase?” he questioned.
She ignored his question, sitting back. “You need to rest. It’ll come back to you.”
He regarded her closely as she stood up. She backed up slightly, a query on her face. “What?” she mouthed, her head cocking to one side in puzzlement.
“I was dreaming?” he whispered.
Again, she ignored his quiet words, looking worried. “Take it easy, Sir ... I’ll be right back.”
Sam clicked the door shut behind her.
Jack lay still, trying to gather his thoughts. “Crap ... some nightmare ...”
He pulled the cloth off his head and regarded it blearily ... until his eyes fixed on the bruises on his wrist, each bruise a perfect finger mark ... Carter’s ....
Jack rolled and tried to get up from the bed. The room swam viciously, mocking his attempts to right himself.
The click of the door alerted him to someone entering the room, but for the life of him, he just couldn’t raise his head.
He jumped at the cool touch of a cloth to the back of his neck, bringing instant relief.
“You shouldn’t try to get up yet,” came the soft reprimand.
“Car ...” no ... it was *not* Carter! “Why are you doing this? How does this help you take over the galaxy?”
“Sir?” the puzzlement in the address came over loud and clear.
“Cut the crap ... whoever you are, but you are *not* Carter! What should I call you? Seventh huh? ... sure, there was a sixth wasn’t there?”
The cool cloth was withdrawn, the words vehemently spoken. “I am not a number!”
Jack steadied himself, raising his head to see those blue eyes flashing with anger.
The depth of the anger in them took him momentarily by surprise. “Okay ...” he drawled slowly, forcing himself to stare back at her, unflinching, determined not to show his dread of her kind, “what do I call you?”
“No ... you’re not her!”
“I am ... maybe not totally, but I remember everything and feel everything she did until she left ... Jack ... I do remember her feelings.”
“Why don’t you just get it over with and kill me ... why all this?”
“Who says *I* want to kill you?” Her hand reached out and gently touched his face, almost stroking.
Jack snorted and moved his head back slightly. “You didn’t go through all this just to ...” his voice died away, dropping his eyes from hers and he forced himself to move ... struggling to his feet with determination.
“There isn’t anywhere to go Jack,” she warned him, rising as he did and hovering as though to help.
“Look, I get why Fifth made you, okay .... Carter told me what happened to her, what he wanted, but Fifth doesn’t want that from me, he wants revenge for killing the Replicators!”
“That’s what he wanted. You slaughtered thousands of our brethren. That weapon you gave the Asgard ...” she ignored the look Jack cast and continued, “is responsible for almost wiping us out!”
“Tell me why one ...” Jack hesitated, “... race should control the whole universe? Shouldn’t everyone have a chance to live as they want if it doesn’t harm others?”
“I ... yes,” she answered simply.
“Then why the hell are the Replicators so intent on taking over and destroying everything they don’t use? They’ve wiped out whole civilisations ...”
“I know. We can not help what went on before, it was not our doing. We have evolved, become more human ...”
Jack shook his head. “Yeah ... you think about it now - and then do it! At least the machines were just doing what they ... what they were made to do ... no pretence, just moving on!”
“We don’t want that, we want to live. First and the others are no longer. We have evolved a long way.”
“Your torture is the same as First’s. You’re no different from him!”
“That’s where you’re wrong, we are different, I AM DIFFERENT!” Her voice rose, emotion flashing in her eyes and she stepped closer to him, keeping pace as he stepped away, until gradually his back was against the wall, nowhere to go ...
She raised her hands to his shoulders.
Jack stood straight, feeling the hard wood at his back, trying to breathe and even out his hammering pulse.
She moved a hand up, her fingers gently ghosting over his throat, until they came to rest on his pulse point. She pressed gently, her eyes closing and her other hand moving into place over his heart.
“I can feel you ... I can hear you ... here...” She moved a hand and pulled at one of his, lifting it to put it into place on her breast. “I am the same, I live and I breathe ...”
She leaned forward, her face coming closer to his, her lips slightly parted, tilting her head a little to one side as she made as if to kiss him.
He felt her breathing speed up. Her fingers were warm against his hand. The warmth from her breast caused a hitch in his own breathing and he pulled away from her grasp.
“Don’t,” he said quietly.
“I have feelings for you.”
“No! They are not *your* feelings.”
“I feel them, they are now mine.”
“If you had real feelings for me you couldn’t do what you have done to me.”
“And for that I am sorry. At first I was just following Fifth’s feelings of hatred for you. He knew that the other one would never accept him when she had feelings for another, so he created me ... but now I too feel for you.”
“He’ll kill me eventually ... is that what you want?”
“No, I can persuade him, let you stay with me.”
Jack looked at her incredulously. “He let Sa ... Carter go and created you so that he could have her and you think he’ll just say, yeah go ahead hon?”
“He wants me to be happy.”
“Look, he is going to get rid of me and probably in a really uh, really, incredibly horrible way and there isn’t anything you can do about that. If he made you he can destroy you too and get another, can’t he?”
“He wouldn’t do that,” she insisted.
Jack shrugged and gently pushed her back a little to escape his confines, stuck there against the wall.
“Let me go, help me.”
“Then I would be without you.”
Jack took a deep breath. He wasn’t against using dirty pool when it suited, “If you truly understood this, you would let me go. You said Fifth wants you to be happy, so if he feels love for you he won’t go through with his revenge kick.”
“He let your ‘me’ go!” she spat.
“I don’t know why he let her go, but I’ll tell you this - if he’d made her stay she would have hated him, not loved him, so he up and made you. Only when you turn off him, he’ll probably just screw you up and throw you away and make another – that what you want?”
Her eyes narrowed and her lips pursed together, before she chewed lightly on her lower lip, her emotions so bared to him, the habit so *Sam* that he wanted to gather her in his arms and comfort her. Instead he turned away.
“I know that I will never accept you and this, you will never have what the real Sam Carter has. You will never have her heart.”
His only answer was the door closing softly as she shut it behind her. The click of the lock engaging sounded loud in the quiet room. Feeling nauseous and still light headed, he sank down on the bed with a groan, trying to gather his wits and his strength.
“What the...?” Daniel flinched at the touch.
“Please, you must return to the hall.”
Daniel stared mutely for a moment at the small Esinra man who had startled him.
“Please?” The little man beseeched him again.
“Uh, I’m looking for General O’Neill.”
The little man turned around slowly, checking the hallway. “He is not here.”
“No.” Daniel almost tutted, but reigned in his impatience and fixed his attention back on the man.
“You must return to the hall.”
“Do you know where the General is? He’s been missing quite some time now.”
“Come.” The man made his way back towards the stairs, not bothering to look behind to see if Daniel was following or not.
Daniel bounded up to the little man and halted him with a hand on his shoulder. “Look, General O’Neill is missing and I am not going to resume any negotiations until he’s found.”
The man shrugged
“What?” questioned Daniel, not sure if he’d heard the little man correctly.
“You must all return home – not stay!” exclaimed the man and hurried down the stairs, clapping his hands together, bringing the guards at the foot of the stairs to attention.
Daniel hurried down the stairs after him. “Wait, we need to find the General,” he called out, thumbing the radio in his vest as he took the steps easily and quickly.
The guards waiting at the bottom closed in on him and he found the radio being snatched from his vest.
“You must leave now.”
“Hey, what the?” Daniel struggled against the two guards holding him, only stopping as he saw the leaders of the Esinra appear from the hall.
“You must return home,” stated one of the men, who only a short while ago had been so affable with Daniel.
“There’s some mistake here. Look, the General’s got lost ... or maybe hurt somewhere ...”
“We will search for him and then he will join you.”
“I’m not going anywhere without him,” stated Daniel firmly.
“You and your men will be escorted to the Circle of Fate and will not return. If you do not then you will give us no choice but to disarm you and kill you.”
Daniel stared at the Esinra leaders. How could he have misread people so badly? Was it all a trap ... a trap to ensnare Jack? But who the hell would go to such lengths? Who could?
Daniel tried to reason further, but every plea fell on deaf ears. By the time he and the teams were ushered together and escorted to the gate, he reasoned that the people were merely following orders ... orders from someone they feared greatly.
Daniel took no further chances, maybe he’d hung out with Jack a bit too long as he realised that for the moment, a tactical withdrawal was necessary, so he hurriedly dialled Earth and sent the GDO code. His mind was racing, his heart was hammering out an apology, swearing that he might have left Jack behind for now, but behind he would not stay. Along with the teams, their unit leaders still protesting, he walked into the wormhole, his determination to return uppermost in his mind.
Jack’s exhausted mind and body sank into a restless sleep, the face of beauty haunting his dreams, filling his nightmares.
His body drenched with sweat, he jerked upright, gasping in pain. All the remnants of sleep left instantly as the face of beauty became a facet of horror, the twisted memories of people and place long past haunting him, running him down. His heart hammering and his mind rebelling, he rolled, groaning in pain, to sit up on the bed.
His head sank down towards his knees and he ran his shaking hands through his drenched hair, making the tufts spike.
His mind barely registered the door opening, the soft footsteps crossing the room, until the figure stood in front of him.
Jack took a few deep breaths, deep as he was able with the damage to his ribs.
This time the voice was softer, less commanding and he found a goblet filled with liquid being put into his hands, the touch firm, yet gentle.
He stared down at the liquid without moving.
“It’s only water, please drink.”
Jack raised the goblet slowly. He figured that poisoning him would be way too easy ... He quenched his thirst slowly, relishing the cool clear liquid as it eased his dry throat, trying to quell the shaking of his hands as he did so.
The liquid gone, he sat still, staring down at the now empty goblet, loath to raise his head and be met by those cold eyes.
“He grows impatient.”
“Yeah ... well I have that effect on folk.” Even to his own ears, his voice was husky. He coughed a little to try and clear his throat.
“He seeks nothing but revenge. He saw what was in her memories; he saw what made her strong.”
Jack’s eyes were drawn hopelessly up. It had Sam’s face ... Sam’s mannerisms ... her head cocked to one side, pulling gently on her lower lip was just *so* Sam – it gave him a pang of hunger, of need...
“Help me ... let me go.” His voice was almost a whisper, he gazed steadily into her eyes, refusing to flinch, refusing to show his horror of her. His needs, his desires weren’t for this creature, it was the real Sam that he desired, the Sam with a heart, not this empty shell.
It was the first time he’d saw her hesitant. He pressed home. “Please.”
Her eyes suddenly betrayed a look of fear that surprised Jack and only a split second later the figure of Fifth stepped into the room, his body leeching through the walls.
His presence alone seemed to lower the temperature in the room and Jack worked hard to repress a shudder ... cold? Revulsion? He swallowed hard and denied it was fear, pushing it to the back of his mind as he realised that Fifth was no longer intent on toying with him.
He managed to stand, bringing himself to his full height, his shoulders back as he prepared to stare death in the face.
Fifth cast him a look of hatred and stepped closer, holding a coiled mass of something...
Jack looked in surprise at the coil ... recognising it instantly as a whip ... a long leather whip.
“I know you are familiar with this ... very ... your memories of this weapon, archaic though it may be, showed me how effective is ... the pain can be immeasurable can’t it?”
Jack fought the urge to shrug. He knew Fifth had dragged the memory from his mind, along with many others, of the horrors and tortures he’d suffered in his past.
But, Jack being Jack couldn’t help himself. “They take a bit of practice ... are you sure you’re up to it?”
Fifth raised his arm and the lash cracked upwards and backwards before soaring out in a graceful arc, the leather cutting Jack’s back through his t-shirt as it curled over his shoulder.
Jack bit down as he doubled over, tasting blood as he quelled his cry of pain. He stepped back a little, pulling himself upright again.
“You’ve been practising!” he accused.
A glimmer of a smile hovered on Fifth’s lips as he raised the whip once more.
Jack caught hold of the leather as it cut across him again. He didn’t have the strength to defeat the Replicator - but annoying the hell out of it seemed like a good idea ... while he could anyway...
Instead of pulling on the leather Jack threw himself towards the Replicator. The look of surprise on its face was a huge reward for Jack, who managed to get a blow in before he was flung down, the pain searing through him as more ribs gave way.
Jack lay on the hard floor, but what little breath he managed to draw in was cruelly torn from him by the whip as it cut across his back. He curled slightly, trying to protect his head and face, the darkness in the room fading to blackness as the blows increased in strength and his gasps of pain grew to low cries.
He lay in agony, gasping to draw a breath between the lashes. Jack felt positive that Fifth was going to lash him until he died, keep going until his skin was in ribbons and he bled to death, so it came as a surprise when the blows stopped.
His body lay helplessly, trembling with the pain as he managed to open his eyes. He squinted up at the dark figure looming over him.
“No, it’s not that easy, Colonel.” The voice was cold, no emotion in it at all.
The skittering metallic noise that suddenly seemed to fill the room made Jack’s nerves scream. He hated that noise ... his mind going back to the submarine when the creatures were crawling on him as he gave the order to blow it up.
The noise came closer until it seemed they were all around him, so close, yet not touching ... not yet...
“You are horrified by my brethren.”
“They are machines ...” Jack spat, his eyes fastened helplessly on the creature nearest to his face. Nothing but machines ... finely tuned killing machines ... just machines...
He couldn’t help the shudder of repulsion as the first one moved onto him. The urge to roll to dislodge it was strong and he tasted bitter bile as his stomach churned and lodged its distress with him.
The weight on his back wasn’t great, but as the metal legs of the machines bit into his wounds he groaned and made to turn. A sharp and sudden burning sensation on his back pinned him down. He couldn’t help the cry of agony as more pain seared through him. The sickening stench of scorched flesh reached his nostrils and his heaving stomach gave up its meagre contents.
Fifth’s harsh and yet false laughter rang in his ears as his vision swam and his body jerked against the pain caused by his flesh scorching and searing.
“It’s very effective isn’t it? We can’t have you bleeding to death ... not just yet.”
The room titled and his vision tunnelled, the blackness closed in and the buzzing in his ears overtook him, allowing him to recede into the blissful state of unconsciousness.
The cool cloth on his neck made Jack flinch as he became aware again. The flinching made him arc in agony as his seared wounds crackled and pulled.
“Leave me alone,” he gasped out, trying to raise himself, bringing his arms up to support his head, the smell of his own charred flesh cloying.
“I’m trying to help you.”
“You’re killing me ... how does that help?”
“It’s not me.”
“You’re standing there ... watching him ... that makes you just as bad.” Jack closed his eyes as a wave of nausea rolled inside of him and the pain rose with it.
“I see you are with us again.”
Jack groaned and peered out from under his lashes. “This is kinda getting old.”
Fifth cocked his head a little, a questioning gaze fleeting across his face before it vanished.
The skittering from the walls made Jack’s flesh creep. His mouth was so dry he couldn’t even swallow. The thought of those things on him again, let alone the burning – made him almost want to scream.
“Why don’t you end it? Haven’t you got anything better to do? Go conquer
another galaxy or something!”
Fifth stepped closer. “You humans relish physical contact ...” and without warning he launched a kick at Jack, hitting him on his side.
Jack cried out and rolled, drawing his legs up, instinctively trying to ball himself protectively, but before he could curl up another blow landed, the force of it sending him tumbling. Fifth followed him, the blows flinging Jack across the floor in fits and starts as he made contact.
Jack’s whole body was a fusion of pain, the agony shredding his nerves. He came to a sudden and bone jarring halt against a wall. The metallic tapping above his head drew his attention and the sight of the harsh metal monsters waiting ... poised to take him to hell set his mind screaming silently!
The foot that came across his throat was almost welcome. He could sense that the thing was done playing and he was almost grateful, wanting the pain and horrors to end...
The pressure came down, he didn’t attempt to struggle, his body had nothing left to give...
His vision grayed and a sudden noise ... a voice? It was too far away for him to make sense ... he didn’t want to ... the blackness was welcome...
“No!” screamed Sam. She lashed out with both hands clenched as one fist and the blow caught Fifth across his head.
Jack felt the pressure lift suddenly and he drew a ragged breath, choking off a cough that would only fire up his agony.
He felt himself being half lifted, half dragged. The skittering noise stayed behind him as he was dragged from the room.
His body was helpless to help or to protest and sheer stubborn willpower kept him conscious through the agonising journey.
He was set down and he heard the familiar yet distant sounds of the DHD being dialled, the gate spinning, grating as it went.
The kawoosh was a heaven sent noise to his ears, yet he could hardly dare hope that this was indeed escape.
The blond figure bent down to him and hauled him to his feet, holding him firmly when his legs could not.
“I’ve dialled the Alpha site ... you’re going home, Jack.”
Jack struggled to focus on her. “Why?”
“Because I need to prove to myself that I do have a heart.”
She gave him no further chance to speak. “We don’t have much time, he’s coming.”
Before Jack could rally the energy to reply he found himself face to face with the whirling vortex of the gate...
He turned his head to look at her ... her? It?
“Go!” she urged and pushed him forward.
Jack lay quietly. He felt no pain, no urge to move at all. His body felt warm and he floated contently.
Gradually he became aware of his surroundings. He managed to force his eyes open and found that he was indeed in the familiar grayness of the infirmary.
A blurred figure came towards him. His monitor started to bleep as his heart rate rose alarmingly as the blond head closed in on him.
“Take it easy sir, you’re safe, you’re home.”
“Home?” he whispered through a scratching dry throat.
“Home, sir. Lie still, I’ll let the doc know you’re awake.”
“Carter ...” he whispered, wanting her to come nearer, needing to see her eyes.
He signalled her to come closer with a trembling hand. She obliged him and stepped right in, touching his hand comfortingly.
“Daniel will be glad you’re awake at last. He’s only just gone to rest.”
“Yes. The Esinra didn’t harm him, just sort of threw them all home. He’s been going nuts to go back for you ... we all have ... it’s ... then you appeared through the Alpha gate, couldn’t believe it ...”
Jack starred at her intently. He was watching her face, her eyes as she spoke and a blush tinged her face as she seemed to become aware of it.
Jack breathed easy and relaxed his head into his pillow, letting the drugs and Carter wash over him, flooding him with relief.
“Just rest sir. I’ll be here.”
Jack nodded slowly, already drifting.
“A long time.”
“He thinks he’s home.”
“Like I said ... for a long time.”
or is it?
Thanks for reading this far – anyone who wants to plan and write the rescue – please let me know I hate endings like this !
You probably guessed it all from the warnings but -
This was the Assignment:
Time frame: Season eight or later
Pairings: None specified.
Jack meets up with Fifth and Carter's evil bug person twin that was created in Season 8. How does he deal with it?