"Ok. There's nothing here. Let's head back."
"But nothing, Daniel. There is nothing here. Head back." The Archaeologist sighed emphatically. Sam Carter smiled at her friend, unfortunately agreeing with her CO this time. There was nothing more that they could do. There was nothing here to find. So she agreed. Teal'c and her CO headed off ahead. Daniel sulked behind them. She lagged back with him. "Daniel. Colonel O'Neill's right. There is nothing else here. We've been searching for almost eight hours. Come on. Stop sulking" she told him. He looked like a little kid. Pouting because he didn't get his way. But then, he always did pout when he didn't get his way. Sam looked up. The huge volcano towering over them all. It continued to slant inward and tower up for at least, she assumed, seven hundred feet or probably more. They *could* have attempted climbing it safely, but it was too high, and there would probably be no life up there anyway. It was a volcano after all said and done. It might have erupted at any time. Sam looked at it's weathered fašade. Several sections of rocks jutting out from the rest. The plane of ground in front of them, so flat. But green. Forest like. Trees scattered all over it in various locations. Falling logs and branches strewn on the ground. A greenery of vegetation. Although a lot of the planets they had seen had been similar, this one seemed different from the rest in some strange way. Maybe it was because of the cold climate. Most of the others had been chilly, but this one seemed unusually colder than all the others. Or maybe it was because of the amazingly high volcano that overlooked them. Creating a hugely long shadow of gloom over them also. They slowly trekked back to the Stargate. It's location several miles away from their current position. At least a couple of hours walk. They all walked at their own paces. Daniel and Sam lagged behind. Teal'c was placed relatively central. And Jack was some hundred meters ahead of him. But, that was how he liked it. He liked to be at point. Not because he had to have control, but because he felt he had to lead the team, and if someone else did it, they might veer off his preferred path and lead the team to danger. If so, someone could be hurt. Only by his training, but as far as he knew, if the chosen path somehow ended up being wrong and they were in enemy territory or in danger, the Commanding Officer was to take the fall. And if anyone was to get hurt or killed even, it was to be the CO. Him. None of the team members. He didn't feel comfortable with being on this planet; something told him it was potentially dangerous from the beginning. This was the reason he was so far ahead of everyone else. If something turned bad, it would land on him. He would be hurt. Or possibly killed. But he wasn't scared. It was what he was taught to be right. The CO always takes the fall before anyone else on the team. If something was to happen on this planet, it would be no different. He would take the fall. He would be injured. It was the only way he knew.
Almost an hour later, they were still trudging back the Gate. There was a sudden echo of rocks crumbling from the Volcano high above. Jack swiftly backed away and looked up the Volcano. Awaiting any sudden avalanche of rocks. Sam and Daniel heard nothing. They had dropped back a fair way now. Teal'c had also lagged a little. Jack was probably about two hundred meters in advance of Teal'c, and maybe three hundred and fifty of Sam and Daniel. He heard no more clamour and continued on walking, but keeping an eye on the Volcano. Before actually coming here, they checked to see if the Volcano was active, and apparently proved it to be inactive, or dormant. He didn't believe it, and was cautious of it from when they got there. Sam and Daniel began an argument about something, which eventually got so loud that Teal'c heard and dropped back to join in or hopefully learn something from it. He couldn't have been more wrong about that thought, but he decided to listen and get enjoyment out of it all the same. Jack didn't know. He was so far ahead of them all now. He didn't mind and continued along. He suddenly heard a noise. It sounded like Daniel arguing. He knew what that sounded like, and thought nothing of it. He smiled and continued to walk. Suddenly there was a heart-stopping crash from high above. So high, that they didn't and couldn't hear it. Continuing to walk, they were all unaware that a huge chunk of rock had been blown off the rim of the Volcano and was now plummeting down the surface, towards them. The question was whom it would hit. It was a large chunk of the Volcano, but there was a large gap between them now, and it would either land in the middle, if they were lucky. Or it would hit one of two possible candidates. The group of three. Or the singular. And unfortunately, all odds were stacked against the singular. He continued to walk, completely unaware of his impending doom. A split second before it's culmination, he looked to the base of the Volcano and saw it tremor. Before his head acquired time to look up, the full force of the rock avalanche hit him. Falling unconscious instantly, the inundation of debris fell around the larger rock that landed on him. Sam, Daniel and Teal'c continued to argue, not even hearing the tremor as the rocks cascaded to the ground, little own feeling it, they were so far behind. Suddenly, there was a huge rock shower around them. They all ducked their heads and clasped their hands around their tops. The debris fell hard onto them, causing a few bruises and cuts. Although drawing blood, they survived the rock spray. They continued on, after inspecting one another's small injuries to face and hands. They finally caught up and saw the huge mound of rocks on the ground. They thought nothing of it. "Jack! Did you see this?!" Daniel shouted, expecting him to hear. He didn't. "Jack!" he shouted, even louder again. No reply. It suddenly all clicked for Sam. "Colonel?" she called into the pile of rocks. There was no reply. She pretty much knew she was right in her assumption. "Teal'c. Daniel. We have to get these rocks off here."
"Daniel! Do you need me to spell it out for you!?"
"Oh! Just help me!" Sam exclaimed. They began to carefully lift the rocks off one another until they finally got down low enough to see him. Rocks piled over his body, and his bones crushed under them. He coughed and regained consciousness as they removed one of the bigger rocks from off his face. "Colonel!" Sam exclaimed as he coughed the dust from his mouth. "Carter."
"What happened Jack?" Daniel asked as they continued to take as many of the rocks away as they could. "What does it look like happened?! The goddamn Volcano spat out some of it's rocks. At me!" he exclaimed, although his voice wasn't strong enough to sound sarcastic. Sam tried to look under the mass of rocks. They only had a few more to remove. But the last one was the largest one. The others they removed were just small debris parts from the large one, which broke off as it fell. They couldn't remove the large one. It was huge. And it was on top of his legs and chest. They couldn't leave it there either. It had already crushed the bones in both his legs. He was stuck under a huge rock. "Colonel. The rock on you is too big. There's no way we'll be able to move it. Go to the Stargate and go back to Earth and get some help. Ok?" Sam directed her instructions to Daniel and Teal'c. They nodded. "Hey. I give the orders around here."
"Well what do you suggest Jack? We leave you here under a pile of rocks?"
"Thank you" Daniel smiled. He and Teal'c left for the Gate. "Sir, are you going to be ok?" Sam asked. Even though she knew he wouldn't be if they didn't get him out from underneath the monstrosity of rocks he was trapped under. "Once I can actually feel my legs, it'll be just peachy" he replied sarcastically. "Carter. You're not thinking what I think you're thinking, are you?"
"What do you think I'm thinking sir?" she asked, stifling back tears. "That I'm gonna die here."
"No sir. I wasn't thinking that at all." Sam sniffed and turned away from him. Tears escaped her eyes and trailed down her cheeks. She unfortunately did think that. She couldn't see how they could get him out from under this huge boulder without him dying. The bones in both his legs would surely be crushed severely, and his ribs would most likely fall under the same category. Sam knew he would be bleeding internally, and that his current condition would soon begin to deteriorate rapidly. And she knew if he could feel no pain in his legs, or even feel them at all, his body was probably in convulsive shock and would soon start to fail and shut down. The more she thought, the worse her speculations became, and the more she cried. She couldn't lose him. Not without telling him the many things, she knew she should have told him so many times before. And the opportunities she'd had to tell him before, all wasted. He spoke again. His voice was so quiet. So soft. "Carter? Sam?" The use of her name gained her immediate attention. She turned back to him, even though tears were trailing from her eyes and down her cheeks. He looked at her closely. "Hey. Why the tears?"
"I'm sorry sir. It's stupid. Sorry."
"You don't have to be sorry. There's nothing you need to be sorry about. What's wrong?"
"Oh God, how can you ask me that? What do you think is wrong? Look at you. You're stuck under a huge rock. I don't see any way of getting it off you before you lose too much blood and..." she didn't go on. She looked to the ground in front of her. Unable to look at his scratched and blood ridden face and body. It suddenly dawned on him. She was right. He might very well die there. He could no longer feel his legs at all. All feeling was lost there. He could barely feel one arm. The other was relatively unscathed, and free of rocks. Dislocated shoulder though, but he at least knew it was there. His chest ached profusely with every breath. His ribs crushed under the large boulder also. Pretty much, everything ached, or he couldn't feel. He couldn't die there. Without telling Sam everything he felt. Everything he knew he should have told her so long ago. He would regret only one thing if he died here, and it was not telling Sam how he felt. Not being game enough to risk his career for love. It was a risk he was willing to take, but just was never bold enough to actually do. She looked at him again. Taking out the small medical kit, she found some bandages and wiped the blood from the cuts on his face. A few tears dripped from her face and fell onto his. He could feel her sadness through them. He felt her pain. Hers was different to his, but he still felt it. The arm not buried by debris or the boulder, Sam moved gently. She held his hand, for his comfort as well as her own. Mostly her own. She kissed his forehead softly and smiled gently. "Sir, I know it's a bit late for confessions, but I need to tell you something. Even if I'm too late, I'll feel a little better at just knowing you at least know."
"Colonel, however wrong it is, I have some pretty deep feelings for you, and quite frankly, I don't care about regs when it comes to this."
"It's ok. You don't need to explain. I know how you feel."
"You mean.... you mean you feel the same about me?" He nodded. "Oh God. Why didn't one of us say something sooner? I love you Jack!" Sam exclaimed. She leaned forward and captured his lips, even in knowing it was probably the worst time in the world to be kissing your CO, which was completely against regs anyway. She had to. She'd always wanted to. Sitting back, she smiled. "Thank you."
"For letting me do that. I've needed, and wanted to for so long. Why does it have to be this way? Why is this happening?!"
"What? If you're thinking why is it, I'm going to die here, then stop thinking it. I'm not going...."
"Ribs. Poking.... around. Hurts."
"Daniel and Teal'c will be back with a rescue team soon. You'll be ok. I promise." Sam kissed his cheek and he passed out. She touched the cuts on her own face and winced. Her head throbbed from the previous beating it acquired. "Actually, we won't be bringing a rescue team." A voice came. "What?!"
"No rescue team."
"Because we didn't even get back to Earth. The Gate won't work. And before you ask, yes. We tried manual dial. It won't work. No rescue team" Daniel explained as he and Teal'c walked back to them. They had been gone for longer than Sam realised. Both suns of the planet were beginning to set, and shadow of the Volcano over them, lengthened. Sam sat next to Jack. Daniel and Teal'c got out the cooking gear. They had supplies for three days, but they could stretch that. Jack woke up later on into the night. Sam offered her share of food to him. He refused. She placed a rock under his back and helped him sit to a little more of a comfortable position. He lost consciousness again not long after. Sam didn't know when he would wake up again. If at all. But she refused to think like that.
Sam's sleep was disturbed all through the cold night. Thermal blanket wrapped tightly around her. Her hand never released Jack's. She refused to let him go. He wasn't going to die. She wouldn't let him die. She woke early in the morning. Daniel slept on. She suspected he would. Teal'c, surprisingly, was asleep also. "Sam" Jack attempted calling in his sleep. His voice was so weak. So quiet and throaty. She heard it through the still and quiet night. "Shh. I'm here. Shhh" she soothed. He seemed to respond. Later, he woke up. "Hey. How do you feel?"
"Bad. What about you?"
"You don't have to worry about me. It's you I'm worried about."
"I know. I'll be ok."
"How Jack? The Stargate won't work. You're still stuck here. It shouldn't have happened like this. It's not fair."
"Let him sleep. You should too. You're exhausted."
"I don't care. And besides, I couldn't sleep anyway."
"Because you were worried. I'll be ok. Sleep."
"I don't want to leave you Jack."
"You're not leaving me. Sleep, Sam. Please."
"I'll try. For you."
Sam's head whipped from side to side as she dreamed horrifying dreams. "Jack! NO! Oh, please no! Jack!!!" she cried helplessly. "Sam. Sam. Sam wake up. Teal'c" Daniel gestured for him to shake her. He touched her shoulder and her head instantly lifted and her eyes flung open. "Oh God."
"Sam. You were dreaming."
"I was? Of course I was. Yeah. Dreaming. That's all it was. A dream. A nightmare. Oh, horrible nightmare. Has Jack woken up?"
"Jack? Jack. Come on. Wake up for me. Please" she begged. She needed to hear him talk to her. Even if she could barely hear his voice, she still needed to hear it. His head moved and he woke up. "Oh, thank God."
"Hey. What's up?"
"Nothing. You ok?" He didn't answer. "Jack? You ok?" Sam asked again. He didn't reply. "Jack!"
"I think... I'll rest for a minute. I love you Sam." His head fell back onto the rocks as his eyes closed. His lose grip on Sam's hand fell. "Jack!" she called. She felt for a pulse. Nothing. "Oh God! Jack? He's not breathing! Daniel, he's not breathing! Oh no! No! Oh please, no! Jack. Jack wake up! Please wake up! Oh God! Breath! Oh no... no! Breath Jack! Breath! Please!! Daniel! Help me!! Help him!! PLEASE! JACK!" Sam cried helplessly. She fell over him. She knew. "Oh no Jack. No. Jack" she spoke as she cried. Everything they could have had was lost in that one moment. It was all a case of too little, too late.
 END