So here we are, in a Gou'ald stronghold, with two Gou'ald's, one of whom is DEFINITELY insane, surrounded by guards, with one of us in line for a Junior of our very own, and the rest in line for a fairly nasty death. And the day started off so well.
Do I need to tell you how we got here? It was just the usual stuff, nice planet, quieter than usual. My same old sarcastic jokes, Teal'c's same old misunderstanding, Sam's same old laugh, Daniel's same old dashing off into the far distance as fast as his little legs could carry him as soon as he saw the castle. How that guy can move so fast is beyond me. I think we should reduce his caffeine intake. Anyway, we reached the castle, there were guards, shouting, running, shooting then badda-bing, badda-boom, here we are.
This is worse though. There was two of them, father and son. The father was pretty much as expected, except he seemed scared of his son. The son - well, I don't know if he started off mad before he was infested, but he was now. He wanted to play with us, he kept saying, and looking at Sam. I kept moving in front of her, but the damn woman just kept moving round so she could see. I swear, she had no idea of the danger she was in. I've seen that look in men's eyes before, and I knew just exactly what games that boy had in mind. So there I was, all set for the daring escape. Only one problem. I couldn't see a way out. Two Gou'alds meant two sets of guards, and they all seemed a little jumpy. There was only one way in and out of the room. They'd taken all our weapons, except one knife that I'd managed to hide, but I didn't see how much good one knife could do against twenty staff weapons.
"We should kill them now." the older guy was saying.
"But I want to play." the boy replied. He looked younger than Skaara, but I swear, the madness in his eyes was millennia old.
"What game? Monopoly? I play a mean game of Scrabble." I was trying to buy time. The more time we had, the more chance of finding a way out of here. I'd expected the usual back-hander across the face. He just smiled. It gave me the creeps.
"No, not that sort of game." he just whispered, staring straight at me.
"They have to die!" Daddy dearest said.
"They will!" the child replied. "But my way!" He turned to stare at his father, who was obviously scared half out of his wits by this crazed sadist he'd spawned.
"One will kill the rest. I would like to see that. I would like to see the trust in their eyes break down into fear. I would like to see them flee in terror the friends they once clung too. I think... I think it'll be you. You've been blended before. I want you." He said, pointing at Sam.
"Oh there's not a chance in hell." she replied.
"This is Hell, and you will."
He walked away, leaving us surrounded by guards. No chance of escape there. I looked up. He was pulling a snake out of some Jaffa. God, I hate seeing that. Gives me the heebie-jeebie's every time. I looked round the room. Only thing there apart from lots of large men with large guns, was a sarcophagus.
I looked down at Sam. She was utterly terrified. She didn't show it, she never would, but I knew her, and I could see the fear in her tight white lips, her huge wide eyes. I knew how bad Jollinar had been for her, and he was a good guy/snake/alien being. Being infected by one of the bad guys was a thousand times worse, and she would never be free. She'd be gone forever, my Sam replaced by an evil, cruel goddess, like Daniel's Sha're. I knew she would not go willingly, I knew she would rather die but... DIE!
I swear there was no other way. Don't you see, I had to risk everything to keep her safe. I had to do it, so she could live, and it was the only way I could think of.
I pulled her towards me. She looked up at me, those sea-blue, sky-blue eyes staring directly into mine, trusting me, depending on me. I almost backed down then and there, but then I thought of what was about to happen to her, and it gave me strength.
"Sam, do you trust me?"
I can see in her eyes that its true.
"I mean, do you trust me with your life?"
Always. She was so sure, so absolutely certain that I'd never hurt her, never betray her. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the child with a Gou'ald larvae in his hand heading towards us, and I knew it was now or never. Forgive me Sam.
"Please believe me, I'm sorry, but its the only way." I said. Then I took my knife and plunged it deep into her, up into her heart.
"Jack, what the hell are you doing?" Daniel yelled and lunged at me. It was only Teal'c grabbing him that saved my life. "You killed her! You evil, murdering bastard, you killed her!"
I said nothing. I was holding Sam as she slipped silently to the floor, watching the life drain out of her eyes. Her eyes. She stared into my eyes, looking so confused and betrayed. I couldn't bear it. What had I done? Surely there must have been some other way? What if my plan didn't work? I stroked her cheek, trying to restore some of the colour that was fading away.
"Forgive me." I whispered, as she died.
"Put her in the sarcophagus!" the boy ordered. Thank you God! That had been my plan. Get her in the sarcophagus, buy us a little more time, get her in the centre of things while we worked on our freedom somewhere else. Not much of a plan, but it was the only alternative to us all dying, and her getting Junior. I wasn't about to let that happen to her.
"There is no point! If you must play this stupid childish game, give the larvae to one of the others!" Dad shouted.
I tensed, pulling Sam closer to me. She was still warm.
I closed her eyes as the child said, "I want her! Put her in the sarcophagus and take her friends to the cells."
Father and child stared each other down. There was a power struggle here, and very soon it was going to break down into all out war. The minutes stretched as I held Sam's body, heavy and still, in my arms.
'Do it, you bastard! Put her in there!' I thought, suddenly afraid, very afraid, I'd miscalculated.
The father nodded, and two guards pulled her from me, and put her, surprisingly gently, into the sarcophagus.
Given how many cells we've seen, they all tend to look like each other after a while. This one was different though. This one had a wildly furious, and probably murderous Daniel Jackson in it, and he was out for my blood. Can't say I blame him.
"What the hell is going on! What did you just do!" he yelled.
I said nothing. I was staring at my hands. They were red with blood. Her blood. I'd killed her. I'd taken that vital spark that had shone so brightly and snuffed it out, all for a stupid plan that probably wouldn't succeed. I'd murdered her. I'd murdered the person I'd cared for most in the world.
"Colonel O'Neill was aware that she would be placed in the sarcophagus. He was 'buying time' as you say."
"Buying time! How can you be so cold Teal'c? She was your friend. And you!" He spun round to face me, grabbed my jacket, yanked me up and slammed me against the bars of the cell. "How could you do this! Why choose her! She's your friend, your second-in-command! You're supposed to protect her! How could you murder someone you cared for, loved so much!"
"It had to be Major Carter." Teal'c said. "The boy would not have bothered with any of us. And she is in the sarcophagus. She will recover."
"Are you sure about that?" Daniel asked, dropping me and turning to Teal'c, who took a step backward. It takes a lot to get Daniel angry, but when he's really angry, nothing and nobody stands in his way. "What if the sarcophagus doesn't work?"
Doesn't work? I've never heard anything about it not working. "Teal'c." I asked. "Have you ever heard of a sarcophagus not working?"
"I have not."
Thank God for that.
"However, if Major Carter is taken out before she is fully recovered, she may not survive."
Oh God. Oh God, maybe I have killed her after all. I thought I was coming up with a plan, a way-out, dangerous plan, but what the hell, aren't they all? Only it wasn't me who'd had to face the danger, it was her. She'd trusted me, and I'd abused that trust for the sake of another flashy miraculous escape. I'd killed the woman I'd loved. I could feel the guilt twist inside me. This was far far worse than Charlie. I hadn't actually pulled the trigger of the gun that killed Charlie. I HAD stuck the knife in her, angled it the right way to cause a quicker death, let her bleed to death in my arms, felt her heart stop. What had I done? Oh God, let her live. I'll die instead. Take my life, it's worthless, but she has so much to live for. It's not much of a deal, my life for hers, but its all I can offer.
"Jack." Daniel said, deadly calm. "If she doesn't survive this, I will kill you."
"Danny," I replied. "If she doesn't survive this, I'll give you the gun to shoot me with."
We stared into each others eyes, and we both knew we meant it.
In the end, it wasn't our ingenuity that got us out of the cell. There had been firing for some time in the distance. Teal'c believed the two factions, father and son, had finally gone to war. Some of the guards came, and unlocked the door, and slipped away without a word. Teal's said they were probably the father's troops, robbing the son of his prize. We went straight to the sarcophagus room. Daniel opened it, then looked at me.
My soul froze.
"Could she not have got out herself?" Teal'c asked.
He shook his head. "No, its too soon. She hasn't had time to recover yet."
I went over, looked in the empty space where they had lain her small fragile body. Empty. Nothing.
I hung on to the coffin, trying to take it in. I'd failed. She was gone. She was DEAD. I couldn't do it. I couldn't go on. All I felt was old and tired. I just wanted it to end. I wanted the hurt inside me to grow, to kill me. I couldn't live with what I'd done. I'd killed my love.
"Sam." I murmured, sinking to my knees. "Sam!"
I thought I'd dreamt it. The sweetest voice I'd ever heard, from behind me. I'd turned slowly, not wanting the illusion to disappear.
"Sam?" Daniel said.
It was her. Leaning heavily against the doorjamb, covered in blood, her blood. She was there, alive, smiling slightly. She was alive. I didn't care how angry she was at me, if she never spoke to me again, if she left SGC because of my betrayal, she was alive.
"What happened?" Teal'c asked.
"The boy woke me early." she said, her voice ragged, panting a little. "I
think he wanted to put one of those larvae in me while I was still weak. He forgot I had the knife in there with me. Last I saw, he was crawling down the corridor, dying."
That'll teach him. No-one messes with my Sam. Then I saw the knife. MY knife. Last time I had seen that knife, it had been buried up to its hilt in her chest. I was half-expecting her to rush forward and plunge it into my chest.
"He took you out early?" Daniel asked.
She nodded mutely.
"Then the repairs may reverse themselves. We must get you back to the gate." Teal'c said.
Reverse themselves? She may still die? I looked at her closely, the tears of relief only now clearing from my eyes. She looked gray, and tired, and some of the blood on the uniform was fresh. Fresh blood. Oh my god, I might have killed her yet. She swayed, and I dashed forward to catch her as she passed out.
We got her through the gate, and rushed her to the infirmary, where Janet was on duty, thank God. She asked me what happened.
"I stabbed her. In the heart."
She only spared me a momentary glance of disbelief and shock before turning back to work on Sam, but I had the feeling she was going to give me hell as soon as she could. I didn't blame her. I deserved it. I walked up to the observation room, and watched them open Sam up, to fix the damage I'd done.
She survived. Janet wouldn't let her go. Twelve hours later, and Sam was finally out of the operating room, and in a bed in the infirmary, sleeping. I went to visit. I wasn't sure Janet would let me, but she took one look at my face, and got out of my way. God only knows what she saw there. Sam was sleeping. I sat down gently next to her.
"Sam." I whispered. Nothing. She didn't stir. I settled myself down to wait until she woke up.
"You killed me, you bastard." she croaked.
"Sam?" I leaned forward.
Her eyes opened slowly, those beautiful eyes. I stared into them. There was no recriminations. No hate. No anger.
"I'm sorry." I said. "I couldn't think of another way. I should have, I..."
Her hand reached up, put a finger across my lips. I got the message, and shut up. "I'd have done the same." she whispered. "Still might do."
I smiled. She was back. My Sam was back.
"I dreamt." she said. "I dreamt, while I was in the sarcophagus. I dreamt of kisses, and tears, and another man's drems. I dreamt of you. I dreamt you loved me. I dreamt you cried for me."
"I never cry." I said, then I kissed the hand against my lips gently. "But I would have done for you."
"Good." she said, and fell asleep in my arms.